This game is a magical, intoxicating adventure that beautifully captures the essence of fairy tales and Japanese mythology in game form. Okami HD is an incredible game, with an engaging story and gameplay that's supported by its eye-popping graphics. The visuals are the most immediately striking feature of the game, and seem like a Japanese ink print or watercolor come to life with its mix of bold outlines and subtle, refined brush strokes. This is reinforced as you move through the world as Amaterasu, causing flowers and grass to spring up in her wake. Clearing out sections of demons or reclaiming territory for nature rejuvenates an area with a spring-like flourish that's beautifully captured in bright floral prints and tones. On top of this, the use of the "Celestial Brush" as a gameplay mechanic to do things like changing the time of day, blasting through walls, or repelling incoming strikes, makes you feel like an artist making specific changes to this visually distinct world. It's an expressive way of drawing you into the gameplay that stands out from any other adventure games. Particularly notable is the Nintendo Switch version; while the other installments of Okami HD were easy to control, the Nintendo Switch version feels like the most natural version of the game ever made. Using your finger to draw on the screen is possibly the simplest way of interacting with the environment, and that's possibly only second to the responsive Joycon controls, which are great to use.
On top of that, the characters are engaging. Whether it's the "annoyances" of Issun, the bug-like travel companion, the Cowardly Lion-like nature of Sasano the "hero," or the steady, calm presence of Amaterasu that gains respect from everyone she meets, it's virtually impossible to find a sour note with the characters. Some of the content (like the focus on some female character models' behinds and cleavage) and some jokes feel a bit childish or tone deaf, especially with the recent release that's 11 years after the original title, but these are minor issues. The same can be said about the blurry environmental textures and double images that provide a blurry visual, especially when the camera is tracking you as you run from one area to another. These older artifacts really stand out on an HD or 4K monitor, where you're getting both improved graphics and artifacts that can, at times, feel a little disorienting. That being said, these problems are secondary to an amazing story, a visually impressive game, and a title that should appeal to virtually all ages. You can't go wrong with this one.