The climate issues our world is facing are growing increasingly alarming and it’s easy to feel completely defeated by the amount of apathy and outright hostility that many governments and corporations are showing toward this now omnipresent threat. When kids skipping school may be the best chance we have at finally seeing significant change, it starts to seem like we’re living in troubled times. That’s why it’s the perfect climate for an Okami sequel.
If you’ve never played Clover Studio’s charming romp through Japanese folklore, you don’t know what you’re missing. While Okami ostensibly began as a Zelda clone, Clover’s little wolf that could eventually grow to encompass a journey that rivaled the best games in the series from which it took its clear inspiration.
Set in a world ravaged by a vicious dark curse, Okami is rife with analogies that fit the current state of our planet. At the outset of the game, the characters of Nippon are facing the repercussions of a long awaited 100 year anniversary. As the dreaded Orochi returns, doubters and believers alike are forced to face the same dreaded result: a land where nature itself is under threat, and the world is dying one piece at a time.
It’s a very depressing way to start a game, more Dark Souls than The Legend of Zelda. Luckily the world of Okami is filled with enough whimsy and levity that even this tone of encroaching doom can’t stop Nippon from feeling like a place worth living in and exploring.
In fact the game is filled with personality. The Japanese sumi-e and ukiyo-e style of the visuals, along with some cel-shading, give the game a look unlike anything else in the gaming world, even today. This delicate look jives perfectly with the source material, which was painstakingly translated in order to maintain an authentic facsimile of the original Japanese concepts and ideas at the heart of the game.
There’s a lot to love about a game with as unique a look and feel as Okami but if you ask most people what they remember most about the it they will undoubtedly tell you about the Celestial Brush. This technique offers the player, as sun god Okami Amaterasu, the ability to freeze the game and draw what she needs into her surroundings at a moment’s notice. Need to chop down a tree? Simply swipe a line and the tree will be rent in two. Have to replace a broken bridge? Just draw in the missing section and you’re ready to go. You get the idea.
The simplicity of the concept, and its huge variety of applications are what make the Celestial Brush so satisfying to use. It allows you to fix the world with just a stroke of your paintbrush. In a world this ravaged by pollution, and one so divided on what the solution should be, the idea of fixing things with something so simple and direct is incredibly cathartic.
That’s why now is the perfect time for an Okami sequel. With the world literally burning down around us, and everyone from your local politician to some dude on Twitter arguing about it, what better time for a wolf god with a paintbrush to sort things out for us. Unfortunately, Clover Studios closed their doors shortly after the release of Okami, making a sequel incredibly unlikely.
Though Capcom made a DS sequel, Okamiden, without the input of Clover, fans have been long starved for a true successor. Now, with Platinum Games alumni Hideki Kamiya and Ikumi Nakamura, both of whom worked on Okami, suggesting that a follow-up is in the works, hopes for a sequel to the cult classic are higher than ever.
Of course the ball is likely in Capcom’s court as to whether a new Okami will indeed emerge in this day and age. However, with Capcom breathing new life into everything from Devil May Cry and Resident Evil to Strider and Mega Man, nothing is off limits for the company.
With Platinum floating the idea, and Capcom likely to take the bait, we might be seeing Okami return sooner than anyone expected but nothing is set in stone. Okami HD is available on every major platform, though, so if you want to give Capcom a little incentive, buying the port couldn’t hurt to nudge ’em in the right direction.
Whether a new addition to the series emerges or not though, Okami still stands as a one of a kind experience, and it’s the perfect game to revisit in these increasingly troubled times.