They say flattery will get you everywhere, and that imitation is the sincerest form of such behavior. But is there a limit to how much you can ape something before it crosses the line of "homage" into "ripoff?" Well, when the result is a game as life-changing as Okami, we're content to let it take everything that makes The Legend of Zelda a masterpiece and copy it any day of the week.
Spending no more than a few hours with Okami will reveal how much it plays like a new Zelda game. You've got a massive overworld to roam through, complete with small, scattered villages bustling with down-home-goodness flair. Just outside these safe havens are open fields crawling with enemies, plus multilayered dungeons that introduce new abilities to the player. Collecting fragments of hidden items increases your life and magical powers slowly drain away with use. New abilities also let you explore areas you couldn't reach before, usually opening up whole new chunks of landscape to inspect. We could go on and on about the obvious connections, but hey, they're obvious.
We're more interested in the subtle bits that tie the two series even closer. For comparison's sake, we went with 2003's The Wind Waker, it being the most recent console Zelda title. It also happens to boast its own unique art style, just like Okami. There's nothing wrong with borrowing a few ideas, but our custom video shows seven slightly-buried similarities that suggest developer Clover's unhealthy-but-deserved crush on everything Zelda. Read on for a full breakdown.