Ōkami HD (by Capcom) - played on Nintendo Switch
Ōkami is a game that passed me by when it originally released on the PlayStation 2 in 2006. Developed by Clover Studio, Ōkami was an action adventure game with a distinct art style that was created by Devil May Cry and Bayonetta creator Hideki Kamiya. It was rereleased as a 'HD' version on the PS3 initially, and then on PS4, Xbox One, and now Nintendo Switch.
Playing the game for the first time it is the art style that stands out the most. The game is just beautiful. Inspired by classic Japanese paintings and the 'Sumi-e' style of heavy ink painting, the game exudes charm in its thick, inky black outlines and watercolour style painterly visuals. The final image quality is extremely clean thanks to high levels of anisotropic filtering to keep textures sharp at all angles, and effective anti aliasing to keep solid lines free of jagged edges (extremely necessary for such a smooth painterly look).
The gameplay consists of The Legend of Zelda style overworld exploration, dungeon exploration and combat, but instead of unlocking and using new items to progress you unlock new 'celestial brush' techniques. These techniques provide a novel way to interact with the environment by effectively pausing the game and painting into the world, this interaction validates the painterly visuals even further, providing a cohesiveness that makes the game feel highly original. These brush techniques can also be used in combat scenarios that play out in closed arenas on the field, allowing you to stun enemies and break defense.
At less than £16, Ōkami HD for the Switch is a steal, it deserves its place among the greats of video gaming and is something everybody should play, even some 12 years after it first released!
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