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Shadow of the Colossus Review
by Black Widow
So over the weekend my PS2 decided to grant me the pleasure of finishing one of the greatest games ever made. Shadow of The Colossus is the prequel to Sony Entertainment's ICO, an older yet visually stunning game with a great plot to boot. Bringing that mystery and beauty back to the gaming world, Sony decided to birth Shadow of The Colossus. The plot takes place in the same land at a non-specific time. The young boy whom we only know as Wander is in search for a way to retain Mono, a young girl who was sacrificed by her tribe because it was believed she held a cursed fate. Wander, desperately wanting to help this girl, steals the sacred sword and the map to the Forbidden land and travels there. The opening introduction shows part of this: Wander moving over all sorts of terrain on a large black horse, whose name is Agro, with a female figure cloaked in black. Once they reach the temple, Mono is revealed and Wander summons Dorman, the God or 'Gods' with no particular face or voice. The two exchange words for a moment, and Wander agrees to slay the 16 beasts dubbed 'Colossus' that are found across the forbidden land. Dorman assures Wander that Mono's spirit will be returned to her once he has defeated his foes.
You start in the middle of the vast landscape, in the large Shrine of Worship. Oddly enough, you end up here after every Colossus is slain. After every moving mountain, you must start again from the Shrine. You'd think this would be annoying but really it isn't. It gives you a chance to see more of the landscape rather then just starting from where you last were. Besides, it goes along with the plot. Using your sword to reflect light from the sun, it points you in the correct direction for your next opponent. Dorman also gives you a riddle that hints where you have to go. I have a problem with both of these things. The sword is deceiving and vague, as well as Dorman's words. In most cases though, you're better off using your sword. Upon finding each Colossus, which are more than often atop hills or in some ruined city, you have to do something in order to get to it. If that be climbing up a large mountain or ruins or simply running into a cut-scene. Either way, there will be a conflict in getting to a Colossus; even if that is the terrain you have to travel on to get to it. These are never really difficult, which was a smart move because it takes some time to figure out how to take down your enemy. The hunt for them never becomes routine or boring.
Each Colossus has its weak point or, points in some cases as you progress in the game. These are marked by glowing signs which you must charge your sword and stab. But before you can do that you have to climb. Aiding you in the climb is the grip meter, which is located on the bottom of the screen along with the box that shows what weapon you have out, if any as well as your life bar. The meter shows how long you can hold onto the colossus without falling off by a circle that slowly decreases in size. When it starts to tick, it indicates you are close to losing grip on the colossus or anything else you may be hanging onto. During the battles Agro, Wanders horse will often aid you significantly thus the use of the call button.
It surprised me how Sony kept the game so vivid and catching, even when all you were really doing was repeating the process over and over. Each foe is extremely different from the last. And it's funny how each represents almost a different animal, possessing that animal's strength and weakness. There are a few that are easy, but this is more towards the beginning. As you progress through the game, the Colossus becomes harder to not only find but to defeat. If you don't figure it out right away, Dorman offers advice, still in a riddle. These actually do help a deal, opposed to when he tells you where you can find the Colossus itself.
Graphics in SOTC are extremely fluent and beautiful. Landscapes are rendered perfectly although the style and colors remains dirty. In fact, the whole mood of the land is downcast, even when the sun is shining extremely bright. The gloomy mood of the land reflects well on the story and the fact that it is supposed to be forbidden. That feeling is enhanced by the fact that there is nothing else to fight besides the Colossus. The only other things about are lizards, which can help you regenerate your life, and the hawk that seems to follow you everywhere you go.
A unique feature of the game is the camera angles. During cut-scenes you are able to move the camera around, and are able to zoom in and out. It's almost like directing your own movie…except not at all. The feature allows you to focus your attention on things you want to see individually or the details of. This also happens to come in handy while in a battle, as you are able to move the camera around and there is no one fixed angle. Another thing happens to be the time trial. After you defeat the final Colossus and sit through the very sad cut-scene that also answers t everything you wondered about the game, you find out that you now have 'Time-trial' where you can go back in your game to the remains of the Colossus and re-do the experience with a clock ticking. If you defeat the idol for a second time, within a certain limit, you'll receive a new weapon. The other feature at the end of the game is 'hard' mode. Which…I guess…is hard. Not like normal mode is too easy, it really isn't a breeze to get through.
Shadow of The Colossus is the perfect prequel to ICO. Even if you have never played the game, SOTC is perfect on its own. It's a challenge and a new sort of game, with intense music and beautiful graphics. Yeah, your fingers will get sore from playing, seeing as most of the time you have to hold down at least two buttons at once but it's worth it in the end. As much as I'd really hate to admit it, I thank Sony Computer Entertainment for this. Yeah, that's right, I said it.
How many needles of Black tar heroin do you need to make
this game good: None, the game is good on it's own.