So, as you probably know (by scrolling anywhere on my blog), Ōkami is one of, if not my single favourite game ever. I also consider it, on account of its art design, the best looking game of all-time - better looking than any game this generation has produced, despite the dated graphics.
So, naturally, an HD update should make it an even more beautiful most beautiful game ever. It should do, but I have a healthy scepticism when it comes to HD remakes. The ones I've played include:
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and ICO, which are fine, but they look a little weird, like they were obviously meant to be played on a CRT television. Seeing them in HD doesn't flatter them.
- No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise, which features broken Move controls, a rubbish new art style, and a wealth of exclusive technical issues.
- and Metal Gear Solid 3, which is pretty ace.
So I thought Ōkami HD had potential to be the best thing ever, but I figured there was a good chance it would let itself down in some way. Anyway, I've put a few hours into it, and it's completely blown away even my most optimistic expectations.
I literally can't find fault in this new version of Ōkami.
So I guess the first thing I have to talk about is the visuals. Here's my academic analysis: HOLY SHEEEEET IT LOOKS SO FUCKING GOOD!
Totally blown away by how good it looks, and I think that's saying a lot considering I already thought it was the best looking game ever. How much better than the best can it look? A LOT APPARENTLY!
Also, you paper-filter obsessives will be happy to know it's now offered in your choice of three intensities! I like "normal". The sky and water have that subtle papery texture to them... Fuck it looks so good! It all just looks so handcrafted and amazing!
Okay. Now controls. Here's where I was most sceptical. Because I liked the Wii controls and I think the Move is rubbish. I figured I'd just use the DualShock controls, and that's what I'm doing. But it's totally fine! This is Ōkami's original control scheme, from the PS2 version, and I'm liking it just fine. The Wii controls made the game faster, but there were a few little issues where you could tell it wasn't the game's original control scheme - like, for example, it was absurdly hard to cross monster's names off your list thingy when you were expected to make a perfectly horizontal line. Now there are no such problems. This is the way the game was originally meant to be played.
And I don't miss the motion controls in combat, nor the incredibly sensitive dodging ability which made it so whenever I scratched my ear holding the Nunchuk while loading a new room, it'd finish loading and I'd dodge back into the previous room and have to load two more times. (Speaking of loading, I'm pretty sure that's way way faster now...)
That said, I did try the Move controls (which was frustrating, because the two halves of the controller both lost their charge from disuse and needed to be charged separately, though I only have one charging cable <_<), and I was... really impressed! Except for I couldn't figure out how to draw thicker lines, drawing works perfectly with the Move's pointer controls. And as far as I could tell, there was no motion control at all - all that's still done with the buttons. Which is great, because the Move's motion control capabilities are shit-house as far as I've experienced, and the Wii version's waggle control was never its highlight.
Still... no fault of the developers, the button layout on the Move, I've come to realize, is a worthy addition to any list of reasons not to like the Move. It just doesn't feel good to press those little face buttons, and I'd sooner just stick with the DualShock.
Anyway, the Move controls are still a lot better than I was expecting, and if you're intent on using them, I don't strongly recommend against them! And besides, just the fact that the game offers both control methods, I'm pretty impressed with.
So, uh, if you haven't figured it out, I think this is the definitive version of the game. Easily. Despite my trepidation regarding HD updates. This is the best HD update I've experienced. And it couldn't have been for a more deserving game. I may find myself replaying through the entire 50+ hour thing, shortly - I'm that excited to own it. It feels less like playing a port of a videogame, and more like having my favourite movie - and incidentally the movie I think is the most visually stunning I've seen - be released on blu-ray and given a flawless transfer. I am awed by it. (speaking of: Lawrence of Arabia comes out on Blu-ray this week and is being called "a revelation and perhaps the definitive Blu-ray catalogue release, if not the format's finest presentation". :DDDD)
If you have a PS3, and haven't played Ōkami yet, you're in for a treat (and you WILL buy it, versteht ihr?). If you have played it before, and you liked it enough to buy it again for the sake of owning a more definitive version... you will not be disappointed.