Okamiden is the sequel to 2006's Ōkami for the PlayStation 2 and Wii. Released on the Nintendo DS, Okamiden is set nine months after the events of the first game and stars Chibiterasu, the child of the first game's protagonist Amaterasu. The game sees players return to the land of Nippon to once again save and rejuvenate it from the clutches of darkness as a new threat arises to ravage the land.
The gameplay in Okamiden is largely the same as its predecessor. Traveling around the land of Nippon, fighting demons, solving various puzzles with the help of the Celestial Brush, running around towns and villages talking to their residents, and just generally exploring makeup the majority of the activities available. Many people have compared this style of gameplay to the Legend of Zelda series -- which the team behind the previous game, the now defunct Clover Studio, even cited as an inspiration.
Players' primary task is rejuvenating the now barren land of Nippon, which is achieved by using the powers of the Celestial Brush to restore the land to its former state, as well as helping out its citizenry to earn their praise and thus become more powerful.
The game is played from a third-person perspective, usually from an isometric view or some similarly fixed perspective. The top screen is where all action takes place with the touch screen displaying a map and being where all the menus are kept.
Like in Okami, the Celestial Brush is the crux of Okamiden. It grants Chibi myriad ways to alter and manipulate the world around him with a simple brushstroke. Summoning a burst of fire, causing trees to suddenly bloom, and cutting down foes and rocks alike are just a few of the abilities the Celestial Brush possesses. It's primarily used for puzzle solving.
New techniques are obtained by finding statues of the brush gods. Upon finding one, a constellation appears in the sky that Chibiterasu must trace to summon the brush god and subsequently earn a new technique.
The powers are as follows in order of appearance:
- Sunrise: Chibiterasu's innate brush skill. Allows him to summon the sun by painting a circle in the sky.
- Rejuvenation: Obtained from Yomigami. Allows Chibi to fix broken or missing objects or elements in the environment by tracing around the missing section.
- Guidance: Obtained from Michigami. Allows Chibi to guide his partner by painting a path for them to follow.
- Power Slash: Obtained from Tachigami. Allows Chibi to slice enemies, rocks, barriers, among others in half by painting a horizontal line.
- Bloom: Obtained from Hanagami. Allows Chibi to bloom trees by painting a circle on them.
- Cherry Bomb: Obtained from Bakugami. Allows Chibi to conjure up a bomb by painting a circle with a line protruding from it. Useful for opening cracked walls. Can be upgraded to allow two cherry bombs to be placed at once, side by side.
- Watersprout: Obtained from Nuregami. Allows Chibi to manipulate water by placing the brush on a source of water and directing it toward his target. Can be upgraded to allow him to call upon a deluge of rain.
- Vine: Obtained from Tsutagami. Allows Chibi to use flower blossoms to create vines that pull him across long distances by drawing a line from himself to the blossom. Can also be used to pull Chibi to his partner character by drawing a line from Chibi to his partner.
- Inferno: Obtained from Moegami. Allows Chibi to manipulate fire by placing the brush on a source of fire and directing it toward his target. Can be upgraded to allow him to call upon a massive burst of fire.
- Magnetism: Obtained from Kyokugami. Allows Chibi to pull metal objects together by drawing a U shape or push them a part by drawing an inverted U.
- Galestorm: Obtained from Kazegami. Allows Chibi to summon gusts of wind by drawing a loop-to-loop. Can be upgraded to allow him to call upon a whirlwind.
- Thunderstorm: Obtained from Gekigami. Allows Chibi to manipulate lightning by placing the brush onto a source of lightning then directing it toward his target. Can be upgraded to call upon a massive lightning bolt.
Because Chibiterasu is still too inexperienced to take on the world saving business on his own (and because Issun isn't able to accompany him), Chibi enlists some help from the locals. The inspiration for the partner system came from Chibiterasu. Since he's only half as powerful as his mother, Amaterasu, the developers decided to give him a group of partners to team up with so as to make up for his relative inexperience.
What partners do, primarily, is help Chibiterasu get past puzzles, open far-away treasure chests, and assist in battle. They can be commanded by drawing a line from them to the desired target with the Celestial Brush. They automatically perform the chosen task once they arrive at their destination. A common example of puzzles involving cooperation is whenever Chibiterasu is faced with a narrow, fragile stone path that contains a switch on the other end. Chibi and his partner can't cross it together, nor can Chibiterasu do so alone. The only option, therefore, is to send his partner forward to press the switch so that another path will appear that Chibi can use to reunite with his partner and keep moving onward.
Okamiden's combat takes on two different manifestations: in the field, and in demon lairs. The former sees small foes wandering about around the level proper (a common enemy being small, rock-like creatures that roll about) that can be engaged instantly, whereas the latter sees enemies being represented by floating scrolls wandering about the field that whisk Chibiterasu and co away to a separate battleground when engaged. In those cases, the game presents the player with a small, circular arena to fight in against anywhere from one to four monsters at a time.
Enemies can be fought using a combination of Chibiterasu's divine instruments (i.e., weapons) and Celestial Brush skills. Chibi has three forms of weaponry: reflectors, mirrors that act as a basic melee weapon; rosaries, bead chains that act as whips; and glaives, large swords that can be powered-up for extra proficiency. Unlike in Okami, the game only grants one of each weapon type, with the means of obtaining more powerful weapons being through purchasing upgrades from a blacksmith. Rather than yen, however, the blacksmith will only take remnants from monsters -- bones, hides, livers -- which are obtained from performing Floral Finishers on foes, as payment.
Upon defeating an enemy in battle, there opens a small window of opportunity in which Chibiterasu can unleash one last brush technique on the fallen foe to draw out remnants. Only certain skills will produce remnants, though, with each enemy needing a different technique to draw out the rewards. For instance: While a power slash may work on the common green imps, it won't work on other types of imps, necessarily.
For each piece of plant-life that's restored, every side-quest completed, and broken item fixed, Chibiterasu is granted praise. The gods derive their power from those who believe in and worship them. Praise is the manifestation of that worship, and is also what makes Chibi stronger. Once enough is earned, one of Chibi's attributes -- health or Ink Pots -- is upgraded. Which one gets upgraded is beyond the player's control, however.
Okamiden picks up nine months after the events of the first game. It all begins on what seems to be just another day for the land of Nippon, which has recently been enjoying an age of peace thanks to Amaterasu's heroic exploits. That peace is soon disrupted, however, when an ominous dark cloud of energy suddenly appears in the sky one day and once again plunge the land into one giant cursed zone. Now ravaged by demons, Nippon and is quickly put in a state of disarray. Luckily, soon after that all happens, Chibiterasu, son of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu, arrives on the scene to combat the sudden plague of demons and restore the land back to its natural state. With Issun unavailable to help due to his Celestial Envoy duties, Chibiterasu is soon joined by Kuni, the son of Susano and Kushi
1. Kuni mentions during the game that he is not really the son of Susano and Kushi.