GAME NAME: Okami: HD
DEVELOPER(S): Clover Studio
RELEASE DATE(S): 10/30/2012
Few developers have had as hard a time as Clover Studios. From 2003 to 2006 they released multiple games that were all new IPs and loved by critics, but poorly received by consumers, forcing Capcom to shutter the studio and start pumping out Street Fighter after Street Fighter after Street Fighter. Since then, the original members have moved on to create Platinum Games studio and have continued to do what they do best: create games that I love. But if I had to pick my favorite game from either studio, it would have to be the one that stars a Japanese deity in the form of a white wolf- a white wolf that taught Bob Ross everything he knows about painting trees, that is.
Okami is a mix of The Legend of Zelda, amateur painting, Japanese ukiyo-e art, traditional Japanese folklore, and traditional Japanese music. Make no mistake, this is the most Japanese game available for the United States market. So for those of you out there that can be put off by playing games that have characters with names that are hard to pronounce…Run. Run as far away from this game as you can. All others, please proceed to your nearest PS3 and purchase this game in the PSN store now. Don’t have a PS3? Feel free to pick up the original PS2 version or the slightly enhanced Wii port. Still not convinced? How about I tell you some more.
Clocking in around forty hours for the average completion time, Okami HD is a balm for all the gamers today who complain about short single-player campaigns. It may seem like a long time to be running around (and hitting a “bark” button!) as the sun god Amaterasu in wolf form, but she controls like a dream and fights better than any teenager who ever set out to rescue a princess. She also gets a healthy variety of Celestial Brush abilities that keeps the combat and environment exploration as fresh as a spring rain. Plus, Okami was busy being a badass wolf months before Link decided to come down with a case of lycanthropy in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. And unlike Link, Ammy actually has an honest-to-God jump button and not some lame auto-jump.
Visually, Okami HD has the most artistic visual direction of any three dimensional game ever released, ever. At times it really feels like you’re playing a painting in motion. If there was ever a game deserving of the “games as art” accolade, it’s this one. Screenshots of this game simply do not do it justice. You really have to play it to see its true beauty. And now with its HD facelift, it looks better than ever. And I’m pleased to report that there are no graphical glitches, framerate drops or low-def menus in sight, which are commonly found in other HD collections that will not be named. *cough* Devil May Cry *cough* Silent Hill
With a game this great, there are very few complaints that I can mention. For an HD re-release, there’s generally some added bonus content like behind the scenes videos, art galleries or something along those lines. And other than added Playstation Move support (which I can’t comment on since I don’t own one), there’s none to be found. Unlike most re-releases, this one is download-only, so I guess I won’t be getting rid of my PS2 copy any time soon. Also, there’re still a few complaints that I had with the original release, such as the sometimes tricky nature of drawing objects with an analog stick. You may occasionally find yourself trying to summon a windstorm and end up with just putting cherry blossoms on a tree instead. The lack of a proper lock-on during enemy encounters is still a little disappointing, but it’s not a big deal. I may call these complaints, but really they’re just nitpicks and don’t detract from the overall experience in the slightest.
I really can’t recommend this game enough. I keep telling people to try it and they don’t listen to me. THEY JUST WON’T LISTEN TO ME! Anyone who is a fan of the modern Zelda games should definitely pick this up, and at $19.99, it certainly won’t break the bank. If you’re looking to maximize your gaming dollar, this is definitely the game to get. It may be quite an investment of your time, but if you put in a lot of love and effort, Okami HD will love you right back. Buy this game. Please. I’m begging you.