Originally released in 2006 for Playstation 2, Okami quickly became a memorable game and was eventually ported to newer consoles and of course PC.
Okami's uniqueness made its mark on fans worldwide, who maintain its soul alive even after 10 years where the Steam Artwork page is proof of such, with tons of drawings, tattoos and even more works of passion. Recently there has been news of a possible new game in the franchise and what better excuse than that to revisit this amazing adventure?
Orochi, the eight-headed serpent is back again to terrorize and spread chaos all over Nippon. 100 years after being defeated, the beast awakens and only a few dare to face it. Amaterasu, the sun goddess is brought back to the realm of the living in the body of a white wolf, armed with special celestial powers.
The gameplay of Okami is something to be reckon with, even after all these years. Players control the mighty wolf, but the main game gimmick is the usage of the Celestial Brush, a mode that allows players to interact with the environment by drawing specific objects or traces to change or create new items. Over 10 of these techniques are available, and they range from creating bombs to open new pathways, to playing with the natural elements like fire or ice.
This gameplay method highly influences the fights which transform what could possible be generic encounters into battles that incentivize players to explore and try different techniques to further become a master with the brush. Different enemies change their defenses and weaknesses, but learning the strategy to victory is what really makes one stronger.
While traversing the land, there are useful brush arts such as rejuvenation that allows one to rebuild bridges, or even the power of the wind to shake things up and discover new treasures. The land is as fertile as your exploration's progress, making "backtracking" something one must do to rejuvenate all the land and reach even more hidden key areas while using newly conquered brush techniques and skills!
Players board on an adventure filled with traditional Japanese mythology and a gameplay that is still innovating and brilliant to this present day. Amaterasu and a very special friend, Issun, will travel across Nippon exploring the land and its mysteries. Dozens of interesting NPC’s await in each village, with problems that only the gods can help with. While flourishing the land, the animals and even the gods, players will fight the evil that lurks since ancient times!
The gameplay itself is remarkably amazing, and the story and characters are equally as fascinating. Dialogues become treats to the eyes with entertaining conversations and excellent well directed narrative. There’s humour, acts of courage, deceit, and even some drama. The plot takes twists and sets a journey of amazing events with perfect consistency.
Okami’s presentation is nonetheless worth of notoriety with a very unique style, like it was drawn amidst watercolors, but with intense contrast and well traced lines. The color palette is vibrant and pleasant, with charismatic landscapes that reminds us of traditional Japanese paintings. Models and characters are definitely particular with a fantastic art direction that suit the game like no other style could.
Design structure follows the same line of creativity, with levels being composed with traditional architecture fused with the fantasy side of the folklore and some original concepts from the developers. Seems like it was the perfect mix to bring alive the tale of Amaterasu.
Great visuals, fantastic gameplay, and of course, the soundtrack had to follow the amazing work as a whole. There is so much I could say about the music that bathes this adventure, but words wouldn’t mean much when you can hear it yourself. Classic traditional instruments play an important role and not just technically, but rather compose beautiful tunes. From Biwa to Shamisen and even Shinobue, the music is culturally rich and its melodies will quickly become part of your journey.
Optimization as the port goes delivers improvements mostly in the visuals, but remains locked at 30fps. If well worked, Okami HD could even pass without loadings, but it’s clear Capcom just ported the code to retain the original experience with enhancements, such as optional in-game filters to give the original experience. Steam Trading Cards and Achievements are available which is a fantastic addition.
Okami is one of my favorite games, one I can absolve from reality and extend myself in this adventure. There’s absolutely nothing I can spot negatively, even though the frame rate cap can be annoying. The exploration entwined with the lore and its significance is subliminally amazing. Although Capcom no longer creates such amazing games, this HD edition is well welcomed, so a new generation can appreciate this masterpiece.