Ah, Okami…what can be said about you? Clover Studios’ game had awesome characters, awesome setting, awesome gameplay mechanics, awesome presentation, awesome critical acclaim…but not awesome sales. Okami joins the ranks of Psychonauts, EarthBound, and Beyond Good & Evil in the “Awesome Games That Did Not Sell Club.” After Capcom shut down Clover Studios and released a port of the PlayStation 2 version of the game to the Wii in 2008, they stated that Okami did not sell well because the system was in its last legs and about to be replaced by the PS3. A sequel to the game, Okamiden, was announced and later released in Japan in 2009 for the Nintendo DS, gaining positive feedback from the likes of Famitsu. Ironically, the sequel came to the US in the last days of the system, only twelve days before the release of the 3DS.
With Clover Studios closed, and none of the driving forces of the original team, does this pocket-sized pup adventure deliver a howl as grand as its mother’s, or is it all barks and no bite? Hit the jump to find out!
Okamiden // Platform: DS
Released in: March 15, 2011
Published by: Capcom
Developed by: Capcom
Retails for: $29.99
Okamiden’s story is hard to explain. It’s not a prequel, it’s not a remake, and it doesn’t feel like a sequel. That’s because the tale feels very much like a slightly changed version of the first game’s story. You play as Chibiterasu, child of the original game’s protagonist, the sun goddess Amaterasu. Being that Amaterasu appeared before humans in the form of a wolf, it only makes sense that Chibiterasu also shows up as such…an extremely cute wolf pup oh my god HOW CAN YOU NOT FALL IN LOVE WITH LITTLE CHIBI HE’S SO FREAKING CUTE!!!
*ahem* I apologize for that. Anyways; taking place nine months after the ending of Okami, the land of Nippon is once again shrouded by an intangible darkness, starting to spread demons, curses, and various sorts of monsters. Chibiterasu is then sent out to rid the land of evil with the help of his partner Kuni, the son of the great Susano, legend of Kamiki Village in the first game. Feels familiar? As stated, the story is nothing new, and more like a re-write of the 2006 game. So…is it like The Lion King 1½? Well, thank God no, but if you played the original game to the end, you’ll start feeling Déjà vu after the first three hours. If you’re a newcomer to the land of Nippon, then this won’t bother you much. Although I do have to point out for the player who got through the first game, you’ll be encountering a lot of…uh…well; I don’t know how to say it, so I’ll let Buzz Lightyear explain it to you.
You can blame it on the writing, or you can blame it on the fact that Hideki Kamiya was not asked to write the story for this one. Sure, a couple of the early plotholes are explained later in the game, but they are fixed in the laziest way possible, taking away interest in the story. Just like Metroid Other M did with solving all its plotholes with cloning. On a side note, Kuni, the supposed to be co-star of the game, is very much a re-hash of his father. I wish I could be more interested in him, but since you only have approximately 25% of the game to become attached to him, it’s really hard to give a crap about what happens to him. At least the climatic ending closes the 20+ hour story well and it leaves enough material for another sequel.
The game’s pace is executed nicely. Okamiden keeps the same formula that Okami borrowed from The Legend of Zelda. An overworld is yours to somewhat explore (not much to do though, since side-quests are not aplenty this time around) and eventually you’ll hit dungeons. Like in Zelda, you’ll explore every nook and cranny of it; solving puzzles, finding keys to doors, defeating demons to open doors, looking for treasure chests, and such. When in the field, it’s nice to see that there’s not much backtracking in this miniature version of Nippon and exploring around rewards you with treasure chests. Needless to say, exploring is encouraged in this game; but it will only get you so far. The side-quests that Okamiden has to offer do not reward you enough and they literally complete themselves as you go along. Fetch quests don’t make that task any more enjoyable, but they will give you considerable amounts of Praise and Tribute, which raises your maximum health and amounts of ink that you require to unleash the powers of Chibi’s trademark weapon, the Celestial Brush. After finishing the game, there’s not much to do but, in old Capcom fashion, you start a New Game + with all your previous health and weapon upgrades.
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