Saturday, April 14, 2007

Shadow of the Colossus - Finished the game

I must say, I'm a bit disappointed with Shadow of the Colossus after finishing it, but that may be just because I didn't want it to end.

The final colossus battle was epic. A huge tower that shot bolts of electricity at you, forcing you to duck and run from cover to cover until you finally got near it. Then the climb up this huge creation took place. Once you finally reached some unprotected body parts, you had to stab and swing and jump, making the creature move in various ways so you could continue your climb up to the top of it.

The ending was also well done. It showed the sacrifice you had made in order to attempt to bring your female companion back to life. It also let you control your character during parts of it, making it feel like you were truly a part of the scene. Finally, it also connected this game to Ico to the delight of people who had played through both games.

That said, the experience didn't get me in the same way that Ico did. Ico was a truly immersive experience. I could almost forget that I was playing a video game and really imagine myself as a boy attempting to navigate through a vast castle. That said, the gameplay experience of Ico had something missing that I can't quite put my finger on. I mean, I enjoyed it, but while I loved the experience of Ico, I can point out many better games that I've played.

Shadow of the Colossus was the opposite. The gameplay was great. Forgoing any sort of random foes to kill in lieu of making the colossus battles the experience was absolutely the right decision. Figuring out each colossus worked very well and I loved the fights. Still, I didn't get as involved with this game as I did with Ico. Partly, the minimalist story in Shadow of the Colossus wasn't as well done as the minimalist story in Ico. Ico had two protagonists and thus could do much better at creating a subtle relationship between them. While I could see what Wander (the protagonist of Shadow of the Colossus) was going through and feel somewhat melancholy at having to slay the magnificent beasts, it didn't work as well. The experience also wasn't nearly as immersive. Riding around to discover new areas where the colossi were generally worked quite well. The biggest problem is that this game required much more fighting with the camera in order to get the view you needed. And sometimes the colossus behavior was just frustrating and you felt that only by luck did you manage to get where you need to go.

I had always assumed that I would give this game a very high score. And I think I would probably still recommend it to anyone with a PlayStation 2. But... I don't know. I'll have to ruminate on my feelings for a bit.

1 comment:

bmoviehero said...

I think I'd agree with your criticisms of SOTC - particularly of the story. For me that was the main thing that didn't quite bring the game to the same level as ICO - I just didn't "feel" the story like I did in ICO.

The story in ICO was perfect (SPOILERS), having to look after Yorda just made the experience all the more real. It made you feel like you'd come on some mas sive journey - and made the seperation towards the end of the story all the more powerful (fighting your way back up the castle to find her) and the end all the more poignant.

Whereas in SOTC while the battles were epic, the experience lacked some of the emotion of ICO. This was because it was hard to feel for Wander and Mono because we knew nothing about them - I thought perhaps in this case Ueda's "less is more" approach wasn't as effective. I still found the ending extremely sad and heartfelt - but the experience up to it lacked something that Ueda and his team pin pointed perfectly in ICO.

However having said all this I would put both games in my top 10 (ICO in the top 5, SOTC somewhere lower) and would reccomend them to anybody (particularly videogame sceptics).