Friday, 10 August 2018 11:24

REVIEW: Ōkami HD (Nintendo Switch)

Written by StacefaceMayhem
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Boy, was I shocked when I was told in the office that Okami was coming to the Nintendo Switch because that is an old game in retrospect to the actual Switch. I didn’t want such a great game to look gaudy in 2018, since its initial release was all the way back in 2006 on the PS2. The shock turned to pure glee, when I discovered it was a high definition remaster deliver by Capcom.

In the small village of Kamiki, they live with the burdened of a fearsome beast. One night, during the annual sacrifice to sedate this creature, there appeared a white wolf. This wonderous, mythical wolf was named Shiranui. Using his powers of manipulating nature and the help of a warm spirited villager, Nagi, the beast was slain. Succumbing to his wounds, the wolf left this world to live a life in the eternal slumber, the people hoping never to relive these times again....

The story actually starts as you play the reincarnated, brethren of sorts, wolf, Okami Amaterasu and your bug sidekick and comical value, Issun. While he does talk way too much, Issun, along the way is actually really helpful as a tutorial guiding character, and probably one of the better followers I have seen in a game, I’m not looking at you Navi, you annoying pipsqueak. Gameplay follows a pretty linear plot, however there are the odd side quests scattered along the way. There is no dialogue, however missions are triggered through conversations with scrolled out text along the bottom very much like Banjo and Kazooie, irritating sounds and all. This game is very plot heavy, with a lot of dialogue, and I mean a lot. And while it gets off to a slow start, with literally 30 mins of backstory before you lay a hand on the controller to control the wick wolf, the wait is certainly worth it.

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Gameplay is your typical, action adventure game, with the wolf being able to sprint, jump, dodge, bite and even melee, the enemies of the surrounding villages. Often like most Asian titles, some RPG elements are thrown in with attacks, defence, power and health bars being able to be upgrades with praise earned by completing missions. The menu for this is bright, bold and encouraging and very easy to navigate. The celestrial paintbrush skill acts as an interesting mechanic, and breaks up the game flow, in a good way. This painting mini game, of sorts, which ingeniously utilised the touchscreen of the Nintendo Switch, enables you to add things to the environment to solve puzzles or to slice across the screen with your finger much like Fruit Ninja to land fatal blows on enemies. Even the rumble motion in the console all adds to the experience as you go in for the jugular.

Visually, the game is stunning on my 4K T.V. and in handheld mode, even at 30 FPS. This is the main difference between young and old when it comes to Okami. The HD version is so clean and crisp. The game’s art style is mesmerising with the clear influence of traditional Japanese art. The washed-out, watercolour like backgrounds contrast so well with the beautiful, bold linework and pops of vibrant colour, that I can’t imagine Okami looking any other way. It is just that effective. Even the animations have so much character to them. Small details such as a warrior called Susano riding on the back of Okami, arms flailing in the air or the birds scattering in the wolf’s presence, all add to that charm and bring a smile to your face.

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I do have a few minor gripes with the game though. One, technically, the other two are more with the utilisation of the Nintendo Switch. Firstly, the camera angles can be a bit of a pull and push fight. While not the worst game I have played with camera issues, even after playing with the settings I still found them very touchy, and often irritating to navigate around the character. Secondly, I would have liked to have seen the touchscreen used more interactively other than just with the celestial paintbrush and would have liked to have seen at least the menu as touch sensitive.

Lastly, after playing it on the big screen with the joy-cons, I can confidently say I still prefer to handheld or tabletop gameplay. I don’t enjoy the motion controls of most games, and with the drawing element, I preferred to be more accurate, because I’m a perfectionist like that.

Overall, I was shook on everything about this game, the energetic story, the visual beauty and even the addictive gameplay. Okami HD and the Nintendo Switch just feel like they go hand in hand. The game is so fluid, entertaining and dynamic on this console. Okami HD is definitely a game to add to your Nintendo Switch Library and fans of the game will enjoy this crisp new remaster on the go. This game is certainly one of my favourite ports of the year.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PC, PS4, XBOX ONE, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Clover Studio
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Genre: Action / Adventure