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Okami HD
Score: 86%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure/ Action/ RPG

Graphics & Sound:
Okami HD is a remake of the original PlayStation 2 game famous for its painted style of graphics. Itís basically a cel-shaded engine that makes things look like theyíve been painted down with a brush. Thick, bold, black lines outline everything, and a subtle paper texture is visible on just about everything. Amaterasu, the white wolf you play as, has a trail of flowers and vegetation that follow her every footstep, and red maple leaves fall from her feet as she jumps. Itís all very lovely when it comes together. Now that itís crisp, clear HD and widescreen, itís even more enjoyable. I canít say that there were actually any enhancements to the graphics, or to the painting effect that makes the game look so unique, unfortunately. It just looks clearer now.

And perhaps Iím at a disadvantage after having played so many versions of this game already, because some things about the game are grating on me at this point. Donít get me wrong, I still think itís a beautiful, creative game. Itís just that some of the things that were minor annoyances are pretty big ones now. The traditional Japanese music is lovely, and very zen-like. But sometimes itís so calm and soothing, I feel like Iím being lulled to sleep.

The speech sounds seem a little outdated at this point as well. Each person has their own ďWah-wahk, Wah-wahkĒ kind of repetitive sound that plays while you read their speech bubbles, in an attempt to make it sound like theyíre talking without having to actually record a bunch of speech. Itís quite aggravating for most characters (pretty much the only time I thought it was cute was for the adorably squeaky "mouse god" voice, and that little guy only shows up once in the game.) It makes me want to skip through the text, even though this is an RPG, and that sort of thing is a bit important. Speaking of skipping, a major trophy in the game should be getting through that opening story sequence. You canít skip it, and you canít speed the text up. This happens several times throughout the game as well, when itís decided that you must read whatís happening (and listen to the annoying speech sounds) and you canít be trusted to not skip through it.

Okami HD is the story of the goddess Amaterasu who takes up the form of a white wolf in order to fight the demon Orochi and save the poor inhabitants of the village of Kamiki. She doesnít speak, and often acts like an an unassuming dog (scratching and whimpering), adding to some of the more humorous points in the game. Her adventures take her through lots of traditional Japanese towns and landscapes, and she often aids in some very traditional Japanese tasks, such as making sake.

The main godly power that Amaterasu wields is the Celestial Brush. Using this, she paints things like wind, slashes, and explosions which then become real. The brush can also heal cursed landscapes and bring back life to dead trees. Itís all very inspired by traditional Japanese painting and folklore. If you can pick up on half of the references you find in this game, Iíd say youíre pretty well versed in Japanese culture.

The game plays like an action adventure game, with some puzzle and RPG elements here and there. The comparison previous reviewers have made to The Legend of Zelda series is completely spot-on, since thatís the best way to describe all the elements that combine together to make this game. It's very Zelda-like in that sense.

Okami HD is not particularly difficult. It takes a while for the difficulty to ramp up a bit, but by that time, you have had the opportunity to build up Amaterasuís stats and learn some valuable combat skills that will help you out. Most of the difficulty comes into play in remembering what brush technique each monster is vulnerable to. And then if you want to win your battles with flying colors, that can be tricky as well. Thereís a bit of strategy involved in setting up your fights so you can use a well-timed brush stroke to really finish things off. But simply getting through the game without any flair? Thatís not too hard in Okami.

Game Mechanics:
Iíll admit, not being able to review the PS Move capabilities of Okami HD leaves me at a bit of a disadvantage, but I was hoping for at least some sort of SIXAXIS controller support. Everyone remembers that the PS3 had an option called the SIXAXIS, right? And that it tilts and stuff? And that the features were rolled into the DualShock 3. Right? Ah, those were the days, because the capability of this controller seems to have been long forgotten with Sonyís later efforts to fight to keep up with the motion capabilities of the Wii, and then the Xbox 360ís Kinect. But then again, tilting to draw seems like an awful idea, so lets just forget about that altogether then.

Though I canít review the Move-enabled features, it is clear that not much is changing in the Okami formula. That means you can probably expect it to function much like the Wii version of this game. After all, Okami is a game about painting, pretty much. So if the Wii controls meant you can swipe to paint a line, thatís probably what you can expect here.

But for fans of the original PS2 game, the controls havenít changed at all. Hold a button to enable painting, use the Analog Stick to paint. The rest of the game functions like a standard beat-em-up adventure game. So if youíre looking to pick this game up for the HD and widescreen enhancements, youíll be right at home with everything else.

-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

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