Okami HD

I have to push back the post I want to write about The Avengers movie until next time. I learned a piece of breaking news (at least breaking to me) yesterday. One of my favorite video games of all time is receiving an HD makeover for the Playstation 3.

That game is Okami.

The cover of the PS2 version of Okami. Image taken from neoseeker.com, owned by Capcom.

It was originally released in the U.S. in the latter part of 2006 for the PS2. In a post from a few years back, I named it the best game I’d played in the 2000s. It was critically acclaimed, but was a flop in sales making any hopes for more games in an Okami series slim. To make matters worse, the company that developed Okami, Clover Studios, closed its doors shortly after Okami‘s international release making any dreams of sequels, prequels, or continuations of the series even smaller. Perhaps luckily in some ways, and unluckily in others, Clover Studios was a subsidiary of Capcom, one of the largest and most successful game developing companies in the industry. Capcom owns all the rights to Okami, and has experimented a bit with the franchise. Not even 2 years after its original release, Capcom ported Okami to Nintendo’s Wii.

The cover of Okami for the Wii. Image taken from kotaku.com. Owned by Capcom.

They did some things right with the Wii version. There was a strange parchment-looking filter on the PS2 that made the visuals look grainy and blurry and muted the colors to an extent. It was still a gorgeous title on the PS2, but I didn’t realize how vivid the colors were until the filter effect was removed for the Wii. Unfortunately the controls suffered in the conversion. Controlling the Celestial Brush with the Wii Remote is a breeze. Combat, however, is a different story. Quite frequently I would swing the Wii Remote to no avail; Amaterasu wouldn’t respond to the input. The combat was never difficult on the PS2, but for the Wii it became arbitrarily so due to those unresponsive controls. Nevertheless, the enhanced visuals of the Wii version made it my platform of choice for playing Okami.

A mediocre sequel titled Okamiden came to Nintendo’s DS system in Spring 2011.

Okamiden for Nintendo DS. Image taken from gamerfront.com. Image owned by Capcom.

I’ll give credit where credit is due: the developers of Okamiden worked hard to get the project greenlighted and they did so out of love and respect for the original. But as I said before in a post from last summer, Okamiden is mostly a carbon copy of the original game in both terms of gameplay and story. The visuals were great for the DS, but they were definitely not what fans of Okami were hoping for in a sequel. Everyone who loves the original wanted the to see the series in HD.

Capcom is basically the George Lucas of the video game industry. They milk their games and series to such an extent that they alienate their fans and consumers. Now they are poised to deliver Okami in full 1080p later this year. I am annoyed that I will be purchasing Okami for the third time on the third system, but I will purchase it just the same. Why? Because it is set to be a “definitive version” should Capcom put the time and effort into making the port the best it can possibly be. It will feature better visuals than the Wii version while retaining the controls from the PS2 original. Oh, and remember Playstation Move? Yea, me neither, but Okami will be Move compatible for gamers who want to do more than push buttons. Maybe they can even iron out the control issues found on the Wii!

Here’s the promotional video: 

I hope that one day there will be a sequel to Okami worth more than a passing mention, but if that can’t happen I think I’ll manage as long as I can run through Shinshu and Ryoshima with Ammy in HD.

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