Okami was originally released on the PlayStation 2 way back in 2006, developed by Clover Studio which, prior to being closed, was a studio linked to Capcom. Upon its initial release it didn’t have the hoped-for level of success at retail however it was very highly regarded critically and became something of a cult and has subsequently been re-released, with the HD remaster being released on PS4, Xbox One and most recently the Switch which is the version I’m reviewing.
The game puts you in control of Amaterasu, a white wolf who is tasked with battling a great evil that has corrupted the village you start in and the surrounding area. There are definitely similarities with Zelda in terms of it being an action RPG where you unlock new weapons and skills as you progress the game, and also that you’re a silent protagonist with a tiny, talkative sidekick.
Graphically it’s very distinctive, it’s in a cel-shaded style and a little watercolour-like. The corrupted areas are very dark colours which give off a sense of foreboding which is a good contrast to the areas you restore which are much more vibrant colours. What is also pleasant is that I’ve not been able to really tell any difference in the visuals between the Xbox One X and the Switch.
The key game mechanic is the celestial brush, as you progress through the game you unlock more which have effects in combat but also have in world effects within the game world. Examples of this are techniques that change the time of day, restore broken items or cut things. This is worked in, as always in games like this, so that there are items early on in the game that you need to unlock these skills so that you can go back and access them which works quite nicely and isn’t too obtrusive.
There are lots of things to collect in order to unlock new skills and weapons or to sell at shops for money to buy healing items. Some of the skills you can unlock also display that it’s a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, you can unlock attacks rely on your character having a crap (which apparently is explosive) or cocking a leg and having a cheeky piss – weird but also very funny.
Combat is hitting buttons to attack and using celestial brush techniques at points to make the combat a bit more favourable to you. You can also earn items and money during combat and you get graded on how you did in terms of damage and time taken to achieve victory and this will give you a bonus on money earned which is a nice touch and a good incentive to really get to grips with the combat.
Overall it’s a game I love and it’s nice to be able to play it handheld as well as having the option to play on the TV, and I really hope it sells well as the Switch feels like a really good fit. There are lots of things to do in terms of distractions from the main quest and it’s pretty accessible for newbies to this type of game.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo
Release Date: 09/08/2018
No. of Players: 1
Developer: Clover Studio
Download link: eShop