Okami HD (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Shane Jury 22.08.2018

Review for Okami HD on Nintendo Switch

Okami was born from the brilliant creative minds of Clover Studios, once part of Japanese powerhouse developer Capcom, now the foundation of PlatinumGames. First shown in playable form at E3 2005, bringing with it a watercolour-like cel-shaded style in complete contrast to the photo-realistic version originally teased, the game garnered much interest despite its PlayStation 2 exclusivity at a time when new consoles were being brought to market. It was released to retail a year later, gathering a strong following, although sadly not the sales many thought it deserved. Mainly due to its paintbrush mechanic and Zelda-like foundations, the game would receive strong backing for a potential Wii version, and not long after the initial release a port from Ready at Dawn studios emerged. Since then, Okami has graced nearly every console, including the PlayStation 3, its successor, and the Xbox One. As of late, it has returned to Nintendo systems with a new lick of High Definition paint with Okami HD from Hexadrive Studios. Has time diluted the artwork, or does it still shine bright?

Okami HD begins with a lengthy cinematic detailing the history of Nippon, the game's hub world. 100 years previous to the starting point, there ruled an evil eight-headed demon named Orochi who once a year demanded a female sacrifice from the nearby Kamiki Village, in agreement that the village's other inhabitants would not be slaughtered. That year it was the love of Nagi, the strongest swordsman in the village, that was chosen, and he vowed to take down Orochi in order to save her. His efforts were admirable, but ultimately doomed to failure - until Shiranui, the wolf incarnation of a goddess, arrived to aid him. The battle was close, with Orochi being sealed away for a hundred years, while Shiranui passed away from mortal wounds. However, when Orochi is accidentally released, Sakura, a wood sprite and guardian of the village, resurrects Shiranui, now reborn as Amaterasu, from a statue built in the village as a mark of respect. Sakura commissions Issun, an inch-high artist, to accompany Amaterasu in her quest to restore Nippon's now-cursed lands, and defeat Orochi once more. This is a story that is easy to follow, yet takes many unexpected meanders to its conclusion, and surprisingly lengthy ones at that.

Screenshot for Okami HD on Nintendo Switch

Although the history of the game's narrative is told upon booting up initially, the most immediately striking aspect of Okami HD is undoubtedly its visuals; a gorgeous cel-shaded style that leaps off the screen be it in handheld mode or on the television screen. The beautiful imagery of Japanese culture is strong here, and the contrast between the dull cursed lands of Nippon and the vibrant restoration thereafter drive players onward. Adding to this is the sublime and wonderful score, themed from classical Japanese works, and moulded to the events and action perfectly. One area of contention would be the gibberish voice acting; whilst instilling a sense of character and personality to cut-scenes, dialogue can become bothersome in large doses. Luckily, there is an option that allows them to be switched off.

Screenshot for Okami HD on Nintendo Switch

Whilst the call for Okami on Nintendo Switch wasn't as strong as its Wii Remote-controlled forebear, the adventure does make superb use of the machine's unique properties. The strongest point of adoption would be the touch-screen use in handheld mode - an idea that fits like a glove in theory, yet does come with a slight concern. There is initial lag upon lifting a finger or stylus after drawing a shape that is not in any of the other input modes, which is likely to allow time to draw more lines for other tricks if need be, or give time to return hand grip to the side of the unit; a sensible adjustment but a briefly jarring one. The game does still allow for analogue stick drawing in any configuration, which is perfectly serviceable, if not as intuitive.

For docked and tabletop modes, Okami HD makes use of the Joy-Con gyroscopes, which can be altered in the options menu for sensitivity and primary left or right input device, although not for both sides at once, which makes using a Pro Controller for this functionality quite difficult. Using just the split Joy-Con, though, gives a far more responsive and visceral painting mechanic than analogue sticks could ever hope to match.

Screenshot for Okami HD on Nintendo Switch

Raising a comparison to any of the games in the Zelda series would no doubt bring expectations of a lengthy product, and Okami HD certainly does not disappoint. There is a good 40 hours of game to beat at the basic run-through level, and the number of dungeons, side-quests, and unlockables at the very end offer plenty to come back to. The size, in relation to overworlds, places to see, and areas to pass through, is immense, and each new area encountered will drive eagerness to see the next. Okami is strictly a single-player affair, but one that will ensure you enjoy every paw-step of the journey.

Okami HD does admittedly feel padded out at times, as many mini-games and boss fights are repeated numerous times with only minor differences, but the adventure still retains its charm and fun throughout. Issun as a helper rivals Navi in irritation at times, although he does develop as a character and comes into his own later on. With Okami arriving on the system, fans of classic Zelda outings wishing for something more linear on the system than Breath of the Wild, now have one of the very best options.

Screenshot for Okami HD on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Marking its first outing on a handheld device, Okami HD retains all of the elegance and charisma from even its non-HD days, packing it all into an epic adventure with a budget price and intuitive control inputs. There is a degree of repetition involved with certain battles and events, but even this takes little away from the tale that unfolds.






Action Adventure



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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


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