Returning To Okami HD On Switch And The Painted Majesty Of Nippon

Okami is a timeless classic in gaming. First coming into existence on PS2 in 2006, it was a sweeping character action-adventure game set in a beautiful realm of Japanese myth and lore. The game has seen a few different ports since then, from a 2008 Wii port that added motion-controlled painting to a 2012 HD remaster for PS3 and releases on current gen consoles at the end of last year. Now it’s charms have been brought to Switch once more, giving you yet another opportunity to enjoy this masterpiece.

Part of the timeless charm of Okami comes from it’s unique and breath-taking visuals. Inspired by traditional East Asian “sumi-e” Ink Wash paintings, everything in Okami is rendered in a thick, cell-shaded look that emulates that same style of traditional Japanese artwork. Characters, environments, and more all sport sharp lines and thick outlines that make them feel like they could truly only ever be from Okami.

It’s easy to make that kind of art style work on modern hardware, and the Nintendo Switch port knocks it out of the park in that regard. Every cutscene and every moment of gameplay looks sharp and crisp, and I never saw the framerate even think about dropping during my time with the game. For some, the inkblot filter effect the game uses might be a little distracting or overwhelming in some parts, but the game has options to decrease or increase the severity of the filter, much like the “movie-grain filter” settings from all your favorite 2010s video games.

That slickness and buttery-smooth performance carries over into the gameplay as well. Okami is a traditional action game in the vein of Devil May Cry or Darksiders. Your central character dishes out meaty, satisfying attack combos using main weapons and sub-weapons, and you’ll upgrade and enhance your abilities as you progress through the game. Clover Studios are the masters of satisfying action combat, and Okami is highly regarded as their masterpiece in that sense.

Okami is also well-known for it’s unique Celestial Brush system, which lets you pause the action and paint across the screen in order to alter the game world, or drop big attacks on your enemies. Every port of Okami has had a different way to use this brush system, and the Nintendo Switch port brings all those control options together in one package. You can use your left-stick to guide the brush, but you can also use Wii-style motion controls with detached Joy-Con to guide the brush. A new option is also available for handheld mode, which lets you use your finger on the touchscreen to control the Celestial Brush. Each of these options work flawlessly, and I found myself switching between them constantly, just because they were each fun and effective in their own ways.

Okami HD is a classic video game, and this Nintendo Switch port could be seen as the best way to experience it. From crisp visuals and flawless performance to the bevy of control options available, it’s a beast of a package. Combining all of that with the ultimate thrill of having Okami on the go thanks to the portability of the Switch, this is a no-brainer grab for anyone who calls themselves a fan of action-adventure games.

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I'm a writer, voice actor, and 3D artist living la vida loca in New York City. I'm into a pretty wide variety of games, and shows, and films, and music, and comics and anime. Anime and video games are my biggest vice, though, so feel free to talk to me about those. Bury me with my money.


  1. The draw distance on the PS4 version was bloody awful, chests and trees only appearing when you almost on top of them, clearly a throwback from the PS3 days that should have been fixed.

    • That was a realistic portrayal of the short-sightedness of wolves, Tuffcub. That’s why they rely on their noses so much ;P

  2. I’ve bounced off Okami every time I’ve tried to play it – maybe this will be the one!

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