Okamiden Hands-On: The Celestial StylusS

Planted in the middle of Capcom's eclectic Tokyo Game Show booth, the demo of Omkamiden had attendees playing the DS sequel to Okami in the middle of a traditional Japanese garden while seated on stools which looked like cut lumber.

Groups of gamers were escorted into the area by booth companions and seated at small tables holding copies of the DS game. As a group made their way to a table, cherry blossoms fell from the ceiling onto and around a faux cherry blossom tree in a back corner. In another corner, over-sized, stuffed versions of the wolf-like Chibiterasu and the child Kuninushi, central characters in the game, overlooked the play sessions.

Okamiden Hands-On: The Celestial Stylus

The demo session opened with a short introduction that explained the gameplay and controls and then moved Chibiterasu, with the child on his back, into an area made up of a chain of grass covered plateaus.

The top DS screen showed gameplay, while the bottom showed a map. I used the DS' direction pad to move around and the face buttons to interact with object and jump.

The biggest selling point of the game is the ability to use the DS stylus as the "celestial brush" found in both the Playstation 2 original and Wii port of Okami. In the DS game, players hold the left or right buttons on the portable to turn the bottom touchscreen into a canvas of sorts depicting where you are. You can then interact with some objects using the brush.

For instance, I was able to draw the missing pieces of a bridge using the stylus, slash rocks in half and, later, open a portal by restoring a portrait.

The game's use of the stylus and touchscreen make the DS a perfect platform for the game's drawing-heavy sequel. The graphics didn't pop as much as I would have liked, but the hand-drawn look makes up for some of the lack of texture.

I would have loved to spend more time with the game, though it appears it's headed down the right path so far.

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