David Klein On December 21, 2012 at 11:46 am

Okami HD GamesCom ScreenshotWhen you’re talking about cult hits on the Playstation 2, you can’t have a conversation without mentioning Okami. Having been originally released back in September 2006, Okami may have been easily forgotten by many gamers who had either just bought an Xbox 360 or had their preorder down for their new Playstation 3. Fortunately the game was released on the Wii back in 2008 and now it’s finally made it on the Playstation 3 with the same motion controls and now with HD graphics in Okami HD. Is this the definitive version of the game or are the PS2 or Wii games the better versions?

If you know nothing about Okami then saying that it has similarities to a Zelda game should help because that would be an understatement. Okami has you navigating a large open world going through various dungeons, solving puzzles and beating the big bad boss in each dungeon. There are dozens of side quests to be done that involve traveling the world and doing different errands just like in Zelda. There is no doubt that Okami was heavily inspired by the Zelda series but it also has plenty to call it’s own as well. Taking place in feudal Japan you are the reincarnation of a wolf god who defeated an evil eight headed demon called Orochi 100 years before, this wolf goes by the name Amaterasu in his reincarnated form. Now Orochi has returned and casts a wave of darkness across the land and it’s up to Amaterasu to stop it. To say this story is very Japanese in feel would be an understatement, the character Amaterasu is in fact based upon Japanese mythology much like many parts of this game. This intense Japanese inspired setting is something you will either get behind or you will extremly dislike most things about this game.

Okami has some cool customization with your weaponry that isn’t present with Zelda. Throughout the game you’ll find different sacred weapons to add to your arsenal all which can be used as a primary and secondary attack which do two different things in each slot. Unlike Zelda where you’ll be constantly be looking for heart pieces instead you gain praise either by feeding the wild animals who are roaming around the world by using different kinds of food you find in shops or by purifying an area of the evil haunting it gaining you praise. Praise can also be used to upgrade other things like how many brush strokes you can make (which we’ll get to later) and upgrading your wallet size. Another difference from Zelda is you get sucked into a limited battle area when you’re fighting enemies, you have to fight in a limited circle until all the enemies are defeated and then you collect Yen for your wallet. This is akin to a traditional RPG where battles are a world of their own except this does still have real time action like in Zelda. Honestly while I prefer the Zelda approach, it’s more a preference than something that detracts from the game.

One of the most unique areas about Okami is the use the Celestial Brush which is the ability to pause the game whenever you want and to make brush strokes upon the world which can effect the surroundings in different ways. You start off with just one but as you make your through the game you learn more than a dozen different gestures that can be used for fighting enemies and solving puzzles. It’s a really novel gimmick which there’s more than a few clever uses of the mechanic through the game. My only complaint is that the game can sometimes be a little picky with your brush strokes, sometimes your circle is not quite circular enough for it which is frustrating but it doesn’t happen all the time.

There are two different controls schemes for the player to use, one with the PlayStation SIXAXIS/Dual Shock 3 setup akin to the one on the original Playstation 2 game and there’s Playstation Move controls that replicate those from the Wii version. Honestly both are competent control schemes where the advantage with the Move scheme is that you can use the Move to make brush gestures while in the celestial brush while with the traditional controls you have far better control of the camera with the second analog stick to aim it. Honestly if I had to pick one to play with I’d probably go with the Dual Shock since the brush strokes with the analog stick isn’t all that much harder to do, you have control of the camera and on the Move sometimes I’d fall off ledges by accident because the dodging mechanic has been assigned to a waggle control which you can activated by accident.

The graphics are really beautiful for an upscaled Playstation 2 game, though that said this was one of the most beautiful games you could play during that generation to begin with. The graphics are a beautiful cell shaded look that’s akin to traditional Japanese brush painting and though what they lack in detail are more than made up for with clarity of each individual line of ink. The look is simply enticing and uniqueness is something to admire. You’d be doing yourself a disservice by not at least checking out a few screenshots from the game and having a look at this beautiful art direction they used. The game’s sound effects aren’t quite as impressive unfortunately where most dialog is represented by text and some grunts from character though the same criticism could be levied on any given Zelda game. The music however is quite enchanting and goes perfectly with the mythical and ancient Japanese atmosphere the game aims to create.

Okami HD is simply a steal at $20 on the Playstation Network, you have over 20 hours of gameplay to enjoy, even more if you decided to do some side quests. The graphics are beautiful and a good effort to take advantage of the upscaling on the PlayStation 3 was done. While I prefer the regular controller the Playstation Move is at least worth a try since some people may even prefer it over the standard controls, especially if you liked it on the Wii. Okami HD is all around an excellent game and the Playstation 3 version certainly does it justice as the definitive version.


The game borrows a lot from Zelda and brings plenty of fun mechanics of it’s own making for an excellent combination.


The cell shaded brush strokes used for the game could definitely make it qualify as art and are truly beautiful.


While probably my least favorite part of the package it still makes for a strong effort.


Okami worth checking out if you haven’t played it before on the Playstation 2 or Wii perhaps even if you have.


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