Embark on One of the Most Memorable Journeys in Gaming Once Again
The all-too true Japanese adventure, Okami, produced a cult following so dedicated, many succumbed to the gorgeously crafted water-color visuals upon its announcement alone. After its initial release in 2006 on the Playstation 2 console, now dissolved developers Clover Studios and Japanese publishers Capcom saw its stunning adventure adopt a spin-off for the Nintendo DS, and two re-releases on the Wii and PS3. And now once more by the end of this year debuting on a brand new set of gaming systems.
The thrill of learning unique skills from the gods, performing fluid paint strokes in a beautifully crafted setting and exploring the depths of a whimsical land long ago in rural Japan rests as one of the most memorable experiences in gaming. Okami created an inspiring essence of the beauty behind Japanese arts, and told an unforgettable story that has undoubtedly shown time and time again the legend of Amaterasu, and her faithful companion Issun, ages like fine wine.
A Cursed Land Waiting to Reveal its Lush and Radiant Landscape
The heartfelt story foretold a journey to rid the once peaceful lands of Nippon of the smothering darkness, birthing monstrous demons, powerful enemies – like the 8-headed dragon serpent Orochi – and cursed territories smothering the country. Living through Japanese folklore and legends, fending off villainous enemies with powerful weapons and learning the ancient brushstrokes of the gods becomes the only way to overcome the treacherous curse.
Throughout the journey of Okami, the mighty sun goddess Amaterasu takes the form of a serene white wolf. Given the unique ability to halt time, the Celestial Brush allows you to paint brushstrokes across the screen, certain symbols granting powerful abilities and useful methods of traversing the across the diverse Japanese lands. Leaping between painted water lilys to cross large bodies of water, using the power of wind by painting swirls in the sky, or slashing a fierce strike across a group of enemies to deal massive damage sit as only a handful of the helpful, unusual but strikingly beautiful abilities.
As you begin to embark on your journey, you start in Kamiki Village, a town known to host the annual festival celebrating the death of the vile dragon serpent Orochi. Slain by the legendary wolf, Shiranui, and the swordsman Nagi, the dreaded Orochi was sealed away in a distant cave. Now, 100 years later the great dragon has been released and begins sucking the life out of all of Nippon.
An Embracing Japanese Experience
While playing as the silent protagonist Amaterasu, players will perform memorable quests and side quests, discover a vast array of Celestial Brush techniques, encounter tons of colorful characters and travel across breathtaking scenery, all presented in traditional ink wash style painting. With a heavy influence from the Legend of Zelda series, Okami became its own identity with the unique visuals, Japanese presentation and remarkable musical score.
The battle system found in Okami is a slight nod to classic hack ‘n’ slash mechanics, featuring groups of enemies – sometimes in waves – battling in an arena forming every time the player enters combat. Using a variety of weapons like rosary beads and fierce slashing swords, combo like fighting techniques and Celestial Brush abilities, players will find specific weaknesses for each type of enemy. A flying style of monster may be blown out of the sky with the wind technique, while a hard-shell turtle like enemy may be blown on its back by the explosive bomb skill. There are over 70 enemies all with their own weakness and attacks.
The beautiful story behind Amaterasu doesn’t only follow the majestic white wolf, but her traveling companion – the micro-sized wandering artist, Issun. Hitching a ride atop the fur of our beloved canine, Issun acts as the voice of our protagonist, as well as much of the comic relief in the game. Wanting to learn all of the ancient brushstrokes, Issun leads Amaterasu in the direction of different Celestial Brush techniques which are found in the stars among constellations of the gods.
The Re-releases Keep on Coming
The vibrant colors and lush environments brought out by the heavenly adventurer won the hearts of the gaming community everywhere. While remake after remake surfaces after every generation, the Okami fan base practically begged the creators for a sequel. While enhanced visual releases are great reminders of just how timeless this legendary title is, many of us crave more adventure, more brush techniques and gorgeously designed worlds from the water colored universe.
Though Okami has a deep following among the industry, and the original released garnered exceptional reviews, as well as IGN’s 2006 Game of the Year award, an Okami 2 was never released. After a Wii port of the original, fans and the gaming community presumed the motion controls of the innovating Nintendo console would have worked perfectly with the artistic Celestial Brush techniques. While the motion control adoption was more or less a flop (some may call it the worse way to experience the classic title ) a sequel seemed even less likely.
However, Okamiden released about four years later on the Nintendo DS, somewhat relieving the call for a sequel of the beloved classic. Utilizing the stylus, the Celestial Brush techniques return this time on touch screen, now used Chibiterasu – the celestial pup born form Amaterasu. Once again, reviving the lands back to their peaceful and beautiful self, most of Okamiden felt and played like the traditional action-adventure title released on the PS2.
Debuting on the Xbox One and PC
Being released strictly on Japanese gaming consoles throughout its now 11 year tenure, this December will mark the first time the Japanese classic will appear on the Microsoft brand of gaming systems. Coming to the Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC, the remaster of Okami HD will bring stunning 4K resolution to the current gen consoles.
Now the only question remains if/when fans will be able to take this gem on the go with a Switch release.
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