GENRE: Action Adventure Game
DEV: Capcom/Clover Studios
Game Time (100% Achievements): 44 Hours
Steam Cards: Yes
Steam Achievements: Yes
Okami was one of the most highly praised games of the PS2 era. Whenever someone asked for a hidden gem for the PS2 Okami was almost always on that list, making it the most prominent not-so-hidden, hidden gem. Due to it's cell shaded graphics the game has aged like a fine wine. It has been released on a very large number of platforms. Including the Wii, PS3, PS4, Xbox 1, and the Nintendo Switch. As of December 2017 the HD edition was released on Steam, giving the game a wider reach to the PC audiences.
The game itself takes place in the land of Nippon (Japan) in a land that has been cursed with the return of the great demon Orochi of ancient Japanese folklore. You play as Amaterasu Okami, a white wolf with distinct red markings that is the physical manifestation of the ancient Japanese sun god. Travel through Nippon and purify the land, make everyone remember who you are and collect your celestial brush techniques to prepare for your fights with many demons of lore.
OKAMI HD / 大神 絶景版
Okami is a game that I played myself over a decade ago. I remember seeing the cover of the game and being mesmerized by the art style. When the game was released on Steam last year I wanted to see if the game I had such fond memories of was as good as I remembered. Lets go into more detail about the game itself and then give a review of the game.
Story / Premise
The wolf you see there is the protagonist for Okami. Affectionately called Ammy, by your side kick, you will be playing as Amaterasu Okami. Amaterasu went into slumber for 100 years after defeating the demon Orochi. 100 years later Orochi has been revived and has placed his curse across the land, and Amaterasu has awakened from her slumber to stop Orochi once again. But when you were away your strength greatly weakened. The Celestial Brush techniques that you created have been scattered and the people of Nippon have lost faith in Amaterasu in her absence. Your initial goal in the game is to travel with your trusty sidekick Issun and regain your power. Relearn your celestial brush techniques restore faith in your subjects, and purify the land and restore it's beauty.
In Okami you go from village to village helping wildlife and the people living there. It is an open world game and as you learn more Celestial Brush techniques the world will open up to you more.
CELESTIAL BRUSH TECHNIQUES
You may be wondering, what are Celestial Brush Techniques?
Celestial Brush Techniques are brush strokes that change the environment. These techniques help you in a number of ways. They can be used to remove obstacles from your path, solve puzzles, or destroy your enemies. There are 13 main techniques in Okami and more powerful versions of each can be learned. When you enter Celestial Brush Mode (CBM) you use your ink to draw symbols. these symbols each correlate with a certain technique.
For example if you draw a straight line across a group of trees, the trees will be cut in half when you exit the CBM. You can create trees, manipulate fire, and create gusts of wind. As you become more powerful you can get techniques like creating an inferno, summoning lightning, or creating a tornado. I won't mention them all because half the fun of the game is discovering new techniques. The 13 major brush techniques are mandatory for completing the game, but the upgrades and variations can be found in side quests.
However you don't just fight with brush strokes. Brush strokes are usually finishing techniques or they create openings for you to do damage with your Divine Instrument. Your Divine Instruments are your weapons. As you progress through the game you gain access to new weapons from various bosses. There are three weapon types within the game and each weapon can be equipped as either your main weapon or your sub weapon.
Main Weapon: Well rounded melee weapon, slash your enemies with your shield.
Sub Weapon: Use your reflector as a shield, time your counters perfectly and you perform a counter attack
Main Weapon: Attack from a distance, whip your enemies with your beads
Sub Weapon: Shoot your enemies from afar, shoots rosary bullets.
Main Weapon: Slow but powerful, the sword weapon
Sub Weapon: Pierce your enemies with your stabbing attacks.
The combat in Okami lacks in the difficulty department but it is very fun. Chances are, you will not die once you figure out the weakness of your enemy. Okami has very smooth combat with a high amount of customization. With three weapon types that can be used in two different ways you can have 9 different combinations of weapons. However you will not have access to the glaive weapon class until about a third of the way through the game. The boss design is a strong point, however like many Capcom games the bosses are recycled. One boss in particular is used 4 times throughout the game. The combat is incredibly fun however I do wish there was a higher difficulty level. As an adult that is even more apparent than when I initially played this game as a child.
Okami has a number of puzzles that are not too difficult but not so easy that it isn't entertaining. However some of the optional mini-games are incredibly challenging. Some would even say frustrating. These are optional, so I see the challenge as a positive in the game. If you are able to complete them you gain access to certain treasures or occasionally brush techniques.
Okami includes minigames like fishing and turnip digging.And it also has a very large amount of collectables. Achievement hunters and completionists will not run out of things to do in Okami anytime soon. Even if you don't do any of these there are a number of interesting sidequests. Without doing any of these the game will still be around 40 hours on your first play through. The only reason I made it through the game so quickly with all achievements was because I had played through the game and I remembered most of the content.
When I go back to games from the PS2 era they usually don't look that great. With an HD remaster Okami looks just as good as I remember it. The cell shaded art creates beautiful environments. When you go from the desolate cursed areas and return them to their former glory you appreciate the art much more. Amaterasu is like a budget Suicune in that 2001 Celebi movie (Pokemon reference, keep up). I can't complain about the graphics even putting it to today's standards.
Playing Okami a second time was a nostalgia trip. But I did notice flaws in the game that I didn't notice the first time. The art is still great, the combat is fun, the world is vast and interesting, and there is plenty of content. In fact I thought I was done with the game initially and it turned out to be only a third of the way through. But Okami is way too easy, the game needs a higher difficulty to be challenging. It also reuses bosses too often. The third time I fought the same boss in one play-through it seemed like a chore. And many find the voice acting to be annoying, there is no dialogue just cutesy gibberish in its place.
Okami isn't a game that gives you adrenaline pumping moments where you dodge every move perfectly and counter. Because even if you do that, you really didn't need to. There is little threat. However where Okami shines is it's world. You get a great sense of adventure and exploration and you go through Nippon and see all the beautiful environments. All the extras available to the player make the world worth exploring. And the soundtrack makes dramatic moments in the story really hyped up. You will feel your blood pumping when you finally get to show off Amaterasu's power.
Okami is still one of my favorite games of all time made by Clover one of my favorite game makers of all time and I recommend that everyone play it.
Now go grab those brush techniques,