Thursday, October 20, 2005

Shadow of the Colossus Impressions

This game is phenomenal. Everyone who knows me knows I loved ICO (my review) and I know many people out there loved that game as well. Those who never experienced the game I don't know what to say other than you missed a landmark achievement in gaming in my opinion.

Shadow of the Colossus comes from the same team, but it is a decidedly different game. The overall atmosphere and graphics look like they were pulled and updated right out of ICO with non-jumpy animation like was present when ICO jumped. This game is original in the fact that you are given the base background story at the beginning and then given the task (from a voice in the top of the temple) to take down 16 Colossi in the world in order to possibly revive the dead girl you've brought to the temple. So, you take your horse Agro and go out to take down the linear progression of Colossi.

For those that played the demo you already know how to take down the first Colossus. After that everything is pretty much new to you. Armed with only your horse, the Ancient Sword and a bow and arrow you set out to take them down. You are shown the way to the next Colossus if you hold up the sword in sunlight and a beam will point toward your next goal. Once you reach the area where the Colossus is the action is on.

You have to strategize how to get on the Colossus, hang on as they try to shake you off and hit their weak spot (and some have multiple progressive weak spots) with the sword. The fun part is getting on top of them and trying to hang on to dear life and hope your stamina doesn't drain. If it does you fall off and have to climb back up the Colossus again. Did I mention the Colossi look fantastic, espeically their eyes.

The best part is because of the ambiguous beginning as you go through the Colossi you start to wonder what the heck these (mostly) docile creatures ever did to deserve to die by your hand. Eventually you'll find out what killing them means at the end, and what a fantastic end it is.

I loved God of War and this is another jaw-dropping game from Sony (at least they bookended the year in this case). This game will sell less than God of War, but it is no less great in its own way. I would not be surprised to see this game in the Game of the Year running simply because it is so original and an experience to behold.

There are minuses though, but I'm sure you've heard them. The camera can be unwieldly and there are framerate drops here and there given how much polygons are being pushed when Colossi are on the screen. There is also draw-in since the environment is loaded on the fly until you reach the Colossus staging ground and a load happens as they show themselves.

Shadow of the Colossus is an experience not to be missed even though it will be hidden behind the larger hyped games coming out around the same time.