Capcom’s Okami, directed by Hideki Kamiya (Bayonetta, Project P-100), is one of the best games ever released for the PlayStation 2 — maybe one of the best games ever, period. Sadly, almost no one played it. Unabashedly inspired by Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda series, Okami cast players as Amaterasu, the Japanese sun goddess, in a lengthy, lushly beautiful, mechanically inventive adventure that (in my opinion) was flat-out better than The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, which released at nearly the same time.
A muddled Wii port of Okami did little to bolster the game’s reputation, but now Kamiya’s masterpiece has another shot at gaining some long overdue popularity. Capcom is bringing an enhanced version of the game to PlayStation 3 later this Fall as Okami HD, complete with high definition graphics and widescreen support.
Okami was always a beautiful game. Originally released in 2006, just two months before the debut of PlayStation 3, Okami worked wonders with the aging PlayStation 2 hardware, largely thanks to the game’s singular visual style. Designed to look like sumi-e ink art (Japanese ink painting on rice paper or silk), Okami’s artwork played directly into the game’s mechanics via the Celestial Brush, which Amaterasu would use to dispatch enemies and interact with the environment, most memorably on the occasions when she would bring a withered, decimated landscape back to explosive, colorful life.
Beautiful though the game may have been on the PlayStation 2 in 2006, the updated visuals in Okami HD are incomparably better, especially in motion.
Rather than pursue a boxed retail release for Okami HD, Capcom will be making the game available exclusively on the PlayStation Network this Fall. At $19.99, Okami HD carries a higher price than similar projects (Beyond Good & Evil HD, for instance, costs half as much), but a lot has been added to the game for its PlayStation 3 debut, including PS3 Trophies and PlayStation Move support. Motion control for the Celestial Brush fared poorly in Okami’s Wii port — hopefully the high degree of precision afforded by Move will make things better this time around. Either way, traditional control with the Dual Shock 3 is supported, as well.
Along with Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and Beyond Good & Evil, Okami stands as work that marries artistic ambition to sublime game design, and fans of those games — to say nothing of Zelda aficionados — should jump at the chance to play Okami HD when it arrives this Fall. Personally, I can’t wait.
Ranters, did you play Okami back in 2006? What do you think of the upgraded visuals in Okami HD? What other lost classics from the PS2 era should get an HD overhaul? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Okami HD is due this Fall, exclusively for PS3.
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