When Okami first came out six years ago, it wasn’t played by millions of people. It didn’t break any sales records, it didn’t have an addictive competitive online mode, and mainstream gamers did not recommend it to their classmates. To be truthful, Okami didn’t even change the way games are played. But it was one of its kind. It was a rare thing to make a game so subdued and tranquil and yet make it so good, and six years later, that feeling of rarity resonates more than ever.
In an age when the market is dominated by the bombastic Assassin’s Creeds and Call of Dutys, Okami reminds you what games are truly about- man immersive and enjoyable experience. No matter that it’s a game that is actually six years old- worth a lifetime in the gaming industry. Its mechanics don’t feel old, and it’s a surprise that the game has aged as well as it has.
What’s most striking about Okami when you play it is the visuals. Even if you did play it six years ago, you still will be shocked by how good they look. Sure, they’ve been remastered to look better with full HD support, but truth be told, Okami is the kind of game that doesn’t require remastered graphics. Because with Okami’s visuals, the strength doesn’t lie in textures or frame rate or draw distances (even though those things are in full strength here). Okami’s visuals are so remarkable because of how different they are, how artistically proficient they are. Right from the nighttime sky and flowing rivers to the dense forests and populated rural settlements, Okami’s visuals will never fail to impress you.
Another area where Okami takes a route games usually don’t tread upon is the gameplay. You’re just a wolf with a paint brush (it was not my intention to make it sound ridiculous). You’re not Zeus from Age of Mythology, striking down settlements with bolts of lightning. You’re not Kratos, ripping people into pieces. You’re not controlling any Sims. No, you’re just a wolf with some special powers.
And what powers they are. Using the Cerebral Brush makes Okami a ton of fun. The game throws a lot of puzzles and obstacles your way, and the answer always lies within the Brush, but figuring out is a very interesting ordeal. Creating a bridge to get across a valley, drawing the sun in the sky to change the time of the day, creating a rope to climb up a tree- the possibilities are countless, and using the brush is always a ton of fun.
Even using the Brush during combat is fun, and seeing it cutting your enemies in half will never get old. If you have a PlayStation Move controller, it certainly will be a better experience, but playing with a Dualshock is also extremely fun, and the controls are tight and responsive.
The best, most memorable aspect of Okami, however, has to be how game is dripping with atmosphere. Olden Japanese culture and mythology is entrenched deep in the experience of Okami, and wherever you go in the game, whatever you do, the engaging atmosphere will always be at the forefront. No, it’s not jumpy like Resident Evil (the older ones, at least) or creepy and claustrophobic like Metroid Prime. It… feels like you truly are in a Japan of the old days.
The influence that Zelda has on Okami permeates through the structure of the game in more ways than one. When Okami was released at the end of the previous generation, it was a long game by relative standards. By today’s standards, it’s even longer. The structure, as mentioned, is very similar to The Legend of Zelda, and the length here is similar too. However, unlike Zelda, the game isn’t as open ended or as varied. And often the length feels like it’s slogging. The pace of the game is also a bit off, and it takes a bit too long to pick up. Of course, it eventually pays off in the end, but players who want explosions and set pieces might want to stay clear.
Okami was an excellent game, and six years later, at the end of another generation of gaming, it’s success and rarity is even more resonant. Okami HD is an enjoyable, extremely innovative title, that, while not for the shortsighted, is a game that fans of the genre should definitely play. If you haven’t played Okami before, now is the best time to jump into this world, since Okami HD is the best version of this wonderful game.
This game was reviewed on the PS3.
Wonderful, rich world that sucks your right in; Stuffed with humour and emotion; Cerebral Brush mechanic is excellent; Long
Too long; Pacing is questionable
Okami is still the rare achievement that it was six years ago- that is a massive achievement.