Shortly after E3, Capcom dropped a nice little bombshell on its longtime fans, announcing that it was bringing a high-definition of fan favorite Okami to PlayStation 3 for digital download later this fall, for a price of $19.99. A lot of people were thrilled with the news, but curious as to when the company would unveil the title publicly for the first time. While many expected the Penny Arcade Expo Prime in Seattle to be the ideal place, Capcom opted for a more surprising turnout this past week at the Comic-Con International event in San Diego. We stopped by to check out Amaterasu in action.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the story, the game puts you in control of a spirit wolf, guided by a miniature artist named Issun, as you try to beat a warlord who has been inadvertently resurrected into this world. The task won’t be easy, as the evil spirit is plaguing the land with nasty creatures and other infectious behavior, but using the power of the Celestial Brush, Amaterasu is ready to make things right.
The first thing we noticed with the game’s demo is how strikingly gorgeous the game’s visuals are. Put together by a team including the likes of Takeyasu Sawaki (who went on to make El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron) and Hideki Kamiya (who has since become a co-founder of Platinum Games, the team that’s working on Anarchy Reigns and Metal Gear Rising Revengeance), the game features a water-colored look that is divine, and still unmatched to this very day. The high definition treatment to the game has been very kind from what we’ve seen thus far, with more lush visuals bringing the game to life, along with smooth animations and excellent visual effects, making you feel like you’re really interacting with the world.
In addition, the opening movie has been redone as well, telling a more lavish side of the story with hand-drawn illustrations that guide you through the events that have happened so far. Just a quick word of advice – you don’t really want to skip your way through this sequence, not without watching it at least once.
But where PlayStation 3 fans will be thrilled with this version of the game is with the controls. Okami HD supports both a regular Dual Shock 3 controller as well as the PlayStation Move. As you might expect, PS Move controls work similarly to the Wii set-up, only without so much reliance on waggling. We found the movement of Amaterasu to be handled with great care, so you never actually feel any looseness that could cost you some life when fighting against enemies. The regular controls look like they work just fine as well, especially when it comes to the combat.
But obviously, the big question here is how the Celestial Brush plays into the control set-up. Well, as you might expect, you use your controller – Move or Dual Shock – to guide the brush, pressing down a button when you’re ready to draw your figure. You have to make sure the subject you’re putting together is relevant to what’s being requested, so that it actually has an effect on the world. For instance, one section of the game requires you to draw a sword to complete a statue, so you enter the Celestial drawing space, insert a line where the sword should be, and it generates. You’ll also draw a sun in another stage, drawing a circle in a certain spot on the map so you can radiate the land in light.
The controls, again, work similarly to the Wii version, where you guide the brush with hand motions using the Move controller. If you’re using a Dual Shock 3 pad, however, you’ll find the controls evenly accurate when it comes to painting.
Though Capcom did only provide us with the one short demo from the game (it’s still got a bit of a ways to go before it arrives in a couple of months), we’re sure to see more of it at PAX Prime next month, as well as through additional videos and screenshots. One thing’s for sure – you can color us intrigued. Nice to have you back, Amaterasu!