Ōkami HD is one of the best gaming experiences I have had in a while. The high-definition remaster of the classic 2006 game is now available on the current generation of consoles (PS4, Xbox One), as well as on PC, and allows people to once again take control of the magical wolf Amaterasu to save the land of Nippon, meeting charming side characters and battling evil creatures along the way.

The game play of Ōkami combines several elements of action, platform and puzzle games, in a style that is very similar to the Legend of Zelda game series. Unique to the game, however, is the Celestial Brush mechanic. This allows the players to pause the game and summon a canvas, which can then be painted upon. When the players draw certain patterns on the canvas, the magic of the Celestial Brush creates effects on the game world. For example, drawing a circle in the sky summons the sun, and allows the player to turn night into day, while drawing a line through an enemy creates a powerful slash attack that causes heavy damage. These powers can be used to aid puzzle solving alongside use in combat, and a large amount of the games story line revolves around discovering new Celestial Brush techniques.

The game’s art style is something to behold, a beautiful mix of cel-shaded art that comes together to give the impression of the game taking place inside a Japanese ink-illustration. The game almost seems to recognise that it is beautiful, with the camera occasionally wrestling control of itself out of the players grip to show beautiful vistas. The developers also included several cut scenes that are dedicated to showing the world of Ōkami bursting to life, quite literally in several instances. The beautiful graphics combine with some of the best music in game history, to create an absolutely amazing atmosphere, full of wonder and excitement. However, Ōkami is also great at creating feelings of dread and horror in the player, dark sections bereft of the humour and light found in the other sections of the game. While the darker sections do occasionally feel out of place, especially in such a stylised game, they are incredibly effective at creating a horrifying, creepy atmosphere, juxtaposed well against the lighter, more family friendly portions of the game.

The writing is the area that the majority of people will find divisive. Due to its family friendly age rating, some of the writing, both the overall larger story beats and the individual character dialogue, can come across as a little bit childlike and simplistic. While some people might be able to ignore this, others will not, and it might become an issue the longer the game is played. And Ōkami is a long game. The main story alone can take upwards of 30 hours to complete, so if you play the first few hours and do not like the writing, you are in trouble.

When it was first released, many people considered Ōkami the best game of all time. While I probably would not give the game the exact same praise, I will say that it is a master class in game design when it comes to creating an atmosphere and crafting side characters to exist in the world. I found it almost impossible to not have a huge smile on my face when I played this, and I would honestly say that it is the best example of a ‘fun’ video game that I have played to date. While Ōkami would not be the best game I have ever played, I definitely believe it deserves both applause and your attention.