Ōkami had a 10th anniversary review from us a while back. During that, we made a complaint about how the title hadn’t received much commercial acclaim. It hit the gaming shelves in 2006 on the PS2 – a special project by Capcom subsidiary Clover Studios, looked and played every bit the part… but was a commercial flop. Numerous re-released later and it’s found itself on the Nintendo Switch. Hooray!
Ōkami is out on the Xbox One and PS4 too, in case you don’t own a Switch, but its arrival on Nintendo’s console completes a trilogy of updating for the modern generation. Previously, Capcom had shifted it over to the Wii, PS3, PC, and the 3DS. Clover Studios has since shut down, but Capcom seems hell bent on turning the established classic into a commercial hit.
With its sensational artistic style and deep and involving story, it’s certainly a title to be proud of. With its values deeply embedded in Japanese lore, the graphical style is reminiscent of watercolours and woodcut, cel-shaded type environment. That grabs your attention first, but within there lies a game of excellent depth and innovation.
You take control of Amaterasu, a deity in Japanese myth, in the form of a white wolf. With what’s known as the celestial brush, you then do battle, complete tasks, and solve puzzles with brushstrokes from the item. Why? There’s this nutcase dragon called Orochi on the loose, so you have to get its dangerous rampage in order.
It’s an action-adventure game that obviously took inspiration from the Zelda series. But it’s very much its own experience. The artistic style is matched by a stunning soundtrack. The story is engaging and interesting – the only downside here is you may get fed up of the endless reams of text. There’s a LOT of chatting in this game. The 20 minute opening sequence confirms what you’re in for.
Other elements haven’t aged overly well, either. The control system can be clunky, plus some of the set-pieces aren’t as enthralling as in 2006. But above everything this is a daring title that’s quite sensational to look at, sets its artistic stakes as high as possible, and delivers a classic experience that should wrap you up in its adventure.
The only notable downside with is release is, no, not how much it costs (a mere £15/$20 for a sweeping epic – no grumbles there). The problem is this thing takes up 9GB of space. Now, the Switch is a fantastic games console. But one of its weaknesses is the staggering lack of storage space, particularly in comparison to the PS4 and Xbox One.
You can purchase a SD memory card for the Switch of some 64GB of additional space. Great. But that thing will set you back £40/$50. So it’s far from an ideal situation that could have been sorted out if Capcom had provided a physical release of Ōkami in tandem with the digital version. Instead, it’s download only. Up yours, Capcom. Up yours.