HD remakes have only become more and more common — and I’ve only gotten less and less interested in them. I respect giving classic titles a second lease on life with crisper graphics and more detailed textures, but I’ve rarely felt like most games have benefited enough from the upgraded visual polish to warrant the replay.
That’s until I spent a few days with the Okami HD re-release, which is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. I’ve always been impressed by how stunning Okami looked, especially as it launched when so many games were dreary-looking and far less visually inspired. Okami was stunning then, and now that the game is in 4K, it’s only become better.
Based on the original PlayStation 3 HD remaster from 2012, Okami HD borrows the ability to set the game to widescreen, which is definitely the best way to play the game. But what really piqued my interest was the ability to play this re-release on 4K, which is a level of visual fidelity this game always deserved. Beauty is something so deeply ingrained in the game’s DNA, so it’s wonderful to see all of those details realized at such a high resolution.
From the simple moments, like watching a small bird eat some seeds, to the full-on visual assault of boss encounters, Okami HD’s vibrant visuals seem like they were always made for brilliant displays. In a year that gave us visual masterpieces like Horizon Zero Dawn, which also benefited from the PlayStation 4 Pro’s ability to push 4K graphics, I still can’t help but be in awe over how lush the Okami re-release looks.
And if you don’t have a 4K TV, don’t worry. You can still play the game at 1080p. Even then, the game is a complete marvel to look at. Either resolution does the game justice and brings to light all the design choices that made the original so breathtaking.
When Okami was first released on the PlayStation 2 more than 10 years ago, it was universally praised for its visual style, which looks like traditional Japanese sumi-e paintings brought to life. While the game was stunning back in the day, even at a 480p resolution, I think this is the definitive version of the game thanks to the massively upgraded visual clarity.
Okami HD shows what’s possible when you try to bring fantastical ideas to life. Stylized games like this are the convincing arguments to update and upgrade games that players like me need. Now that technology has caught up with ambitious ideas like the stylistic brilliance of Okami, I can’t stop thinking of other classics that could really shine with the same kind of overhaul.