Brushing Up With OkamidenS

Okami is a PlayStation 2 classic. The game is getting a spin-off called Okamiden for the Nintendo DS. Does it look like it's a worthy successor to the original?

During my hands on with the game at E3, I was impressed with how the game look. The art style is beautiful — but, it wasn't nearly as entrancing as the PS2 original. That might be because Okamiden is for the smaller screen. But Okami was made for the Nintendo DS.

Bringing the game to the Nintendo portable was a smart move.

In Okamiden, the hero is Chibiterasu instead of the PS2's protagonist Amaterasu. By drawing select strokes using the stylus, players can execute various actions. At E3, Capcom was showing only four brushstrokes. The final game, I was told, will have many more than that.

One of the brushstrokes is drawing a circle around dead trees, causing them to bloom beautiful flowers. Another is drawing a square on a broken bridge to restore it to a stable state. There is also the "power slash" stroke (drawing a single horizontal line) stroke that cuts through things that block your path.

It is also possible to draw a "guidance" (a red line) so that the character riding Chibiterasu will have enough courage to cross areas that you cannot and retrieve items.

Since Capcom was showing only four strokes, it was kind of hard to get a feel for how deep Okamiden might be. Most likely, Capcom was only showing four strokes because it did not want to overwhelm players. Then again, perhaps Capcom is saving that information so it can have something to run in Japanese game magazines closer to its release? Control schemes should not be something that game companies roll out.

Since I haven't been shown the entire control scheme, I'm somewhat left in the dark. I liked what I saw of Okamiden, but I didn't see enough to know if I like it. Guess I'll have to buy it...

Check out the game's E3 trailer.