Review cover Okami HD (Nintendo Switch)
Official GBAtemp Review

Product Information:

  • Release Date (NA): August 9, 2018
  • Release Date (EU): August 9, 2018
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Genres: Adventure
  • Also For: Computer, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Game Features:

Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative
The sun rises to Capcom's latest release of the critically acclaimed Okami, but does it still shine the way it used to?

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Originally released in 2006 for the PS2, Capcom introduced the world to a story of gods and demons; wrapping it in the package of a traditional Japanese painting, Okami was unique. This tale retold across (console) generations, it has seen subsequent ports to the Wii, PS3, PC, PS4, Xbox One, and now to the Switch. This being my first time into the land of Nippon, I look to this 12 year old game questioning whether its once-unique style and substance can hold up to modern standards.

A Slow Start

Before you can really sink your teeth into the game, you're struck with cutscene upon cutscene detailing the struggle that first sealed away the great Orochi, and the events that lead to its release. The story is wonderfully told, unraveling like an extravagant tapestry. It sets the world wonderfully and gets you excited to properly get started, but before you can do that, you have an introductory section. It ticks all the right boxes for an introductory section; basic concepts are explained through play, you walk and jump through a simple linear path, you get a skill to begin progression. It's fine on paper, but when the scene has been set for a grand adventure, the pacing put me off to the point of questioning just how poorly the game had aged. Moving through Kamiki Village, these thoughts stayed with me. With how often I had heard Okami being compared to titles from the Zelda series, I had expected action, combat; swift and satisfying progression. Only when I got to Hana Valley and acquired my next brush skill did I realise the game wasn't at fault, but my preconceptions about it.

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The Bloom skill changed how I saw the game, and all for the better. As I painted a circle around my first withered sapling and watched the world explode into colour, I took a moment to simply watch. I took a moment to think about what I wanted from this experience; I took a moment to realise what was blatantly staring me in the face—this isn't The Legend of Zelda.

Painting a Celestial Picture

Okami's greatest strength lies in its visual presentation. Styled in such a way as to appear dated whilst still remaining strikingly vibrant and unique, they stand up to any modern standard in a way worthy of being called timeless. The game is made in such a way as to put its beauty at the forefront of progression, also offering it in ample amounts as reward for optional tasks. If there's a stain on the world, you feel drawn to get rid of it. The actual benefit to doing this is fairly insignificant, giving you a few additional points to invest in growth, but the satisfaction of purging a scourge, of ridding the land of imperfection; it's addicting.

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The game uses its themes not only in crafting a beautiful world, but in aligning every part of itself to create as immersive an experience as can reasonably be expected. In place of a pause menu, you unravel a paper fan; in place of tutorials, you read scrolls acquired on your journey. Every part of it feels correct within the bounds of the world. Even things like area names being displayed are stylised to look as though they're supposed to be there, despite floating high in the sky above each area. With the theme of painting coursing through the very essence of the game, you really do feel like a God wandering through your own brushwork come to life. It's empowering, it gives you a real sense of belonging in the world and with it, a sense of responsibility for its well-being.

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Dungeons and Dog-Fighting

Perhaps the game's weakest points lie in its combat. Monster encounters are clearly marked on your quest, be it by ghostly floating tags, or cursed torii littering the land. Interacting with, or walking through in the second case, these will put you inside a barrier where you must purge the evil within for it to subside. Thematically it works well, and the lack of random encounters is something I welcome in a game with experience and leveling up not tied to progress. Where the issue lies is in the fighting itself. Your basic combat isn't complex at all, and in this area I can understand a likening to the Zelda series; you hit Y to lunge towards an enemy and attack. As strange as it might sound, I might have preferred the game were it to maintain this simplicity. Where The Legend of Zelda can add items and enemies that by extension can be defeated by these items, Okami is limited to the use of its brush techniques. Again, this is a sound concept on paper, and should allow for a similar style of combat and evolution of enemies; though I tried to enjoy it, there was one thing really holding it back.

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Each new enemy encounter has its own traditional painting to serve as introduction.

The difference between using an item in Zelda and a brush technique in Okami lies in each game's controls. In the former game, you have the option to target an enemy. This keeps focus on them and allows you to freely use one hand for items, swordplay, whatever you want; Okami to the best of my knowledge lacks this. As minor as it may sound, confined to limited area presented for each battle, you too often find yourself fighting with the camera. This is made worse in handheld mode (my mode of preference for this game) by the fact you need to move one hand away from the controller to the touch screen for brush techniques. It ultimately makes for an unnecessarily awkward combat experience. As I continued playing, I was pleasantly surprised to find there were exceptions, these being the penultimate fights within dungeons.

Dungeons in Okami feel traditional. You enter, work your way through, fight a boss, and rid it of evil. They're incredibly fun and are themed well, with a good balance of platforming and puzzles to keep neither from growing tiresome. While most of it is incredibly enjoyable, my favourite part by far quite unexpectedly comes from the boss encounters. Where individual enemies can feel cramped and awkward, boss fights explode into creative combat hosted within their larger lairs. Utilising new skills acquired, these boss fights each feel unique and most importantly give you the space to enjoy them, despite the limitations of the camera. Boss designs are equally brilliant, pulling from Japanese mythology and creating something genuinely menacing each time.

A Worthwhile Wolf?

Okami was a fantastic game when it first came out, and sadly one I missed. While I can't speak for how it's has changed over time, I can say with certainty that Okami HD is more than worth the meager £16 ($20) Capcom is asking for it. In this divine package, you have a serene walk through picturesque lands, dungeons to explore, and mythical creations to slay. Okami is a game that despite being 12 years old, does not feel out of place in a modern marketplace, and one I can not recommend enough.

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Verdict

What We Liked ...
  • Unique and striking visual style
  • Expansive world
  • Lavish cutscenes
  • Fun and engaging dungeon design
  • Well-crafted boss designs and fights
What We Didn't Like ...
  • Camera speed and lack of enemy targeting makes combat awkward
8
Gameplay
Controlling well and feeling great to play overall, Okami HD puts forward a fantastic gameplay experience. Leaning on its graphical style as motivation, you're encouraged to go beyond the main storyline, and what lies beyond is a journey in itself. Held back only by an awkward to control camera, it is enjoyable through and through.
10
Presentation
Okami HD puts forward a graphical style easily defined as timeless. The game is quite simply beautiful.
9
Lasting Appeal
Between its unique visuals, expansive world, and interesting boss encounters, Okami HD is an unforgettable experience. It's a game I would play to completion, and play again; it's a game I could understand a person rebuying simply to play it wherever they are.
8.9
out of 10

Overall

Okami HD is a great way to experience this timeless title. As my first encounter with the game, the Switch's unique touch controls went great lengths in crafting an immersive world and combat style. Pair this with a graphical style that not only looks incredible, but stands up to modern standards, and you have a surprisingly affordable adventure you won't be able to put down.
BTW. I ask here, so we gonna have one less useless thread. Ahem.

I played this game back in PS2 days, but disliked it a lot, cause this 'speech' sounds hurt my brain. I'm willing to get this game a second chance now. Should I play PS3 version to get 4k + move support, or switch version to be able to play on toilet? Which is better: touch control or motion control?
 
I wonder how many rereleases we need until it sells enough to get an actual sequel.
For once we actually agree on something, it's about time Okami got a sequel. Not counting Okamiden ofc, I want a console sequel.

I played this game back in PS2 days, but disliked it a lot, cause this 'speech' sounds hurt my brain. I'm willing to get this game a second chance now. Should I play PS3 version to get 4k + move support, or switch version to be able to play on toilet? Which is better: touch control or motion control?
Touch or motion are both nice little enhancements, but neither is a necessity to enjoy this game. I'd just go with the most current-gen version, AKA Switch.
 
the "zelda feeling" to me was more about the dungeon than the fights.
you explore a world, you speak to citizen, and you have dungeon to visit with puzzles and boss, to complete mission given by people and progress in the story. this is more zelda than the fact the fight is a button mashing type.

Also, you said the fights are only relying on brush technics while zelda rely on new power and weapon. But I rarely used brush technics in combat, I always relied on the new acquired weapon (the mirror, then the whip, then they updates etc. like Link's sword or tunic which also upgrades).
of course, the fights needs you to often cut the monster in half to make more bonus, but it's not necessary to kill them. It feels like you didn't complete the game, the first chapter needs 30 hours! you need 100H to complete all chapters and get new/all weapons.

The switch doesn't allow you to draw with a button, like the game on PS2? when I tried Okami on the Wii, I thought "great, it will be easier to paint on screen with a wiimote", but it was actually worse. It's less precise and harder to draw a straight line. It's probably easier with touch screen, but still I would have like if you had the choice to either use the touch screen OR the sticks to paint.

What I liked the most in that game is the way the Japanese folklore is depicted, with traditional scrolls, with all existing and well known "Youkai" and all these Japanese tales like Himiko princess, Orichi, or representation and symbols like the Howl.
I loved being merged in this culture and finding a beautifully painted world.

I played Okamiden on DS, and I liked it a lot, though not as much as I also expected another type of sequel. But it was a sequel, in the sense of revisiting most places, and people had memories of your action in this game.
I hope to have a new game one day, but they covered almost all storied and folklore within these two games.


PS: the voice effect is horrible, most people just stop playing because if it.
 
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The switch doesn't allow you to draw with a button, like the game on PS2? when I tried Okami on the Wii, I thought "great, it will be easier to paint on screen with a wiimote", but it was actually worse. It's less precise and harder to draw a straight line. It's probably easier with touch screen, but still I would have like if you had the choice to either use the touch screen OR the sticks to paint.
I believe you can use the sticks.
BTW. I ask here, so we gonna have one less useless thread. Ahem.

I played this game back in PS2 days, but disliked it a lot, cause this 'speech' sounds hurt my brain. I'm willing to get this game a second chance now. Should I play PS3 version to get 4k + move support, or switch version to be able to play on toilet? Which is better: touch control or motion control?
You can change the volume of the "speech" noise separately in the options apparently, so you can just completely turn it off.
 
like I said, I preferred a lot the touch method than motion control. it's more precise and intuitive, especially for straight lines and positioning.
unless you are great at making straight lines and targeting with motion. Maybe it's easier with Move than Wiimote?

I preferred Stick method the most. but with Okamiden on NDS it was nice with stylus.


If you can, test both and choose. if not, I'd recommend touch method. not sure 4k or HD really does make a difference with this graphic type, it's all anime, cellshading and blurry on purpose, you just get high res blurriness :D
 
the final note is personal and not based or calculated on other values.
the game could be very bad, but with extremely beautiful graphics, it will not change the game is bad, the graphics will not up the note.
 
I've thought about buying this game. I've played it briefly on an earlier system (can't recall which one). I remember the eloquent design of the first dungeon, but I recall very little else.
 
As far as I know, the original team isn't together anymore. You could just get some other people to do it, but whether or not it'll be a good game or not is a question for another day.

The team formerly known as Clover Studios is now known as Platinum Games.

So in answer to questions about when is the sequel coming....the answer is never.

Okami has TWO full games in it as is. (no spoilers) The fight against (the 1st boss) was meant to be the end of the game. Clover knew it probably wouldn't get to do a sequel so they added in the 2nd half of the game for a definitive ending.

The reason why Okamiden doesn't feel like a sequel, well because none of the same devs had anything to do with it. Capcom can only re-release it because it's very unlikely they could come close to matching the quality again. (and without the original devs involved)

I was pretty sure most people knew about these things. I guess not. Enjoy the masterpiece because you'll never see it's like (from Clover or Capcom again).
 
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The team formerly known as Clover Studios is now known as Platinum Games.

So in answer to questions about when is the sequel coming....the answer is never.

Okami has TWO full games in it as is. (no spoilers) The fight against (the 1st boss) was meant to be the end of the game. Clover knew it probably wouldn't get to do a sequel so they added in the 2nd half of the game for a definitive ending.

The reason why Okamiden doesn't feel like a sequel, well because none of the same devs had anything to do with it. Capcom can only re-release it because it's very unlikely they could come close to matching the quality again. (and without the original devs involved)

I was pretty sure most people knew about these things. I guess not. Enjoy the masterpiece because you'll never see it's like (from Clover or Capcom again).
Well, technically they could outsource to Platinum, they are for hire. You're right that it won't happen though.
 
no, it has a lot.
there are not only 2 bosses.

There are two big chapters, the first one requires 30H of gameplay, and focus on a single bad guy, but to do that you have to complete different areas and dungeons. (note that dungeon is not only "underground", it can be a forest level)
the other part of the game is more multi-story, each area having its own mini story and dungeon/boss to complete.
 
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I wonder how many rereleases we need until it sells enough to get an actual sequel.
true this , played it on wiiu.
fantastic game, amazing soundtrack.

but your comment makes lot of sense (been out since ps2), we need a sequel.

edit: forgot to mention, good review c:
 
I wonder how many rereleases we need until it sells enough to get an actual sequel.
- We got a sorta sequel in Okamiden for the DS, but I totally agree, we need an actual sequel. And what ever happened to that Okami spin-off staring Issun we were supposed to get?
 
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I'm playing through this game again right now (on PS3, not Switch) and I forgot just how long it takes to 100% the game. I severely underestimated the amount of dedication I have to put into this. It's still super fun!
 
I don't recommend the Wii USA/EU version, the fighting with motion only is unreliable. JPN version has been fixed and use A button instead.
as for the graphics and FPS, I can't compare I played only PS2 version fully. I guess you can pick based on the console you play the most or are more comfortable with. The switch if you want a portable version.
 
PS: the voice effect is horrible, most people just stop playing because if it.

Thank goodness this version lets you turn it down all the way.

From what I'm reading, the audio options used to only be Music/Sound. But this one added a Voice slider.
 
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This is a fake HD game, they just upscaled the PS2 version. The Wii version is still the best version of the game despite a few minor problems with the controller.
 
Review cover
Product Information:
  • Release Date (NA): August 9, 2018
  • Release Date (EU): August 9, 2018
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Genres: Adventure
  • Also For: Computer, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Game Features:
Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative

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