Thursday, April 5, 2007

Shadow of the Colossus - Defeated the first Colossus

When the debate over whether games are art comes up, this game, along with its predecessor Ico are always tossed around as examples on the "pro" side. I have played Ico. It was extremely well put together. Everything in its world was crafted to make sense that it was there. It was immersive. It completely drew you in and made you feel like you were a little boy attempting to navigate through the castle and bring the girl with you. It was beautfiul. All that said, it was only above average as a game. As enthralled as I was by the world, I only had a decent time playing through it. The bottom line is that I think it was extremely important that the game was made because it challenged many perceptions of what a game is or should be.

Shadow of the Colossus is the game the lead designer and director Fumito Ueda made after Ico. And it feels more like a game. So far, more of the story seems to be told in cut scenes than in Ico. There is more of a heads up display (for your health, grip, and current weapon). I'm only a sixteenth through the game, but so far it seems less immersive than Ico.

That isn't to say that I'm not enjoying it. The game is a little more lonely, since it is you and your horse instead of you and a mute girl. It is still painstakingly designed, with all the scenery seeming absolutely appropriate. And the battles with the Collosi are, appropriately epic. These things are huge - at least five times as tall as your character. The lumber around and attempt to swat your character like the fly that he is to them. You need to climb him and find his weak point, all why he is attempting to shake you off.

It is interesting that, as far as I know, the Colossi are the only enemies in the game. It is rare that a game consists of nothing but boss battles, but I think that can work very well. I know Treasure made a game based on the concept of nothing but boss battles, but it never made it here to the US. Certainly the fact that there aren't random faceless enemies that you slay on your way to these things contributes to the world building.

I had already played the demo of the game previously, so I had actually already defeated this colossus. I'm looking forward to seeing what the next ones hold.

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