Okamiden (Hands-On) (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Adam Riley 17.08.2010 17

Review for Okamiden (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

When Capcom dissolved Clover Studio, the internal team behind releases such as Viewtiful Joe and God Hand, it was thought that the highly rated Okami from the PlayStation 2 would never be seen again. Therefore, imagine the extremely pleasing surprise when it was announced that a port would be heading to Wii! Unfortunately, though, the main paintbrush drawing mechanic was woefully translated to the Wii Remote’s motion system, tarnishing the overall experience considerably. Now Capcom has moved on from that and is hoping to remove the bad taste left in fans’ mouths by crafting a brand new entry for the DS, making strong use of touch-screen input. Cubed3 recently went hands-on with Okamiden to see how it is developing.

Having never had the chance to try the PlayStation 2 original, I was definitely eager to get some much needed catch-up time with the Wii port of Okami. Sadly, despite being told that it would be a much better experience than Nintendo’s own The Legend of Zelda series, the entire game was ruined right from the start thanks to awful implementation of the motion aspect of the Wii Remote. Therefore, rather than being able to truly sit down and absorb the beautiful visuals and potentially wondrous adventure, an imprecise control system crippled proceedings and consequently the game has been sat on my shelf for the past couple of years simply gathering dust; sat alongside the likes of the disappointing Baroque and the duo of Opoona and Dragon Quest Swords, which I unfortunately never had enough time to sink my teeth into properly.

This whole saga left me in two minds about the announcement of Okamiden for the Nintendo DS. Again people were shouting from the rooftops, ignoring the faulty Wii version, and once more proclaiming how Capcom was about to deliver yet another ‘Zelda-beater,’ this time besting the DS twosome of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. Even from my early play-test at Nintendo’s event, it looks as though this direct sequel could actually become one of the best releases on DS this year (in Japan at least, it won’t arrive in Europe and the US until 2011) and actually prove to be one of the strongest games on the platform, full stop.

Screenshot for Okamiden (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

What else could be expected from such a wealth of talent, though? After all, while Clover Studio is no longer at the helm, Capcom has enlisted experienced staff that previously worked on the likes of Onimusha 2, Ace Attorney Investigations: Mile Edgeworth. Even the scenario writer from Chunsoft’s 428: The World Doesn’t Change Even So - the Wii sound novel adventure that Famitsu scored a perfect 40/40 in 2008 - has been brought on-board to ensure Okamiden is as in-depth and faithful to the original classic as possible, so as to avoid disappointing fans that have patiently waited for this magical new journey. Starting as a mere internal demo from people in the company that loved the original so much, Okamiden was brought to DS thanks in part to it being the most popular system this generation, but also in order to take full advantage of the touch-screen for the game’s defining item; the Celestrial Brush.

Screenshot for Okamiden (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Whereas the Wii suffered from some awkward motion control, use of the stylus makes Okamiden an absolute dream to play. The game does indeed lift some elements from Nintendo’s portable The Legend of Zelda series, with paths being drawn out at times for characters to follow. The majority of the adventure, however, is very close to the first game, which will no doubt please fans immensely.

The story of Okamiden takes place three months after that of Okami, with the children of previous characters now taking centre stage as demons once again take over the land of Nippon. Rather than obtaining the help of the wolf-like Sun Goddess Amaterasu, Sakuya the Konohana Sprite summons Amaterasu’s child, Chibiterasu, for players to take control of. Whilst different in style, players of the original will find that many of the characteristics are actually extremely familiar, with the Celestrial Brush playing a major role in the adventure. This time round, though, focus is also placed on Chibiterasu’s partners who ride on his back, helping to compensate for the fact that the young animal is nowhere near as powerful as his parent. One of these has been revealed as being Nushi, the son of Susano and Kushi from Okami. Other familiar characters - Issun, Mr. and Mrs. Orange and Sakuya, for example - will also be making a return, as will certain locations.

Screenshot for Okamiden (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

In the demo version, players were able to become accustomed to using the Celestrial Brush with the stylus, freezing play temporarily by holding the shoulder buttons of the DS and then drawing shapes to solve puzzles (such as filling in missing bridges) and fight groups of enemies. The speed at which you draw on the touch-screen translates to the strength of the resultant attack power created. Having movement controlled using the face buttons while the touch-screen was reserved for the Celestrial Brush definitely made the experience feel as close to the PS2 version as possible. With so much similarity evident, the main highlight of the demo I played was definitely the inclusion of the new partners feature which is both a key aspect of the game and a brand new one.

Okamiden borrows heavily from the system used in The Legend of Zelda DS games, whereby one character remains stationary while the other is moved around by drawing a path on the touch-screen and watching as they subsequently follow that route automatically to flip switches, collect items or even attack certain far-off monsters. This ‘Guidance’ system was essential in the early stages of the demo when attempting to navigate areas that were too weak to support the weight of Chibiterasu, but were fine to support his partner.

Screenshot for Okamiden (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

All in all, my hands-on session with Okamiden has replaced the extremely bitter taste left in my mouth by Okami on Wii and replaced it with a much more pleasant one; suddenly Okamiden has risen considerably up my Most Wanted DS Games list. Unfortunately European and US gamers are going to be forced to wait until Spring 2011 before being able to sink their teeth into Capcom’s DS swansong, but without a doubt it looks like the wait will be more than worth it.

Developer

Capcom

Publisher

Capcom

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (11 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Darkflame (guest) 17.08.2010#1

¨Unfortunately, though, the main paintbrush drawing mechanic was woefully translated to the Wii Remote’s motion system, tarnishing the overall experience considerably.¨

Speak for yourself, I found it utterly the reverse. The perfectly accurate IR made doing the attacks far quicker to do, and thus made the whole game, if anything, too easy. (far too easy for the first 2/3rds...I never had to use a single item during a battle).
The only negative of the port I saw was the slight visual change. The PS2 one had a more ¨textured" look which was more pleasing.

If you really found the IR (which is what the paintbrush used) inaccurate, then I suggest you check your set up for alternative IR light sources (possibly from reflections), as (unlike the actual motion sensing), the Wiiś IR is pretty darn accurate.

Either way, looking forward to this game. Looks amazing for a DS game. (surprised they havnt been tempted to do a 3ds port)

Ama (guest) 17.08.2010#2

To be honest, I didn't like the Wii version anywhere near as much as the PS2 version, so hearing this is like that original but with lots of extra stuff included is great new to me!

Tried it at Comic Con and look forward to the release. Even got one of the Okamiden bracelets!

As for Okami on Wii, using the pointer instead of dual analog is faster and more responsive. Only twice did it go crazy on me and we're talking about a veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery long game here.

Interesting, because I have indeed heard mixed accounts about the Wii version. Personally it spoiled the whole thing, which really disappointed me since I had been swept in by all the hype.

Perhaps, as Darkflame suggests, it was something to do with interference...However, I don't and never have had any problems with other games. Whatever the case, I wasn't saying Okami is a bad game Smilie It's just I never had the chance to fully appreciate it due to my issues with the Wii controls Smilie

This DS game is fantastic from the early play-test I had with it!

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I'm at the last stretch of the first Okami, and I have to say that I've thoroughly enjoyed pretty much all the aspects of the game. I'm looking forward to Okamiden and the capabilities that the stylus controls will bring, as well as the other gameplay aspects.

As well as more oriental music~ =3

Okami played just fine for me on the Wii most of the time. Granted, I never played the PS2 version so I wouldn't know if parts of it were done better. There were only a handful of times I got a little frustrated with the paintbrush controls. A handful is too many, but it wasn't enough to ruin an otherwise great game for me. It's probably in my top 3 of Wii games.


Okamiden takes place only three months after the original? And Susanoo and Kushi already have a kid? I didn't think they got together until the near the end of Okami (and judging from how the characters treated each other early on, it didn't seem like there was any funny business happening earlier).

I'm probably have to pass on this game. Money's too tight to get many video games.

TAG: That American Guy

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18
DrNeroCF (guest) 18.08.2010#7

Yeah, why do you keep saying the paintbrush had anything to do with the motion controls? I thought only attack was motion, and the only game I've ever seen mess up the IR pointer was Red Steel (glitchy, not just sluggish).

DrNeroCF (guest) said:
Yeah, why do you keep saying the paintbrush had anything to do with the motion controls? I thought only attack was motion, and the only game I've ever seen mess up the IR pointer was Red Steel (glitchy, not just sluggish).

Sorry, my bad - IR pointer controls drove me nuts Smilie Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
fucking retard (guest) 18.08.2010#9

You didn't like the Wii version? It was vastly superior to the PS2 version, you're a terrible review and I hope I'll never stumble on another one of your reviews again.

fucking retard (guest) said:
You didn't like the Wii version? It was vastly superior to the PS2 version, you're a terrible review and I hope I'll never stumble on another one of your reviews again.

And you're a rude and disrespectful person. I hope I'll never have to stumble on another one of your posts again.

( Edited 18.08.2010 11:18 by Marzy )

Guest 18.08.2010#11

Oh shit, it's a -fucking- retard. Smilie
Let's all hope he uses connies or at least fires blanks. Smilie

Jim B (guest) 18.08.2010#12

Wow, some hot blooded people in here!! Seems there's a mix of those who loved the PS2 version more, those who preferred the Wii edition...and then the usual moron (there's always at least one that spoils a discussion isn't there?).

This looks like being one of the best DS games. I can't wait! Smilie

I got the ps2 version of Okami, although was thinking about switching to the wii one. Never went through with it, but I don't really mind. I never got into the Wii in general all that much, while I still consider ps2 being one of my favourite consoles. Thus keeping the ps2 version is just fine.
Looking forward to Okamiden though, it looks sooo adorable! I wanna hug the little critter and call it George! D:

AdamC3 (guest) 19.08.2010#14

Sheena said:
Looking forward to Okamiden though, it looks sooo adorable! I wanna hug the little critter and call it George! D:

Tell me about it, haha! I'm stunned at what Capcom has achieved on the DS. This is, I believe, the first time the company has attempted to really push the system graphically to the same extent Square Enix and Nintendo regularly do.

Let's just hope the sales at the end of the day are worthy of the risk taken.

I never played Okami in full, but of what I did manage to play, I enjoyed immensely.

I can't wait to play this. Perhaps I'll head after a Japanese version so that I can give the game a test run sooner than 2011.

First of all, welcome to the site! Always good to see new omers signing up Smilie

From what I played, it seemed quite simple enough to figure out what to do without reading the instructions, but I'd still be hesitant about getting this in Japanese since some of the quests later on could be quite in-depth and require more reading...

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Vermin (guest) 05.01.2011#17

I hate the Wii as a console in general. Nintendo got it right with the DS, but the Wii always has clunky controls. I like my controllers hand-shaped with two analog sticks, thanks! As such, the PS2 Okami is easily one of my favourite games, ever. Sure, drawing with the analog stick doesn't sound ideal, but it works really well.
Anyway aside from some story issues (Susano and Kushi never had children at the end of Okami, and mere months later a child of old enough to speak and fight? Riiiight) I'm looking forward to this so much. I find it hard to get excited over DS games (aside from Pokemon and Ace Attorney games, which hardly count!) but this is so cute! All I can hope is that it doesn't manage to pull a "358/2" and ruin one of my favourite games. (o_____o on that game)

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