Playing video games was a huge part of my childhood, and has inspired many of my goals. So I thought it appropriate to add a gaming category – Ame Games – to my blog. In this post I shall be reviewing Okami HD, a glorious game by Clover Studios, originally created for Playstation 2 and Nintendo Wii. I had played the PS2 version years ago and loved it. Okami was re-released digitally for the Switch in August 2018, and social distancing has provided a perfect excuse to non-stop game. Read on for my thoughts!
This will be as spoiler-free as possible, so here goes! Basically you play the game as Amaterasu, the Japanese Sun Goddess, and most powerful of all Japanese deities. She takes the form of a white wolf, and along with the wandering artist, Issun, rescues areas of Japan infested by Imps, Oni (troll-like Japanese demons), Tengu (Japanese crow demons), and many more. She fights the darkness covering the lands, brought forth by Orochi – the terrible 8-headed dragon. With Issun’s help, she is able to utilize Celestial Brush Techniques given to her by the Zodiac Gods as they wish her godspeed (literally) in taking down her enemies.
Okami was already visually stunning way back in the PS2 days. Now in glorious high definition, every little detail can be discerned with acuity. The art is reminiscent of Japanese scrolls and brushwork, which is fitting given the theme of the game. The lines and colors are quite bold, and there aren’t many shadows/highlights. Despite that, the visuals don’t look flat at all, owing to the overall vibrance and contrast, as well as the various textures. Even though I’ve watched the trailer multiple times, I still get chills down my spine as the Sakura tree blossoms. It’s beautiful! Actually, I own the Okami artbook as it’s just so informative and nostalgic to flip through.
Oh the music! I can’t even say enough about it. Foreign instrumental music is a huge weakness of mine – especially Japanese music. It has an air of tranquility and elegance all its own. The music in Okami is perfectly matched to the settings and situations. Not to mention, the OST got me through many tough exam study sessions while I was in engineering school! So it also holds very fond memories hehe. By the way, I have to give a shout-out to the physical soundtrack as well. It consists of 5 discs and the packaging is lovely. Anyway, here are some of my favorite tracks from the game:
- Ryoshima Coast | ♫
- Dragon Palace | ♫
- Theme of the Celestials | ♫
- Fighting Waka | ♫
- Giant Monster in Wait | ♫
As I mentioned before, Amaterasu fights utilizing brushstroke techniques given to her by the Zodiac Gods. That’s right, you will be drawing on screen to generate a melee of attacks. On the Switch, you can move your Joy Con in the required motions. Personally, I use a standard controller because it’s more precise in my opinion. To each, their own! Of course, Ammy (her nickname bestowed upon her by Issun) uses weaponry as well. There are three types: rosary beads, glaives, and reflectors. You can equip two weapons at a time: your main and sub. My favorite main weapons are the rosary beads as they have great range, and I rotate between glaive and reflector as subs during battles depending on if I want more offense or defense, respectively. I wouldn’t say I’m the best at gaming in general, but I’m definitely honing my techniques. Another thing to mention is that there are some side quests and mini-games that are… difficult. If you’re a completionist like me, just note that it’s not so easy to get 100% haha.
Okami is one of my favorite games. It had provided so much inspiration for my drawings while in art school, as well as motivation while in engineering school. If you have a chance to play any game – I would recommend picking up Okami. Without giving away any spoilers, I will admit the ending made me cry. It is an intense and amazing journey which I am sure you will enjoy embarking on it, same as I.
I hope you enjoyed my first gaming post on the blog. Expect a variety of game reviews, merchandise unboxing, and general fangirling hehe. Please look forward to it!