Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Giant, magnificent beings

Greetings, Dreamers!

Sorry for the delay, but I've got another good one for you today.

Let's talk about

Shadow of the Colossus, developed by Team Ico and published by Sony Computer Entertainment in 2005 and 2006 for Play Station 2, with an HD re-release on 2011 (where it was bundled together with released-before-but-technically-a-sequel Ico).

Someone, somewhere had the following idea: "What if we had a game where all you did was fight bosses? No enemies but giant bosses!"

And thus it became Shadow of the Colossus.

An exploration+action game, it is pretty evenly balanced between the both.

This game has a gorgeous overworld. A giant, sprawling world for the player to explore.

And it is practically devoid of life.

And this is just a fraction of what you get to explore
Wander, the player character, rides in to this huge, beautiful wasteland on horseback, carrying a woman. He reaches a temple, where a being with a mysterious voice orders him to kill all the colossi in order to bring her back to life.

While there IS more to this story than that, and a technically-a-sequel in the game Ico, most of the story in this game is presented by cutscenes of the bosses as they are found, as well as short interludes presented each time the player defeats an enemy and is sent back to the temple.

Barring the dialogue of the entity from the temple, there is not much in the way of dialogue throughout the game, but it is a masterfully presented example of environmental storytelling, showing ruins and abandoned structures, allowing the player's imagination to fill in the gaps.

This isn't even the largest one
There are collectibles in the world, in the form of small fruit to increase your health and black lizards to increase stamina, but without any prompt to collect them (or in fact that they're there at all), the game hardly detracts from the exploration and travel from temple to boss.

The actual fights against the colossi tend to be formulaic in the sense of "climb, find weak spot, stab, get thrown off, climb again". However, each of the bosses is unique and behaves in completely different manners, so while some might move slowly and be easy to defeat, some others are fast and very aggressive, so the variety is very well appreciated.

It isn't a difficult game (though then again, when I played it I was informed of the lizards and fruits, it might be different otherwise), but it is however very beautiful, and the sense of wonder from both the world and the beautifully designed colossi is certainly something that is well worth experiencing for yourself.

There isn't much I can say about it that hasn't been said already. It is beautiful, very empty and at times bittersweet upon defeating the colossi, but it is still a wonderful game and one that I hope you get a chance to try!

Hope you have a fantastic week!

Keep on dreaming!


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