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There's an element of ritual to the best fairytales, and that goes for video game legends, too. Okamiden starts off as a time-honoured tale of a hero walking the path set out by his ancestor, but in this case, the story is only part of the ceremony.
As with Okami on PS2, Okamiden arrives on a system on its way out, with software sales dwindling and its successor's launch imminent. Like its mother, it seems destined for critical glory but sales ignominy, prompting wolf-like howls of despair from the few who take the opportunity to revisit glorious Nippon.
There's a degree of familiarity, too, to the game's opening stages. A series of substantial scene-setting vignettes try your patience before you get to control Chibiterasu, celestial offspring of the first game's lupine goddess, Amaterasu. And, initially at least, Chibi – like any young pup – wants to stay close to its mother. As bug guide Issun bounces around jabbering words of advice and you trot through areas likely to bring a warm nostalgic glow to those who loved Okami, you could be forgiven for thinking you were playing a remake rather than a sequel.
Capcom's sequel launches next week.
Okami's impending DS sequel may not be the last we see of Capcom's cult lupine adventure franchise. According to the game's producer, Japanese sales are healthy and the door is open for future follow-ups.
Speaking in an interview with GamesRadar, Okamiden producer Motohide Eshiro said that Capcom would be delighted to make a sequel if enough fans demanded it.
"The game's been out in Japan for a little while, and we're pleased with the reviews – users seem to be very happy – and sales are healthy," he explained.
DS doggie adventure gets dated.
DS game Okamiden will be released in Europe on 18th March 2011, Capcom's announced.
Okamiden is, of course, the sequel to the much-loved PlayStation 2 and Wii game Okami.
Capcom also revealed a Goblin Mask Facebook app based on the in-game challenge that Kuni and Chibi encounter in the Demon Market where they draw a face on a cloth in order to pass through without being recognised.
Okami is, in my estimation, the only challenger ever to have beaten Zelda at its own game. It shared Zelda's themes and its structure – exploration and discovery, gentle but absorbing puzzling, an unobtrusive but captivating narrative gently ushering you through a sequence of towns and dungeons whilst leaving you free to distract yourself.
The sequel to the much-loved PlayStation 2 and Wii game Okami could head to the iPhone and iPad after it's released on the Nintendo DS, according to Capcom.
A doggie-bag of pint-sized screens.
Wolf this down.
Cuter than a sack of clown-puppies.
Capcom has lifted the lid on three titles it's got lined up for a 2011 release.
Topping the bill is Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, as reported earlier.
Then there's Bionic Commando Rearmed 2, which sees Nathan Spencer facing a new, "technologically sophisticated" foe named General Sabio. He'll have upgraded powers, including the ability to jump. The game will be released via Xbox Live and PlayStation Network in Q1 of next year.
For the sequel to a game that sold poorly enough to get a Capcom studio shut down, there was a hell of a lot of interest in Okamiden at the Tokyo Game Show recently. Show-goers had to brave a 50-minute queue to earn three minutes in its company. The Ready at Dawn Wii remake of Okami is just about to be released over in Japan after almost a year and a half's delay, so Capcom is presumably hoping the sequel can ride the renewed wave of interest that it will unleash. The game is, after all, far better-suited to the Wii and DS than it ever was to the PS2, as everybody with an index finger has been pointing out since 2006.
Okami sequel for DS.
The full name for Okami DS will be Okamiden: Chisaki Taiyou, and the game takes place a few months after the PS2 original.