Okami needs a Sequel on PS Vita
Okami was met with commercial failure. Despite glowing reviews from all over the place, people just didn’t seem to buy it at the time of release. However, Okami has remained a cult hit and a popular PlayStation character. Which is why we should get a PS Vita Okami game.
Clover Studio, the japanese development studio behind Okami, God Hand and the Viewtiful Joe series, was shut down shortly after the release of Okami. Despite this set back, the game was ported to the Wii by PlayStation veterans Ready at Dawn in 2007. There was also a sequel for the Nintendo DS in 2011. Both had control schemes which matched the gameplay perfectly, due to the celestial brush being a major gameplay component. With the release of the PlayStation Move, you’d think that an HD Remaster of Okami with Move support would be a no-brainer, but we’ll leave that one for another time.
The PlayStation Vita is in dire need of games. The recently lacklustre Resistance: Burning Skies proved that the handheld device is indeed more versatile than it’s predecessor, not to mention other handheld consoles. However, the most popular PlayStation IPs don’t seem to be doing as well as their ‘full-fat’ counterparts. Uncharted: Golden Abyss received generally positive reviews, but didn’t seem much more than a tech demo. It’s clearly still happening. What we need now is something new, imaginative and which brings out the Vita’s selling points; namely the two analogue sticks, the beautiful large screen and the two touch pads. Cue Okami.
Those of you who remember Okami will hopefully understand where I’m coming from. Okami was a surprisingly refreshing IP from Clover Studio with a stunning art style, deep and involving story and innovative new gameplay mechanic. One must ‘paint’ on the screen to interact with the world. For example, if you see an old withered tree, you can make it bloom by painting a circle around it, bringing it back to life. This would translate very well onto the Vita. Rather than guiding a paintbrush around the screen with the analogue sticks, you would just draw straight onto the screen. Simple, yet effective and in keeping with the tone of the original game.
Where other games might struggle, graphically and point out moments where they don’t look quite as good as the console version, Okami is not as graphically demanding as the others. Bright colours and a cel-shaded art style would look great on the Vita’s screen, not to mention the platforming controls would transfer straight across thanks to the two analogue sticks. The game provides varied and interesting gameplay which plays to all the Vita’s strengths.
With all this in mind, people might think it would be easier to just port the original game to the Vita, but what the Vita needs right now is new games. Announcements like Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time and Assassin’s Creed 3 appearing on Vita are very exciting. If Sony can get more titles like these then perhaps they can revitalise the Vita’s lacklustre line-up, and boost sales. But it’s not enough to just get any old games. They need to play to the Vita’s strengths, like Okami would do, while also bringing back an underused yet much loved series.