Those who’ve played Okami before knows they are in for a treat with this HD upgrade. You play as Ameratsu, a Shinto sun goddess who took the form of a wolf in a battle against evil that became the stuff of legend for a century. At the end of that century, a great evil threatens the land once again, and you take Ameratsu’s wolf form and reluctantly team up with a pestering, insistent, oftentimes hilarious, sprite named Issun, who is a self-proclaimed “genius artist.” Using your controller (DualShock and/or PlayStation Move), you can attack enemies using a “Celestial Brush,” which can be used for slashing at enemies, fixing broken bridges, summoning the Sun itself to your aid, and much more as you play through the game.
The game looks gorgeous. Okami was already a great-looking game back on the PlayStation 2, and this remake definitely does the original justice. The enthralling art style never fails to impress, and the entire game doesn’t really look like something ripped from the last generation of consoles. Trees and various environmental objects do use a certain type of sprite that gives away the game’s age, but even those are crisp, detailed, and fit right in with the world presented to the player. Ameratsu practically glows, and visual effects pop out of the screen like never before. The framerate stays solid as do most HD remasterings, and in 1080p no less. It’s uncertain just how much, if any, remastering was done to Okami‘s soundtrack, but the audio is crisp and peaceful as ever.
So, Okami HD is most assuredly an improvement from a technical standpoint, and this HD remix is different makes another tweak by adding PlayStation Move support. I remember when I first heard this; I was very excited. “This game was truly made for such a controller!” Oh, how wrong I was. It’s not that the game doesn’t play well with the Move — drawing brush strokes with the motion controller is pretty smooth — it’s just that you can tell that this game was not made with that sort of accessory in mind.
When this game was created on the PlayStation 2, pausing the game mid-fight to allow you to position the cursor and draw lines/shapes made sense, and helped compensate for the sluggishness of drawing lines and shapes with an analog stick. But in today’s games, such actions would likely play out in real time; your paintbrush cursor would stay on-screen at all times, allowing you to slash and stroke at will, all the while maintaining immersion in the wonderful world of Nippon. The Move helps to create more accurate paint strokes, but it isn’t nearly as satisfying as it could be. To top things off, you lose control of the game’s camera when using the Move. This is really the only blemish on the otherwise outstanding high-definition remaster of Okami.
Some PlayStation Move gripes aside, Okami HD should still be on any gamer’s purchase list. The true vision of the creators has seemingly been realized, in glorious 1080p high definition. Everything looks great, and the game still plays well. If you haven’t yet played this captivating, artful title, you owe yourself the service. For only $19.99, a wondrous adventure awaits.