Even though Ōkami was not extremely popular upon its release back in 2006, it has since become a cult classic. I have been meaning to play the game for years, simply did not get a chance to, until recently. I finally got to play it when I purchased Ōkami HD for my Nintendo Switch. It is a beautifully done game, there were very few things I dislike about it.
The player plays as the lupine sun god Amaterasu. Amaterasu is resurrected by the spirit of the Konohana tree, Sakuya, after the unsealing of the dreaded beast Orochi. Sakuya begs Amaterasu to travel across Nippon to dispel the cursed zones that now cover the land and prevent dark forces from doing more harm. Unfortunately, Amaterasu is not at her full power; many of the divine brush stroke techniques that she possessed are scattered with their gods among constellations across the land. She sets off on her journey accompanied by the wandering artist Issun, who wishes to go with the god in order to learn the 13 divine brush strokes that Amaterasu once possessed. With the help of many interesting characters along the way, they must banish the dark forces that corrupt the land.
The art style of the game is absolutely stunning. While the art of the game is slightly cartoonish, it is still very obviously referencing a Japanese art style. There are images done in a more traditional Japanese art style throughout the game, particularly in cutscenes and the monster log that is accessed through the game’s menu. The music of the game is well done as well; it lends itself well to the experience.
One of the many things I enjoyed about this game is how saturated the game is with different types of lore. For example, Amaterasu is, in fact, the name of the Shinto sun goddess. Some other characters are direct links to tales and myths, such as Princess Kaguya. There are many monsters that are found in eastern myth and folklore that are scattered throughout the game as well. More parts with interesting lore are the gods of the brush. The 13 gods of the brush are a depiction of the eastern zodiac. For someone such as myself who has a great love of lore, these details simply make the game a better experience.
The story is nice, though I found it to not be overly complex. It is the very epitome of light vs. dark; after all, it has a sun god facing down forces of darkness. There are no grand betrayals from trusted characters or out of the blue plot twists. The story is safe, but still captivating. The parts of the story are broken up nicely and paced properly. The story never feels rushed or lagging. While some moments are serious or morose, there are many moments of the story that are filled with comedy. These comedic moments help break up some of the heavy material that does show up; the game does not pull punches when talking about things like character death. A diverse cast of complex characters help the story along immensely. The recurring characters you see are all different and enchanting in their own way. Even the characters you interact with briefly are dynamic enough that they don’t come across as flat.
The game does not have a difficulty scale. The monsters are set at a certain difficulty. I find the gameplay on the easy side, but I have been playing video games for several years and it is possible that has something to do with how easy I found it. The bosses can pack quite a punch, but once you figure out how to defeat them, they’re easy to take down. The game is filled with collectables and, while they can be nice to collect, some things can get a little bit tedious. The mini game challenges are fun for the most part; however, some of them are extremely finicky, thus making them hard to complete. The game is also very replayable. Many things transfer over to your new game once you have completed the game. This is a nice touch. Collectable items like the non elemental weapons and the stray beads stay in your inventory once you have collected them.
I really enjoy playing Ōkami HD. It is a game I would suggest for both the casual and serious gamer. The game really immerses you in its story and its characters and the artwork gives a beautiful atmosphere. I suspect this game will continue to be beloved for a long time to come.