Okamiden DS Review

Publisher – Capcom – Developer – Capcom– Genre – Action Adventure – Players – 1 – Age Rating – 12+ – Other console/handheld formats – N/A

Okamiden will leave Okami fans feeling nostalgic, the world is the same, some key characters return, and there’s even sections of the game that feel as if they were directly lifted from the overlooked and legendary original game, to the extent that on occasion it strays into remake territory.

This time around you take charge of Chibiterasu, the son of the original games’ wolf goddess Amateratsu. Chibi, as he’s most often known, is a cute wolf cub that is an immediately likeable little fellow as soon as you set your eyes on him.

The story is just as wordy as the first game and whilst it’s not always terribly interesting, the sense of humour prevalent throughout is wonderful. One example is the fact that Chibi is accompanied by different characters throughout, all of which give him their own unique name, with Chibi’s reaction to these monikers always being amusing dismay.

Okami was a game that was renowned as much for its beauty as anything else, so it was a bit disappointing up on hearing that Okamiden, its sequel, was heading to the much punier DS, where much of its loveliness would surely be lost, but it’s a far more authentic representation of the glorious visual style than was expected. The world isn’t as seamless and there’s some heavy framerate dips on occasion, but it’s still a graphically arresting game that is easily amongst the DS’s finest looking titles.

The DS and Okamiden go together beautifully from a control standpoint too. It unsurprisingly makes liberal use of the formats touch screen and, whilst on the PS2 and Wii versions of the original game, it could occasionally be tricky to draw certain shapes, the stylus of the DS results in it being a more pleasing and natural process.

Structurally, Okamiden is identical to its predecessor, so there’s a sizable world to explore and heading into new areas will often see you having to revitalize an area, resulting in a rewarding festival of colour. Over the course of the game, Chibi will pick up new abilities of which allows you to reach areas that were previously inaccessible to you. There’s plenty of dungeons too, of which rarely test you in a mental capacity, but are nonetheless well designed.

The combat is much the same as it was in Okami, so in short it’s enjoyable but could be better. It’s certainly shown off in its best light in the more demanding boss encounters, of which are just as epic and memorable as you’d expect from Capcom – a developer that has brought to us many fantastic boss encounters over the years.

Okamiden is once again set in the beautiful, occasionally ominous, land of Nippon and it’s largely all the same areas that were featured in Okami, though due to technical constraints, each area is split into small chunks. This to begin with offers a warm familiarly to fans, though as pleasant as the world often is, over time some will still get tired of not having many new areas to sniff around.

Bringing a fresh slant to the game however are the partner characters. These ride around on Chibi’s back, have their own unique ability and are incorporated into the puzzles in fairly predictable ways. Letting them off your back, also allows you to guide them simply by drawing a line from them to the intended area to areas that are inaccessible to Chibi. They’re a welcome addition that go some way to making the old feel relatively new, it certainly helps that they’re a likeable bunch.

The formula of Okami hasn’t been translated to the DS completely problem free and for some it will recall its forbear far too often, but it’s still an excellent shrunk down version, with visual splendour in abundance and a sizable world, with plenty in the way to do and for many that will be more than enough.