Okami was a game that redefined what video games are all about – storytelling. The beauty and art behind Okami was like nothing we had ever seen before, and even now Okami is the subject of great discussion on the fact that video games are an artistic medium.
Okamiden, however, is the sequel to the critically acclaimed Okami. This sequel is set to perform on the Nintendo DS, and surprisingly the art style stands well on the hand held system. With the stylus controls a big plus to the title, it fits very well with the DS.
Simply, Okamiden is Okami shrunk down for the DS. Capcom seems to have found a way to package the full Okami experience on a smaller device, and this is amazing in and of itself. The graphics have been somewhat trimmed, but the reduction is not as noticeable as you expect. Some examples of this include less flower particles when running, when using the bloom miracle to make trees flower there are far fewer petals and other effects accompanying the feature, and the patches of grass being smaller and less detailed than in the original game. With that said, though, here are some things to think about: the game is on a smaller, less complicated system, and the title has a different control scheme which needed to be expanded upon. Honestly, for fans of the art style and storyline of the original Okami, this is in no way a deal breaker.
The story takes place after the original Okami title. In this new game we are behind the wheel of Ameterasu’s puppy son, Chibiterasu (I know! I giggled a bit, too!). In the game exist descendants of other Okami characters, including Susano’s son, Kuni who happens to be your first partner in the game. Chibiterasu appears as a cuter, more compact version of his mother, whereas Kuni is the same for his father.
In game these partners ride on Chibiterasu’s back and assist with puzzle-solving and combat. One of the first miracles that you get to control allows you to send your partner on a controlled path, allowing them to cross bridges that Chibiterasu cannot yet cross. Other miracles like bloom and cut make a return to the series. They are given to the character for use in most the same way that they were used in Okami, with the player having to sketch around a constellation before a celestial God makes an appearance. Just like with everything else in the game, this time the player is in the presence of the Gods’ chibi (which means small) children who grant the new ability. I can see a lot of people picking this up, constantly becoming all “Squee!” at all the game’s cuteness, which is an awesome quality for the title to have.
Speaking of miracles, casting in this game are much more accurate and user-friendly this time around, all thanks to the stylus. This is why I believe that the title will work well on the DS. Compared to the analog stick, and even the Wii’s motion controls, it feels like drawing is much less uncoordinated and wrong with this title. Introducing the stylus also makes the player feel more a part of the game. It is as if your hand is actually creating miracles in this beautiful world which we all want to be a part of.
The game starts off in a very familiar place, that being the tree spirit’s clearing up above Kimiki Village. A lot of the classic locales, along with completely new ones, will make appearances in the new title. The game shows promise to be a lengthy adventure, which we all love, although it will be slightly shorter than the original Okami.
Okamiden looks to be a very fulfilling sequel. With a new system fueling its engine the game shows promise of taking off, which I hope it does. If the title takes off like I expect we could possibly see another sequel on HD consoles, and I know we all would love seeing this art style in HD.
Okamiden is set to release in March 2011 for the Nintendo DS. Be sure to reserve your copy as soon as you can – I am sure you won’t regret it. Just to tickle your fancy, check out the trailer below.