|Release: March 15, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
Partners were also useful in battle. Susano's son flies off of Chibi to attack enemies from afar. A rather angry young actress throws fans off in all directions. Some partners have powers over elements that can be used to stun certain enemies, leaving them open for a solid beat down. It makes the standard combat—which was perhaps a bit dull in Okami—a little more interesting.
The side quests in Okamiden are much rarer than they were in its predecessor, which is to be expected since it's a handheld game. Still, there are quite a few hidden treasure chests to root out, which is a nice diversion. I love an excuse to explore every bit of the map. One thing that can make this difficult, however, is the camera. Since the shoulder buttons are used to freeze time so that players can use the Celestial Brush, the only way to control the camera is to hit the arrows on the map, located on the touch screen. It's not convenient. Most of the time the camera does a good job getting behind Chibi on its own, but there were a few times when its failure caused me to run into a baddie that I didn't feel like fighting. During combat, a time where it's essential to be able to see the things you want to see, camera problems are even worse.
The music in Okamiden is once again pleasant enough to listen to all day and appropriate for each environment. The sound effects work well (especially Chibi's adorable little bark), and although many found the computer-generated noises that were in place of voice acting in Okami to be annoying, I don't expect voice acting in a DS game.
One thing people complain about in Wii and DS games are the graphics. It's true—Nintendo sacrificed visual quality for innovation. Of course, the best way to combat this flaw is with more innovation. One of the best things about Okami and Okamiden is their style. Like Twilight Princess, these games manage to look just as impressive as any PS3/PSP game by wielding a beautiful artistic style that makes us wonder why we ever cared about realism. Capcom put the same effort into making Okamiden look like it was entirely painted by a master Japanese artist as they did in Okami, plus it's more adorable with all the baby animals. This style carries over into the writing, which maintains the same Japanese humor and dynamic characters. The plot is of course still steeped in ancient Japanese lore, giving it a level of depth that many games lack. Okamiden, like its parent, is full of charm.
I would love to give Okamiden a "must buy" score, but I can't tell anyone that they have to buy a game if they can go out and buy one that's essentially the same, only better. However if you have a DS and enjoyed Okami, Okamiden would be a great addition to your collection. It will provide you with many hours of genuine fun, which can be hard to find in a handheld game. I highly recommend that DS owners play Okamiden. That is, if you can tear yourself away from your new Pokémon game.
CCC Freelance Writer