15 Mar

If you took Okamiden for the Nintendo DS and removed the whimsical charm, impressive style, thought provoking bosses, supplanted the dialogue with mindless warbling, and just lowered the overall quality a few pegs than you would have an average Zelda game. If I could alter the past I’d say that most Zelda titles are sub-par Okami rip-offs. That said,  it looks like this beaming light which shines out of twin screens will be dimmed just as harshly as the amazing original.

Okamiden GameplayOkamiden takes place nine months after the end of the first game, and although I wholly recommend you play the first before you try this new adventure, the game manages to provide a decent synopsis before it begins. With Amaterasu out of action, the land of Nippon has enjoyed nine months of peace. But out of the earth comes another great darkness that shadows the land, which kinda sucks. Most heroes get at least a year of peace before everything turns gray again. You’d think Ammy coulda’ stuck around for a bit just to make sure everything was good. Still, with the world devoid of life and color the burden of heroism falls on the Amaterasu’s young pup, Chibitaratsu.

The game begins with you traveling back to the original village from the first game and will carry you through many of the original locations, which are lovingly recreated on the DS’s small screen. Might I say, this game is beautiful. The intricate sumi-e styling lends itself magnificently to the DS’s low poly count and creates quite possibly the most beautiful DS game to date. From the rolling vistas to the minute animations of characters, this game delivers ten-fold in the graphics department. The only downside to the vibrant colors and lush environment is the need for load zones and the occasional pop-in of foreground elements, which can be a tad annoying when you’re searching for barren trees or cursed zones to cure in a particularly large field. The effect is a tad disappointing but in no way keep you from constantly marveling at every little detail.

As much as I hate comparing this game to what every reviewer will, Okamiden follows a familiar Zeldesque progression. You move from dungeon to dungeon finding some treasure (in the form of a brush stroke) to aid in your fight against the inevitable boss. However, unlike Zelda, Okamiden manages to disguise its dungeons under meaningful tasks. Sometimes you’ll be saving a lost friend from a demon catfish and others you’ll be storming a haunted theater to get the lead actress on stage in time. No matter what you end up doing, you’ll always feel invested. The characters, the environments, and the world all carry such life that you will always be emotionally invested in the next task.

Many old characters play a part in the story.


Surprisingly for a 3D (the old kind, not the “innovation!” kind) adventure on the DS, the camera and battle system end up being incredibly intuitive and fun. Much like older Resident Evil titles, the camera moves from various set points. This sets up several elegant vistas and alleviates much of the strain that crops up when placing low powered 3D games on the DS. Additionally, the stylus lends itself flawlessly to the brush attacks that are required in many of the situations. Most of the time you can dodge around striking with standard attacks, but as you progress you will unlock brush strokes that you may utilize in battle. During any moment you can tap the left or right button to enter the drawing screen and swipe a straight line to slash, a circle to bloom or draw a bomb to blow your enemies to smithereens. While the enemies are fun, the bosses are where the combat shines. All the powerful demons are gigantic on the little DS screen and you’ll have to use your wits and powers to devise the enemies’ weakness.

When it’s all boiled down, Okamiden’s true allure is from its character and story. After I realized that I was going to be seeing a lot of familiar venues I felt disappointed, but as I traveled through the game I realized just how much I missed Nippon. Every person you meet is a fully developed character with goals and a personality. Within my first hours of playing I felt incredibly attached to every person I met. Moments intended to be emotional were just that, and the levity injected into each sequence really resonates in the world. If anything, Okamiden is worth playing just to feel the emotional attachment of a young boy and his dog.

Most surprising is the length of Okamiden. Not only is the main quest quite long but there are plenty of small extras to pick up along the way. Every area has a specific gathering quest that you’ll need all your powers to compete as well as a slew of trees and cursed zones to revive. Every time you complete one of these tasks you’ll get a little praise and by filling up your praise bar you will gain more ink and health.

The only places were Okamiden stumble is in its difficulty. You’ll never find yourself too challenged by any puzzle or enemy. Most instances revolve around drawing one of your many brush strokes to alter the environment or lead your partner to some far away switch. While the partner system is a great addition, I never found myself confused by the best way to direct my companion (who can fend for themselves so don’t get escort mission blues). For some, that may be a part of the allure but I could have wished for a little more challenge in the puzzles, dungeons and the combat.

Okamiden is a gem of a title. However, with its close proximity to both the 3DS release and that of Pokemon Black and White there is a good chance this may be the last Okami title we ever see. Okamiden has more heart than any other DS game out there. It is something I feel like everyone should experience and yet it may fall to the wayside never to be seen again. Although I admit some of its strongest points only show if you haven’t played the first (and why wouldn’t you Mr.Partoftheproblem) I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys fun. And if you don’t like fun, then stick it out to see what remake Nintendo gives you next year.

13 thoughts on “Okamiden Review”

  1. I loved the first Okami. I am not quite finished with it, but I put around 50 hours into it so far.

    I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this game to get that same experience. Capcom should have put this out sooner. I hate localization times, especially when it puts an awesome game in competition with a widely popular title and a new system release.

  2. Great review! I love Zelda…and thought Phantom Hourglass was so much fun, but disappointed after beating it so fast…I wanted more! Just got Pokemon White when it came out, but also ordered Okamiden because it perked my interest. I pretty much ditched Pokemon after starting up this game and can’t out it down! I was also thinking this game was too familiar, and thought right away to Zelda Phantom Hourglass! But this is much more delightful! I’ve never played Okami…now after playing Okamiden, I’m much more interested! I was looking for a DS game that was interesting and fun, and this game certainly fulfills my gaming needs! Plus, the artwork is gorgeous! I love the characters, and already miss the mermaid as my partner, and felt a little alone when Mutt lost his friend! Unfortunately, I feel like I’m suppose to be playing this in order, and feel a little lost. I keep thinking, “I know I’m forgetting something!”

    I broke down to look for any cheats on this game…and I see not much options. I’m stuck on the second big stage demon in the theater! I killed the first one just fine, but this other one is driving me nuts! I see there are yellow points that keep popping up on his body…but not sure what do with them. I tried using the flames and going in order connecting them, but nothing! Need help!

    1. Nevermind! Figured it out right after writing the above! I love the bosses! They’re so cool, great graphics and love the challenge! Can’t wait to see how the other bosses are like!

      1. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized how intricate each boss is. I’m glad you figured it out, usually you can get it as long as you keep a level head and examine the situation. Not to mention that, when in doubt, you probably need to use the slash ability.

  3. Okami was the best action adventure game period… it out zelda-ed zelda. I can’t wait to pick up Okamiden!

  4. I’d have to say that this is “Worth Renting.” They did nothing to streamline it at all–it would have been beneficial if they’d restricted all controls to the stylus ala Phantom Hourglass. As it is, it’s like they just crammed everything from the console versions into the DS version without much tweaking.

    It’s OK, and nothing more from a gameplay perspective, but Chibiterasu is so damned cute that I can’t help but enjoy it.

  5. Ya know, I love this idea…. I just hate the DS touch screen too much to really enjoy it… ah well. Not every game is for everyone.

  6. I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t finished Okami. I have it on the Wii and I just got this on the DS but I don’t want to play it until I finish Okami. *Sigh* to my huge gaming backlog

    1. I too have not finished the game. I am 25 hours in (on my second play) and still loving it, but man is it a long game.

  7. I do recommend finishing Okami before jumping in on this guy. As for the touch screen, I would be severely upset if they relocated all the controls to the touch screen. The DS’s touch screen simply isn’t good enough to carry that much responsibility. I literally think it is the last piece of technology that uses a stylus.

    1. This is my first time playing any Okami-type game, and it was really easy to understand what’s going on due to the well explained scenes, and flashbacks. But I could see why you should finish Okami first, and I’m definitely getting Okami for the Wii!

      I just finished Okamiden in 30 hours 56 minutes 13seconds, and loved every second of it!!! It left you with the notion that the sequel will be following soon. Also, the touch screen play on the DS is deeply appreciated after playing this game, especially for all those cool moves you eventually learn! I wish more DS games would take more advantage of the touch screen play as eloquently as this game!

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