First Impression: Okami HD (PSN)
Lying in bed kind of drunk to the max this morning, old lottery tickets strewn about my blanket like decaying kelp on the ocean's tide, I realized that I need to focus on having more variety in video games in my life.
Since the untimely death of my Wii console, I am down to a measly stack of two video games to currently play: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Far Cry 3. Both are known for their replay value but it doesn't take long to burn out on shooting games. Then, like the brilliant rays of the sun after a storm, the memory of an adventure game starring a paint brush wielding Goddess-wolf named Amaterasu beckoned for my graces.
Enter Okami HD. I have purchased this gem of gaming history on the PSN store for less than a three topping medium pizza plus a two liter coke and I was ready to play after a relatively painless installation process. First released on the PlayStation 2 as Okami in 2006, Okami caught my eye at the time but I never got around to actually playing it. Then, in 2012, the creation of a remastered, HD version left me no more excuses. Now after two or so hours of gameplay, I am able to report two things.
1. Dear Zelda
A love letter to the Zelda series of adventure games, Okami plays dress up in unexpected, stylish art. You'll excuse the cliche of me comparing the two franchises (Yes, franchises. You know about Zelda, but there is also an Okami title on the Nintendo DS. Unfortunately, I cannot speak to its worthiness as my Nintendo DS has too met an unsavory death) once you take a look at the screens and the video included in this post.
Okami HD is visually righteous to the max, and everything from the way the menu opening to the game itself is drenched in beautiful ink-art style graphics. This game knows its style is different and never ceases its visual flair and for a game that came out only one year after the amazing Shadow of the Colossus, its downright impressive.
But you know what's not so impressive?
2. Isuun. The Worst Sidekick To The Max
Video games tend to use the first few minutes of gameplay as tutorial period to help you learn the rules of the world. Some games, like Portal, turns this into a masterful art by unobtrusively teaching the player the lay the land through passive means.
Okami, on the other hand, incessantly nags you about things via slowly scrolling text with no option to speed up nor to bypass them completely. The shortsighted inclusion of Issun, a Navi from Ocarina of Time esque character in Okami, as a teaching tool is major pain in the ass. Instead of leaving the player free to explore this new, visually stunning world as his or her own pace, we have our ankles broken and are left hobbling about having to hear ridiculous babble speech whenever something new happens.
|Hi stupid gamer.|
Fine, Issun is an allusion to a Japanese myth and makes sense in the game world. Why not allow gamers the ability to skip through the chat bubbles, though? I've spent more time in my two hours dealing with how much this guy slows down the fun on top of the crisis of no auto save feature that I refuse to expand on due to my family's history of blood pressure health issues and my desire to live.
And to put the icing on this "You're stupid, gamer" cake, the game has the gall to repeat previously mentioned tips and item descriptions. So once you are having fun exploring and stabbing demons in half via paint brush, you are sometimes halted in tracks for Issun to pop up and tell you what you already know.
|SHUT. THE FUCK. UP.|
A problem that shouldn't exist, it is puzzling that Capcom could not have found a more elegant solution to in-game tutorials other than slowing the fun down to a snail's pace throughout the entire experience. This is going to be a long journey, dearest reader.
Enjoy The Trailer
Ultimately, there really isn't much else that I can say about Issun's role and the lack of an auto save feature that I refuse to talk about in attempts to stave off the impending stroke I am surely gunning for, so until I finish the full twenty hour or so story mode, enjoy this neat trailer to learn why the HD version is the one that you want to the max.
You can read the full-ish review by clicking here.