What We Know:
Okamiden is a true sequel to Okami, the ill-fated PS2 and Wii game which, tragically, was nowhere near as popular as it deserved to be. The art style holds up nicely on the DS and the stylus controls are a perfect fit.
What We're Seeing Now:
Okamiden is Okami shrunk down onto the DS. It's not clear how they've done it, but it seems that the developers at Capcom have managed to fit the full Okami experience onto the smaller device. Some concessions have been made in the graphics department but, honestly, not as many as you would expect.
The most obvious of these is the smaller amount of flower particles. When running around the patches of grass which grow at your feet are smaller and less detailed than in the original game. Likewise, when using the bloom miracle to make trees flower, there are far fewer petals and other effects flying around. Not a deal breaker by any stretch of the imagination, but certainly noticeable.
The story is set after the original Okami and sees the player step into the paws of Amaterasu's pup son, Chibiterasu. You'll also come across descendants of other Okami characters, such as Susano, whose son Kuni is your first partner in the game. Where Chibiterasu is a smaller, cuter version of his mum, Kuni is a smaller, cuter version of Susano. Complete with adorable wooden sword.
These partners ride on your back and help you in combat and with puzzles. The first brush miracle you get hold of lets you take control of your partner and guide them on a path, allowing them to get across perilous bridges that Chibiterasu cannot cross.
Other miracles make a return, such as bloom and cut. These are presented to the played in a similar way to in Okami, with the player being required to draw around a constellation before a celestial god appears. This time, however, it is the god's chibi children who talk to you and hand you your new ability. Those with a weakness for the cuter things in life will find Okamiden completely arresting.
Casting miracles is much easier and more accurate this time around, thanks to the stylus. It seems completely bizarre now, four years after Okami's release, that we were using the analogue stick to draw shapes on the screen. Even the Wii version had its faults, but Okamiden feels much more accurate and I felt I was drawing "wrong" much less often.
After the tutorial the game begins in a very familiar location, the tree spirit's clearing above Kimiki village. I'm told that classic locations, as well as completely new ones, will feature throughout the game. As for the game's length, it promises to be a meaty adventure, but will be shorter than the epically long Okami.
Okamiden is looking like a solid sequel, despite Hideki Kamiya having left Capcom and the Clover studio having been dissolved. Hopefully the rest of the game holds up to the demo I played, and that they've introduced enough new features that it doesn't feel like a retread. Even if they haven't, Okami fans will probably want to play through to see how the story continues. Who knows, if it does well maybe we'll see a sequel on HD consoles.