There is literally no way a screenshot from Okami cannot look amazing.
(Image credit: Deadendthrills.com)
Playing Okami HD has made one thing absolutely, undeniably clear: remastered games are huge boon for this industry. Not only do they give old favorites a shiny new coat of paint, they allow easy access for anyone who's never tried one of these remastered titles a chance to experience them in their original form.
The sentiment is one I've known since playing The Sly Collection (another fine series helped by high definition) back in 2010, of course. But Okami is easily the game to benefit most from its effects.
Okami's gorgeous art style, reminiscent of a Sumi-e painting, is revitalized by the upscaled resolution. Previously subdued colors now pop with vibrancy, creating a brighter, prettier picture; a touch helped greatly by the slightly reduced paper filter effect (dont worry; you can control how visible the filter is). The game also moves at a smooth 60 frames per second, never once dropping during busy scenes, unlike the PlayStation 2 original.
A remaster was the right choice, because the original game still holds up spectacularly, its visuals still as awe-inspiring as they were in 2006. A full graphical revamp certainly could have made for much more breathtaking game, but at the cost of the aesthetic's character, its achievements.
Sumi-e is predicated on the art of simplicity. Okami, for all its extravagant vistas and villiages, still maintains that core tenant. Characters are blocky; trees are flat, particle effects too. These are deliberate decisions made by now-defunct developer Clover Studio. Decisions made all in service to the aesthetic.
Seriously. Every screenshot is practically perfect wallpaper material.
The choice of remastering the game alone is evidence of this. Capcom could have easily contracted a team to remake one of its most beautiful games for a new generation, take advantage of the PlayStaion 3. Okami never has been a successful franchise, but the core fanbase would certainly be front and center for a remake.
But they didn't.
Because they know Okami's aesthetic relies on the limitations it had placed upon it at the time of its release. Its beauty is remarkable not just because the aesthetic, but for how it leveraged the power of an aging system. A remake would diminish these accomplishments that are crucial to understanding the game's acclaim from a historical standpoint.
Remasters like this allow us to see games in the way developers intended to without having to seek out old hardware. It's easy to dismiss them as quick cash-grabs, but there's more to them than that. In an industry so careless with the archival of video games (there are literally tons of games lost to time because no one thought to make a back-up), any means of playing games in their purest forms are more than just welcome; they're necessary.
I enjoy them, especially when it gives me an easy way to play a franchise or game that I may have missed in the past. Only problem is when they do something like Zone of Enders and mess something up like the framerate.
@Legolas_Katarn Yeah, that's unfortunate. Shame how they've become a bigger gamble than they were in the beginning.
I've never really understood why HD remakes get so much hate; I love them! I plan to get Okami HD, Ratchet and Clank HD Collection, Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, and God of War HD Collection within the next 6 months.
@dapman418 Never understood the hate, either. The usual argument is that they detract from newer games being created, but that's obviously false since these remasters are always contracted out to smaller studios the publisher has on their pay-roll. Can't imagine they take that long to produce, either. Certainly far less than making a game fro scratch, at least.
@c_rake @dapman418 I'm pretty sure they already have the original source codes from these games, and all that's left is to port it over to the current-gen consoles. And, of course, apply that fresh coat of paint. With the amount of HD collections becoming a thing this year, I'm leaning over to "it's not that hard." It's way more manageable and costs significantly less than, say, a Final Fantasy VII remake. That's probably a bad comparison to make, but w/e.
But man, the closure of Clover still makes me sad. They're pretty much one of the few devs that haven't made one bad game, ever, I think (Viewtiful Joe, God Hand, etc.). On the other hand though, I'm glad these guys made PlatinumGames and still makes awesome games like Bayonetta and Vanquish.