on March 15, 2011
I realize I'm writing this review fairly soon, but I got my copy a few days ago at Gamestop and I wanted to put this up as soon as possible to sway potential fence-sitters. This is a great series, and I'm desperately hoping that with more attention capcom will pay it the attention it deserves. So I feel like it's my duty as a fan to get the message out about the game to get more people who might have been unsure to give it a try. I'm going to keep this as spoiler free as possible and focus on the game itself. :) I'm at the last boss of the game right now, so I'm far enough to make a fair judgment on the game and its mechanics.
To start, let me say that this game is not without its flaws. However, it plays beautifully and I feel that it is a great sequel to the masterpiece that was the original Okami game. The celestial brush and the stylus combo of the DS work wonderfully together, and it really does feel like you're the one summoning the divine winds. Now, on to the positives:
-Fantastic storyline, but it's Okami so you have to expect that. There are enough twists and deep backstory to keep a player quite interested until the end and beyond.
-I cannot fully describe how adorable this game is. Chibiterasu is about the cutest thing since baby kittens rolling around in baby bunnies. There were points of the game where I just melted at the sheer adorableness of it all. Don't let that fool you though, the plot is anything but childlike.
-The visuals for a DS game are A+. They really put their all into make a functional, pretty, stylized game for the DS and I'm glad the DS got a good hurrah before the 3DS comes out. The sumi-e style artwork is back, and though it's much less detailed than the original game, it still works. The characters all generally look the same, the only thing you'll notice is that it's slightly less detailed and a little more pixely in some places, but meh.
-The celestial brush and the DS touchscreen just click. It's the perfect medium for a game like this. And can I just say that doing the inferno move on the DS is 50 times easier than trying to make an infinity symbol using the wii remote.
-Recognizable characters from the first game. This is a continuation of the story, so you get to see your favorites come back. It's hard not to spoil anything, but you will see characters you know and love continuing their stories.
-This game ties up a lot of the plot and explains a TON of things from the first game. You get to see things as they happen and you'll have a lot of, "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH! So that's why!" moments.
-Can I just mention the story again? It's too good not to mention twice. The game starts off fairly slow, but as you get further in and start visiting familiar locales from the first game, it gets surprisingly deep. There are multiple main characters teaming up with Chibiterasu, and you WILL get tied up in their backstories and storylines to the point of being anxious to see what happens next. There were a few times the game brought tears to my eyes, much like the first one. I'm honestly scared to watch the ending lest I bawl like a baby.
-The music is good. A lot of it was imported from the first game, which I will not complain about.
-Praise Amaterasu, they removed that stupid freakin' digging game. I will not miss you, you exercise in frustration you.
-More things to collect like Issun's masterpieces, history scrolls, etc. Collecting them is much easier than collecting the beads in the first game. I've managed to complete all the collections in my first playthrough and I'm far from a completionist.
-A new system with regards to the multiple partners you get. Each one has a special ability and most of the dungeons involve several puzzles revolving around them.
-A neat little sidequest involving recruiting villagers for a village that develops as you play.
This game is so, so good. I cannot emphasize this enough. There's too many positives to list here. However, I'll do my part as a reviewer and list the flaws as well, both for people to be prepared for the frustration and in the off chance a capcom employee reads this so they know what to fix in the next games. (lol I wish, right?)
-This game obviously pushes the limits of the DS hardware to the point where if too many things are going on onscreen, the game will visibly lag. It's not TOO terrible and does NOT inhibit the gameplay, but it was definitely noticeable.
-The game is very linear. For example, you cannot jump in bodies of water, and there are loading portals at every bend. There is much less free-form exploration, but it's still there. Just not to the extent that it was on the wii. However, you do lose a sense of that open space freedom that you got from running through the fields with Ammy in the first game.
-They chibi-ized almost everything except most of the main adult NPCs. Imagine my dismay to see the noble canine-warriors looking like stuffed animals. Hrm.
-There are so many more dungeons and boss fights. Thankfully the dungeons are short, but you will find yourself spending more time in them than you did exploring like in the original Okami. There are also on screen monsters (that don't port you into the fighting arena thing) that you bap with your reflector to kill while completing puzzles, a lot like zelda. I'm not sure if that is a pro or a con, but it is way different than the first game.
-They removed some of the celestial gods from the original Okami and added new ones. The new ones could be considered a pro, but I was a little sad to know they took out some of my favorites in favor of new skills that I found particularly gimmicky and blah. The old saying of, "Don't mess with a good thing" comes to mind, but I can totally understand if other people don't agree with me on this one. This flaw is mainly my own opinion as a fan.
-The puzzles with the partners got old after a while. They're a main focus of the game since a lot of the platforming is removed, so be prepared for it. This game is far more puzzle oriented than its parent title.
-The controls are not so great, I'm sad to say. Movement is slow and blocky due to the DS controls. You'll find yourself needing to turn quickly or whatever else and Chibiterasu is apparently just not a good acrobat. This does make things very frustrating at certain points, but it's certainly not a gamekiller.
-The few platforming areas in the game are frustrating due to the bad controls. It's hard to dodge or accurately jump to a platform if you can't move quickly enough thanks to the controlscheme.
-Combat is not so great either. It's hard to believe it's a step down from the previous game, but it is. The arena is much smaller, and a lot of times they stick 2 or 3 projectile wielding enemies in this small area with you. It's hard not to get hit, especially since you can't move or jump mid-swing. Thankfully they decreased the threshold of how much damage knocks down your damage rating at the end of the battle.
-Some of the bosses are absolutely maddening. They give you very little explanation as to what you need to do until usually about halfway into the boss fight, so you go into it blindly and hope for the best. Problem is, if you don't do the special gimmick of the fight when the boss is stunned, the boss heals. Almost all of the bosses heal in this game. Be prepared for that.
-They added an underwater sidescrolling section like the old Mario games where the screen automatically scrolls to the right. Why did they do this? I have no idea. It was my least favorite part of the game. TO top it off, they added a boss there as well. Salt in the wound.
-On one playthrough of the game I got enough praise to max out Chibi's health and ink pots. With this, and the fact that I got all the collectables, I have little reason to play through the game again. Thankfully I like the plot, so I will.
-Unfortunately there are a lot of plot retcons, holes, and inconsistences that anyone who paid attention to the first game are going to notice right of the freakin' bat. One in particular bothered me a lot, but I'll leave that to you guys to find out. I can't go into more detail without spoiling things.
-Since there are a lot of familiar aspects of the first game, you'll find yourself saying, "Really? Again?" more than a few times during the game.
-Anybody who hasn't played the first game probably isn't going to get the full enjoyment out of the game since it relies so heavily on plots and characters from Okami. It will give you backstory, but a lot of the joy comes in going, "So that's what happened to that character!" and seeing little nods and easter eggs from the first game popping up all over the place. It's still worth playing, but I'd highly recommend playing Okami first.
-Ink pots no longer automatically refill. You get used to this, but it still bugged me as I played through the game. Especially since, like Ammy, Chibi loses his powers if he uses all his inkpots. But unless you have an items to regain the ink, you stay that way since the ink pots don't refill.
Okay, whew. Don't let the amount of flaws fool you. I only listed as many as I could think of so that people would know. The fact of the matter is that the pros FAR outweigh the flaws. It should be obvious since despite the obnoxious platforming in some areas, I KEPT PLAYING because I wanted to see what happened next in the story.
If you are a fan of okami or heck, games with deeply interwoven storylines and fun mechanics, I HIGHLY recommend this game. I have not been able to put it down since I got it on Friday. What are you doing still reading this? GO PLAY THE GAME!
I'm not going to list all the pros and cons - that has been done very well already. So what I will say is this - as an average adult gamer, one who plays for a while an then loses interest for a while - I played Okamiden all the way through within a week. The story is INCREDIBLY well-written, and while the cut-scenes can occasionally seem a little long, I like that they can be skipped should you choose to do so. I love how the story actually explains quite a bit of what happened in Okami. And while the gameplay seems a bit simplistic at times, figuring out exactly how to fight each boss can be a bit tricky.
Overall, it's not often that I am affected by a video game, but there certainly a few tears shed at the end. Again, the story is perfect. I truly hope that this game sells well enough that a sequel will be considered. Okami was one of the best underrated games, and Okamiden is a terrific sequel.
on March 25, 2011
I played Okami when it came on the PS2. Okamiden is just a perfect successor. The first reason is that it sticks to the original Okami right down to the maps and layout. Which is a huge breath of nostalgia for anyone who has played Okami to say 'hey, I remember this,' or 'That's where this happened'. The storyline is well written, there are some typos and it does have its bouts of cliche but the humor is well placed to make anyone crack a smile and some parts choke me up to tears. Partners are well developed. The only character that bugged me was the main villain. He was the least developed, stereotypical character. Some of the Brush gods have their chibified kids, which was cute. The mouse made me 'awww'. They took out the cat, rabbit, ox, sheep (I wish they hadn't gotten rid of those three), and one of the monkeys. The lack of mini games were a disappointment to me. I really missed the digging game.
The side quests are a little tricky but a welcome challenge. Monsters are well based on Japanese myth The sumi-e art and music are as enchanting and nostalgic as the first. The only down sides is that the camera angle doesn't always adjust to the perspective you need. Okamiden can lag at times if there is a lot of activity going on, it doesn't slow down much, but it is just noticeable. Towards the end, it seems that the storyline seems to fall flat until the last bit where it brings a final few twists to bring it back up. Redoing all the boss battles at the end was just as annoying as it was in the first game. but other than that I still found it enjoyable, and cute, definitely cute.
on June 26, 2011
As a story of its own, Okamiden is brilliant. It works the DS to its fullest capacity (sometimes to the point of lagging, but not terribly), bringing out the best adventure you can get on a portable device (and probably one of the better games of any console). It's colorful and alternately cute, cool, maybe even creepy, with a distinctive art style, wonderful characters, an immersive world, and a dramatic story that is at once cute, endearing, dramatic, and heart-wrenching. It's hard not to feel attached to the world when the focus is on restoring its beauty and bringing happiness to all. But for all the cute animals and flower petals, this may not be a game for the faint of heart. If you love a good story (and beating up monsters), though, you ought to love Okamiden.
Speaking of monsters, I would like to highlight the boss battles. The boss designs are impressive, and their battles are fun and generally quite varied. They seem to have even more personality than the bosses in Okami, too. Getting to the final boss is a bit annoying, but those last scenes are worth it.
As a sequel (or spiritual successor, I guess) to Okami, it falls a little short. It's basically Okami, down to many characters, most of the places, and even revisiting the story of Orochi. It doesn't stray far from what Okami provided, which is probably a good thing for now. Without the original Clover team, getting too original with the new story could have taken away too much of the atmosphere and authenticity.
To be honest, playing Okamiden on the DS convinced me even more than Okami really is more at home on a big console. The Celestial Brush is fun and cool, wonderful to use with a stylus of course, but personally expressing the story, art and music as clearly as possible is most important to me. Okamiden has beautiful music (I bought the soundtrack!) but some of the songs are a little hard to listen to on the DS. I really miss that grand, sweeping feel of Okami, too, and I guess that's not entirely the point of Okamiden to begin with, but it's nice to be able to see more of the overworld and swing the camera around at a whim.
One of the little things that I just loved in Okami were the way the outlines and shadows shifted, and you could see it when you stood still--it just looked like the entire world was breathing, and it was magical. Also, I miss the more muted colors. Okamiden's brightness is fun, but the mineral colors of the grass and Holy Smoke etc. added to the ink-painting feel. (But also I'm sort of an art/music geek, so that's just me being picky. I have noticed the general populace seems to like vividness more.) Okamiden just doesn't have as much life in its graphics, but it mostly makes up for it with its own unique details, and the colors add their own beauty to many scenes.
I do love Okamiden. It felt a little like a stilted, claustrophobic Okami at first because of the small screen, limited graphics, "railed" camera, and how the overworld is divided into many smaller chunks, so you can't just sprint across vast expanses of land like Amaterasu. But with all its other virtues it grew on me, and as its own game it fits the DS very well and is incredible in its own right. And the story still got across (I cried at the end), and it still feels like its own fully fleshed-out universe. The attention payed to the dialogue of random characters in the street and such is great. And it is nice to be able to play it wherever now that there are two extra people in my house who like to watch the television a lot. I just hope that if there's another sequel, it's on a console.
As a sequel, I might give Okamiden three or four stars, because as a huge fan of the original game--its artistry and general vastness--it did feel pretty stilted. But objectively I have to give it five, and I would give it more if I could. As a DS game it is one of the best, and for those who haven't played the original it is a great way to enter the Okami world. The music, art, characters, monster designs, playability--they're all great. There are so many great moments in the game, and they really nailed Chibi's expressions. And there are some interesting sidequests--Yakushi Village is a very creative element. The only thing I would like to complete the package is another art book!
on April 14, 2011
This game is pretty good, and definately worth the $30 that I spent on it. It has really great graphics: Beautiful water-color like japanese style. The game is straight forward about what is needed to be done, and it is fairly easy, but I wouldn't recommend it for really young kids because some of the demon-enemies are kind of creepy. That bieng siad, it is really fun to play, and is along the lines of DragonQuest IX. The characters are cool, and the plot is holding my attention. The only thing that I could complain about is that the game is just a little too easy. I hope this review helps.
on April 24, 2011
First off, I don't really know who typically reads Amazon reviews. But if you're looking for in-depth info on a game, I highly suggest you google "IGN, review, Okamiden" and read that. Or "Gametrailers, video review, Okamiden" and watch their video review. I don't like to break down how a game plays, or what the mechanics are, or details of the story, etc. :)
I will say this though; this is one of the most stunningly beautiful DS games ever made. Considering the original game was for PS2 and Wii, crushing it down to the DS (much weaker hardware) is an achievement. Sure they use tricks like splitting up larger landmasses by "portals", but a whole world is here and that's impressive. And it's fully 3D with a smart camera, not like the DS Zelda games, with their top-down, technically 2D gameplay. It's very impressive technically, and artistically, the game's "Ukiyo-e" (I think that's the word) art style is still here, in full force. It's a beautiful game any way you look at it, and the main characters - all sons or daughters of characters from the first game - are adorable:)
The game is a meaty adventure as well, with tons of people to talk to, quests to go on, puzzles to solve, abilities to gain, and bosses to conquer. A package like this would be a must own on a console or a PC, but on a handheld, it should be treasured. It's seriously staggering how much content is piled into this DS cart. I thought no game would come close to being as impressive a package as Dragon Quest IX, but Capcom seemingly knows as much about the DS hardware as Level 5 does for that game. Or Nintendo themselves.
Oh, and of course, the touch screen is the IDEAL interface for the Okami series' signature "Celestial Brush" mechanic. Obviously. It's hard to go back to the also-excellent Wii game after this, to be honest.
If you want a great DS game, just buy Okamiden. There's nothing here that a gamer won't love. Visually, it's stunning. Musically, it's beautiful. And the epic adventure you go on has a great story, and strong gameplay. Pokemon and Monster Tale are also great, but technically, they're nothing compared to what Okamiden is making the DS hardware do. THIS is easily Game of the Year for the DS currently, and I can't imagine anything dethroning it now that the 3DS is out.
on March 28, 2012
The Good: Beautiful visuals, charming story and characters, brush strokes are perfect on the touch screen, long adventure will keep you busy, epic boss fights
The Bad: Lots of slowdown, copies too much from Okami, feels long-winded towards the end, easy puzzles
Pork Chop, Mutt, Pooch, Squiddy, Dude, Boy, and every other name but Chibiterasu does our poor little hero have to be called throughout his journey. You play as Amaterasu's son in this true sequel to the hit classic Okami for PS2. There was a lot of speculation that the game would be dumbed down or just feature mini-games, but we get a full-fledged 20 hour adventure on par to the first game. You wander around the world of Nippon (Japan) trying to stop an evil spirit named Akuro from bringing the world into darkness. Along the way you meet 5 children that become your partners and help you learn new brush techniques.
The game feels like it suits the DS better than the PS2 thanks to the touch screen. The game is also almost exactly like Okami in a way so we get a console experience on a handheld and that's rare for the DS. This also becomes a major problem because it is too similar to Okami to become truly unique which is what prevents it from a higher score (or Editor's Choice). The combat is similar to Okami in that you are trapped in a giant circle and you fight that way. Instead of adding new things to the combat or re-inventing it you fight just like Okami. Using your weapon and brush technique you whack away, but each enemy needs a strategy because they have elemental powers, or some are immune unless stunned. The enemies are unique, but the combat lacks any change and vets will feel the combat isn't as fun the second time around and you will avoid it as much as possible. Boss fights are really epic and each use the brush techniques in a unique way just like Okami did. These are some of the best parts of the game.
Puzzles were a big thing in Okami using the Celestial Brush, but this time around they feel easy and lack any real challenge. Guiding your partner across a gap to fetch something isn't very hard. Even just using a brush technique to open a door or find a way out isn't exactly challenging either, but they feel Zelda like so fans of that series will like this. Even though each dungeon offers new brush techniques and new elemental powers, they are used in the same mundane way throughout the whole game, but they are easy so you don't have to expect frustration.
Outside of combat and solving puzzles the exploring of the world is a little mundane as well. Finding secrets was big in Okami, but it just feels tiresome here because there is no big pay off for finding all secrets, or even finding any that are used as cash at shops or just items. I wanted to find a super powerful weapon, maybe a hidden brush technique, but instead we just get normal stuff. I really wish there was more to whole game then just finding your way to the next dungeon, but there are side quests for people who are into that. You don't get anything but praise which levels you up which in turn gives you more life and ink pots. Everything that you did in Okami can give you praise here, but nothing new added yet again.
Besides this the controls are tight with the shoulder buttons acting as the brush ability which brings a snapshot of the top screen to the bottom. Brush strokes feel natural using the touch screen, but some times if the camera is off the stroke won't register or will do a different one which left me frustrated a few times. Using the D-pad to control Chibi is a bit rough because it is so small (using the 3DS circle pad is a life saver), but overall the controls work well. I did find the map completely useless because it is either too big or too small and there's no way to zoom around on it. I also found myself completely lost on where to go due to a lack of some sort of quest log or journal.
The best part about Okamiden is the unique art style that Okami brought to gamers, and despite the DS's ancient hardware it sucks every bit of power to pull this off. This results in some serious slow down quite often, but the game looks great. My last complaint would be that the game is long-winded towards the end and isn't suited for portable play. Save points are spread too far apart and it feels like a console game even on this. 20 hours is also a bit long for a handheld, but in turn we get a wonderfully crafted story with a lot detail and characters you really care for.
Okamiden does a lot right by bringing the unique experience of Okami to the DS with console quality style, but in turn doesn't do enough things that are new to make it as amazing, or as unique, as the original was. Everybody who owns a DS should play this game because it is one of the best on the little system. Even with ancient hardware Okamiden shows us exactly what this system was built for.
on July 25, 2011
I have played Okami port for the Wii and I loved it. That's probably the most important reason for why I bought Okamiden.
But don't worry! Although the game is an indirect sequel to Okami, it provides enough info of the previous game so that newcomers can enjoy themselves in this game, but only people who play both games may truly understand all the details of the game's plot.
I haven't finished the game yet, but I've played so far 12h on it and I'd say I would need more 4h to finish it. I like to collect every single thing in this type of games, therefore, if you storm the game, you'd likely spend less time to finish it.
Just like the previous game, the game interface is centered on the use of the Celestial Brush, a skill that you, as Chibiterasu (son of Okami's main character Amaterasu), will learn to master as the game progresses, by acquiring more and more skills: from guiding your partner to directing thunder as you please.
One huge difference between the two games is that, while on both you always have a partner, in Okami, your partner was pretty useless (besides reading the road signs, commenting on key locations and making funny comments), in Okamiden, you cycle through a pool of different partners (which you will learn to control) with different abilities which will be required for you to progress the game.
The story itself is a classic good vs evil plot, but with a lot of twists, both happy and sad. The story starts in an epic proportion, but in the middle it kind of loses a bit of its polish, as in the beginning you are cleansing out the world from evil and eventually, you pause on that plot and do a bit of mundane tasks. Not that I'm saying that they are not bad/boring, it's just that after a while you just want to go back to the main plot to see how it ends up. BUT in the end it grabs again that epic feeling and the game finishes in the same epicness.
The game graphics are inspired on the classic Japanese paintings which can be clearly visible on the game. And many locations from Okami are revisited, but always with something different. But one thing that I did not like on this game is that it is a bit "claustrophobic"... In Okami there are several "overworlds" in which you can explore without any restrictions, but in Okamiden, the overworlds have been cut down, making the otherwise huge overworlds seem fragmented. There is no loading time between the different areas, but when you leave an area it blacks out the screen for a couple of seconds. It may not seem much, but it can start to be annoying to have that pause every single time you change area.
Overall, it is a proper game and it is worthy of being the successor of Okami. And if you played Okami and enjoyed it, then please stop reading and order the game right away. For those who don't like the adventure/explore type of games (Zelda, Okami,...) this game won't probably change your mind, but the use of the touchscreen as the Celestial Brush canvas is a very nice idea, worthy of at least being tried out.
on August 5, 2011
In order to properly examine the title, you have to keep in mind that it is for Nintendo DS. Thus it has very limited resources to work with when making the game. This in mind, Okami Den is a very good game. It makes good use of the DS's hardware and is, overall, very entertaining.
Sound: The music and sound effects are easily comparable to the original Okami.
Control: Although the D-pad feels a bit cluncky for movement, it isn't bad enough to detract from the gameplay.
Graphics: The style is the same as the original, however they had to use somewhat simpler animations at times with a little less detail so that the DS doesn't have any issues.
Gameplay: Mostly just as fun as the original. The stylus moves (especially the new ones) were well thought out. Although the game doesn't afford you the same large-scale sense of freedom as Okami, They still kept it large enough that it doesn't feel too linear.
Story/Characters: Without spoiling anything, I would say if you loved the original Okami, you'll like this one.
So overall, if you can look past the DS's limitations and you enjoyed Okami, I strongly recommend it.
(also, even though there are references to the original, playing Okami is not a prerequisite for Okami Den, but it does help)
on May 17, 2011
The game is a bit slower-paced than the original, but I don't mean because of the story progression. Literally, Chibiterasu runs slower than Amaterasu, and never seems to speed up. Sometimes it feels a little roundabout.
Other than that, the story picks up beautifully after the 1st game, and introduces new characters without too lengthy of a background explanation. Everything moves along smoothly, and is very reminiscent of the first game.
People who have played Okami will find that Okamiden has more or less the same battle system~ But the use of the DS touch screen makes drawing with celestial brushes much smoother. The graphics are beautiful and adorable, the music is relaxing, and the action is engaging.
If you liked Okami, there's no reason at all not to by this sequel. :)