Meanwhile back at Golgotron headquarters…while the rest of the Golgotron crew was busy playingPokemon WhiteandBlack, I snuck away to play a different type of game. I picked upCapcom's adventure gameOkamidenfor theNintendo DS. Okamiden is a true sequel toOkamifrom theSony Playstation 2andNintendo Wii. The story picks up nine months after the end of Okami and takes place in the same environment. The original heroesAmaterasuandSusanohave moved on and their roles in this adventure have been replaced by their sonsChibiturasuandKuni. The similarities are many but is Okamiden different enough from the original to warrant a purchase?
Those of you that have played Okami are going to be right at home with Okamiden. Returning is the same fantastic, very Japanese art Okamiden's art is one of the best parts about the game. Its a very long game and having something pretty to look at made it that much better. The game looked pretty stretched out on theDSi XLso I switched over to theDSiwhere it turned out to be one of the best looking DS games that I have played. Okamiden takes place in the same world as Okami and evil has returned to overtake the landscape in much the same way as what happened in Okami. The difference is that an earthquake has rockedNippon(Japan for the rest of you gringos, and yes very ironic) and has changed things enough to make new puzzles and layouts for the levels.
The landscape isn't the only returning feature, as the play weapons, power ups, and characters are all familiar to players of Okami. You primarily control the wolf pup Chibiturasu and interact with many of the same non-playable characters from Okami as you are placed in the same home village. While you don't get to feed the animals like in Okami, you will collect praise orbs for performing good deeds to help you level up your life bar and your number of ink pots. The ink pots serve to fuel your primary tool in the game, theCelestial Brush. This brush does just about anything and everything for you in the game from puzzle solving to boss battling and attacking. This is where Okamiden make a strong change for the better to stand on its own merits from the original Okami game.
Because Okamiden is on the DS, the touch screen enabled hardware becomes the best thing since sliced bread. My biggest complaint about Okami for the Wii was that the controls for using the Celestial Brush had you point your Wiimote at the screen and draw what you needed. I don't think this needs to be said but this made for very frustrating moments when you needed something specific and precise to happen in the game. Those frustrating days are gone with the use of the touch screen on the DS. You can draw exactly what you need when you need it and do not find yourself having to cancel your attack and redraw it over again. For me, this made Okamiden much more enjoyable than the original game.
There were very few drawbacks or problem areas for me in Okamiden. The DS touch screen makes the use of the Celestial Brush work great but only having a d-pad makes controlling Chibiturasu difficult in some of the tighter levels in the game. It is not enough to be a deal breaker for the game but its about all I could find wrong with it. It might be easier to play Okamiden with the analog stick on the new Nintendo 3DS but I haven't had the chance to try it out. The only other issue for me was with the story of the actual game. The setting of the series takes place in ancient Japan but somehow computers and time travel make an appearance in the game. I won't go into any more detail on that part of the game so I don't spoil it for anyone. This is also not a deal breaker for the game but did have me confused for a little while.
The issues I had with the controls and story are very minor and I cannot help but recommend this game as a buy for any adventure game fan. If you enjoyed Okami you have an obligation to pick up Okamiden. Okamiden's story ends up filling in a lot of holes and answering a lot of questions left about the history of the Okami universe through the odd addition of time traveling. This makes Okamiden exactly what a sequel should be rather than existing as just another game in the Okami universe. You are also going to get your money's worth here as you could easily spend 30 hours playing through all of the main story and side stories. There is also replayability with the standard Capcom end game rating system to encourage you to go back and get a better rating than you did your first time through.
I predicted it before in a previous article and my theories were confirmed. Okamiden is a much better game than it's primary competition in the other twoZeldagames for the DS. Go out and buy this today!