Past Entertainment Articles.

Article for the week of 2/27/06

Toggled Review

Shadow of The Colossus For Playstation 2.

By, Cozmic

“Cozmic, I need you to review something.” Faced with this highly difficult task, I immediately set upon wondering what I should review, seeing as how I live in a nation far, far away, where releases are inevitably later, and there hasn't been a good CD release for quite some time.
Meanwhile, a young man on a horse enters the ends of the world.

They say there's a land where you can turn death back into life. The man's name is Wanda. He arrives at a temple in a deserted land, placing the body of a girl on an altar. Wanda gets adressed by a voice that identifies himself as Dormin. Dormin explains that the only way the girl can be brought back to life is if Wanda kills the colossi that inhabit the land, but that bringing her to life may have heavy consequences. I don't trust Dormin. His mysteriously both booming and whispering voice scares me, and the statues that line the temple must not be there only so Wanda can destroy them.
Raising my sword to the sky, and following the light to the point where the beams focus, I set off with my only companion in this whole mess, my horse Agro.

A short while later, I've gotten off Agro's back and performed fetas fitting a certain persian prince, only less flashy. And suddenly I stand face to face with the first of my victims. Wanda desperately tries to hang on to the grass that grow on the creature, flinging around a bit like a ragdoll while my heart is trying to feed my brain with enough blood to take in just what's going on. After a few minutes, it's over, and the colossus falls to the ground. I can't feel any sort of pride over what I've done, I feel more sad, compassionate. Black shadows spring from the corpse, and take me back to the temple.When I wake up, Dormin tells me who's next, and me and Agro set out again.

Famito Ueda, one of the men behind SoC, has said in an interview that to truly make a world feel alive, one has to leave things to the imagination as well. SoC does this wonderfully. The player knows very little about the world. Who's the girl, who are the colossi, and why is the land Wanda is now in forbidden?

Speaking of colossi and land, the design is absolutely fantastic. Each colossus is different from the other, yet they all share the divine design that makes them look like overgrown, abandoned buildings, mixed with statues, mixed with sheer art. Words simply cannot describe it. And they inhabit a world filled with strange-looking ruins, open fields, deserts, waterfalls, ravines and almost no life. There are a few birds here and there, the occasional lizard and a few fish, but otherwise, Wanda and Agro seem all alone.
The graphics definitely bring justice to the design, with beyond enormous foes (the third colossus I met, I thoughr the camera was tricking me, because NO WAY IN HELL did they make something that large!), and a seamless landscape where you can see everything. The horizon has never looked so amazing until you burst forward on Agro and reach it, look behind you, and see the temple rising above this land. And all of this in cold colours, but illuminated by glittering sunshine. And may I add that grass and rock has never looked this good in a game?

All is not an amazingly well-done work of art, however. The camera angles sometimes suffer from the exact same problems that most other games have, meaning they suck and you either don't see where you're going or what's about to kill you. And trying to control Agro while at the same time using the bow, your other weapon, is an impossibility. Not to mention that while the music is fantastic, after 20 minutes it does make you rather frustrated. The game is silent until you meet a colossus and start climbing, or generally engage in combat, where your pulse seems to heighten dramatically, but once in a while, no matter how cool a fight is, I want to throw my controller into a wall, curse, punch and scream at the game for not hitting me in the face with how I should kill the colossus running around. And yet I still feel sad when I kill them.

All the colossi have different personality's, different styles and an incredible charm, somehow. I sometimes wonder if I'm doing the right thing, or what will happen to this land once it's inhabitants are dead. And why does Wanda seem to be more and more worn down after each fight? And why, oh why, when they have a great, almost non-existing interface, does the strength meter have to be pink?

Shadow of the Colossus is according to most people another one of those games that make a very convincing point in the opinion that games are art. I have no doubts as to why. The graphics are amazing, the way of telling a story is so simple, yet it's beautiful, and the game is fun, constantly.

Estimated game time is around 10 hours, or slightly less, not counting the restarts from dying, which happens a few times. I haven't actually found 10 hours to finish the game in yet, but it seems rather correct. How do they get 16 fights to manage to take that long? Well, as I've said, you sometimes spend quite a lot of time trying to figure out how to climb the colossus and attacking it's weak points. Trying to be cool and calculating whole facing something that makes the Empire State Building look short is certainly not an easy task, but it certainly is an entertaining one, especially as all you have t use is your sword, your bow, your environment, Agro, Wanda's ability to climb and swim, and your wits. As a platform game, you have a boss fight and platform stage rolled into one and between that you have what feels like a tribute to the horse riding in Ocarina Of Time, only done slightly better, I dare say.

Also, Wanda just told me he arrived in that other continent around October last year, which, i guess, would make the game old but great news for some people. Yes, the game has it's moments when it's not perfect, but it also has moments where it is, and anyone who calls himself a gamer owes it to himself to at least give this a try. Everyone else can stick to GTA-clone 495 where they steal a car and shoot people with a gun while listening to music and giving money to Electronic Arts.




 Really Pathetic Productions 2005 ©