Reviews: Okamiden

Not as good as the first, but still a worthy sequel.

The celestial brush mechanics are back in full swing. They allow a lot of freedom in designing the game, as they can place a wide variety of obstacles without having to worry about the player being annoyed by frequent trips to a menu. It literally raises the upper limit on how good the game can be. However, the screen takes a bit from pressing the button to enable symbols to be drawn, which is slightly aggravating. Many things have been fine-tuned: floral finishers work slightly differently, brush technique recognition is improved, even the mechanics of the techniques themselves have changed slightly. They seemed to have a better idea of what they were doing. But a few things about partner mechanics seem to not be well thought-out. Partners attack when you land the final hit of a melee combo, and the number of times your partner attacks affects how much yen you get from that battle, effectively punishing you for using brush techniques.

The story maintains its quality from the original, and there are Call Backs inserted that are actually great sub plots, yet poor localization has resulted in the game contradicting itself and its predecessor on many occasions. They're mostly minor things, though, and easy to look over. The visuals do their best to maintain their style from the first game, but something is lost in the transition to the DS. The soundtrack is, believe it or not, superior to the first game, at least in my opinion. You can only control the camera in a few locations and camera angle is crucial to the gameplay, but the auto-camera is so good it can be hard to notice.

Yet several things seem to have a lot of room for improvement. Movement and melee combat are slow and somewhat clumsy, ink no longer regenerates automatically, and there are fewer brush techniques. Only two new brush techniques were introduced: Guidance, which is used VERY frequently, and Magnetism, which is awesome but used rarely. Vine works much differently, so I guess it technically counts.

The best part of this game comes at the end. The final boss of this game is the Best Boss Ever, bar none. A gimmick is reused from the first game for this boss, and is fine-tuned for this fight. The ending an enormous Tear Jerker, even after viewing it several times I cry every time I see it. If you loved Okami, odds are you'll like this.