San Diego Comic-Con doesn’t want for distractions – famous graphic novelists greet their fans, tables are lined with uber-limited-edition collectables, and cosplayers roam the halls by the thousands.
When I learned that Okami HD at their booth, all of those attractions quickly dropped in importance; I knew where my Comic-Con would kick off.
Mere seconds after the doors of the San Diego Convention Center opened for business, Capcom’s Tristan Corbett handed me a PlayStation Move controller and I beheld Japanese Sun Goddess-turned-canine Amaterasu in full HD glory for the first time.
Not all HD remakes are created equal, but Hexa Drive’s effort clearly isn’t just a soulless re-processing. With the PS3′s hardware muscle to play with, they’re working to improve draw distance and load times over the PS2 original. The cel-shaded visuals up-rez quite nicely, with the game’s iconic bold, black outline strokes popping off the HD display. All cutscenes have been fully recreated, and areas of the game that the team felt weren’t up to snuff were re-textured by hand.
Corbett informed me that this is the first HD remake that Capcom will release outside of Japan featuring full 1080p HD. That high-end resolution, coupled with the new 16:9 aspect ratio, helps Okami’s insane level of visual intricacy stand out significantly more than on the PS2. The game lavishes layers upon layers of effects: whilst approaching a seaside cave, I noticed violet mist pouring forth from a foul portal as wind visibly blows off the sea. Bold lines express the speed of dog deity at a canter, as vibrant flora spring forth from the soil underneath her life-giving paws.
The team even lets you play with filter effects in this version; opt for “Heavy,” and the sky appears to have been painted on a rough scroll, making things pop with a timeless storybook look. It may be cliché to say, but I can’t help but think that Okami HD is a more pure expression of the vision that Clover Studio had when they created the game in 2006.
Okami HD’s enhanced visuals only represent half of the new package. This PS3 exclusive also supports PlayStation Move controls, with a Navigation Controller. Those that struggled with the thumbstick when painting with Amaterasu’s Celestial Brush may find salvation in motion control – hold the T-button to bring up the canvas, then press the Move to deploy ink as you sketch with Ammy’s paint power. After a few tries, I was rejuvenating dying cherry blossoms with tight circles and power slashing through guarding enemies via a well-placed horizontal line. Of course, Dualshock 3 controls are supported, and the controls are just as you may remember.
I tried to sneak a peek at the PSN Trophy list, but Capcom had not yet implemented them into this build of Okami HD. Fortunately, Corbett promised to share the final Trophy list here on PlayStation.Blog, and it’s been confirmed that there will be a Platinum up for grabs.
Okami HD is coming exclusively to PSN this fall. Got any questions? We’ll aim to address them in a future post.