So I recently aquired and started playing Okamiden, the sequel to Okami, the infamous game that lets you paint the world to become a better place.
I am a HUGE fan of the original, and as such I just had to get Okamiden, no matter how bad Capcom would make it. And sadly, it doesn't feel like a new game. At all.
It's the same Nippon. That's cool, it's alright. I didn't expect a new world to explore, but they could at least have kept it exactly like the original game, but nooooo..little details are amiss, and I guess only I would notice that, given I've completed the first game like seven times in a row.
I'm 18 hours into the game, and it's almost at the end. It's sad, because I enjoy Nippon and the company of its denizens so much, I wish I could just pick up Chibi and hug him all day long.
Fixing the world, one Sakura at a time.
New stuff in Okamiden includes:
Partners - I really adore this solution to Chibi's limited powers. Your partners are actually useful, maybe except Nanami, but that's because she's a mermaid and prettier than me *jealous*
New brush strokes - Okay, Magnetism is useful for some of the new puzzles, but a Yin/Yang whale with two baby whales, one yin and one yang, doesn't make much sense. The Direct brush stroke really didn't need a God either, in my opinion. A bad excuse for a cute penguin God that doesn't really have any place in a Japanese Mythology inspired game. Honestly, Capcom.
New Demon items - See, Demon fangs weren't enough for Clover and Capcom in the original, they gave us three different items to collect this time. Demon hides, demon bones and demon livers. Hmm, okay, not too bad. But with three different items, what are you going to purchase with them? I'll get to that now.
Weapon upgrades - instead of five different levels of three kinds of weapons (Glaive, Reflector and Rosary beads) you can buy upgrades with the demon items you collect via Floral Finishers(Special brush strokes you finish enemies off with, depending on which enemy you're killing). Sounds simple enough, and it is. If the floral finishers were as simple to time as they were in Okami, it wouldn't be a hassle. You have new enemies to study (we did it before, we can do it again) and figure FF'ers for, and now you have to do math to figure out how many livers, bones or hides you need for a glaive upgrade or for your rosaries? Yes, I'm bad at math and I'm lazy enough to not want to warp from origin mirror to origin mirror between every Demon scroll I beat, just to check if I've got enough items for the upgrade I want.
Brush stroke upgrades - instead of chasing around Nippon in search for hidden shrines to throw your hard earned Yen into, you can now buy scrolls from a shaman in your 'home base' village for yen, which makes it easier and faster to get Inferno upgrade or Splash (formerly known as Deluge) as well as Cherry Bomb 2.
So, it's a sequel, so we should have a completely new plot. Right? Right??
We get the same plot, only in a smaller scale (at some points. Spoilers!) to fit Chibi's smaller-scale powers, and with slight tweaks here and there to fit the new story, centered on Chibi and his partners. It feels old fast, despite the new characters in Kuni and the other partners, having to run around Nippon, healing the land, making people happy, same old same old. I had hoped for something new and exciting, but I guess you can't ask for much when Okami got so bad sales on the PS2. Despite my massive fangirl heart, I have to face the facts that it's not as good a game as it seems to a fangirl, as it might not be one for newcomers to the universe. Which is a damn shame, because Capcom had all the things they need to make a great sequel, but instead they chose to make it for the DS, instead of, say, the PS3 (where I feel it belongs) or even the Wii. Sure, the touchscreen is good for brush strokes, but it feels forced on so many levels. The wonky controls, the fact that if you make too light strokes on the touchscreen, your stroke will fail, and the even bigger chance to fail a brush stroke, because the machine doesn't understand that you are indeed making a circle..around..that..stupid..SAKURA!
I've failed time and time again on the same damn tree, because my stroke wasn't a 'circle', even though I kept circling around the entire tree. It makes me rage so much, since it worked perfectly on the ps2 back in 2008, when I finally got Okami.
I can only hope that Okamiden sells enough to make a third game, or maybe a new Okamiden for a console, because this game has so many options of making a great game, and keeping a visually stunning and fantastic world alive, but the creators decided to halfway kill it before it was even released in the rest of the world.
But enough of the fangirl rage, on to the things that matter; the rating.
I'll give it a 7 for effort, but I will push it up to 7.5 because Chibi is so damn cute.