This is not an Okami HD review

Okami

There’s no questioning Okami’s credentials as one of the most strikingly beautiful games to have emerged this, or indeed last, century. Its unique look, based on classical Japanese watercolours and wood carvings, remains as appealing now as it was in 2006, so the HD version released today on PSN makes perfect sense. But we’re not going to review it.

The prospect of guiding Amaterasu around the world in 1080p is a tantalising prospect, but while the HD remix certainly isn’t a failure, it’s hard not to feel a sense of disappointment with the final result. Most textures remain low resolution, stretched across acres of space, and the close pop-in prevalent in the original remains here, which sees some objects and scenery emerge from nowhere just a few feet from your position.

http://youtu.be/JBQPRmOfTfo

More frustratingly, there’s a disconcerting blurring effect that makes the whole game look like you’re playing it in 3D without the glasses – an issue exacerbated by a struggling framerate when moving the camera quickly, and one that remains no matter which of the three HD filters you choose.

Other irritations from a bygone era include the inability to skip, or at the very least speed up text in, the game’s main cutscenes. And some of these are very long indeed. The port also brings trophy support, and optional Move support that apes the Wii version’s controls – though these remain an acquired taste.

At £15.99, it’s a fairly expensive proposition if you’ve already played through the original a couple of times. But for players who haven’t yet delved into the rich world of Okami, this is a brilliant opportunity to do so – and there’s certainly £15.99 worth of game here – even if the fresh lick of HD paint isn’t quite as crisp as you’d hope.

That aside, we’ve little to add to our original Okami review, published in E169 in 2006. It’s still remarkable, still “the game that just keeps on giving, new powers, new places, new people, new spectacle, and the same wondrous tide of colour and happiness washing out of the screen wherever you go and whatever you do, for dozens and dozens of hours.” If you haven’t played it before, you simply must. If you have, bear the above in mind before you take the plunge.