Sunday, 28 February 2016

#5: Shadow of the Colossus HD

There's not a great deal to say about Shadow of the Colossus that hasn't already been said, but that won't stop me.

Team ICO are a strange developer that only have three titles to their name: Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and the as-yet unreleased The Last Guardian. All of them share ideas and visual design elements without explicitly being in a series; there are some small ties between Ico and SotC. I'm sure the same will be true when TLG finally comes out, which has been in development for almost 10 years.

Shadow of the Colossus is one of those games that makes your brow furrow. You're clearly doing some inadvisable, awful thing, yet you want to see it through to completion. You only have the word of a few characters to go on through this; the game has speech, but almost no dialogue. The land you journey through is mostly empty, your closest companion is a horse, the circumstances that brought you here are described only vaguely. Even the creatures you are sent to destroy mainly see you as a curiosity instead of a foe. No matter what you do, something seems off.

Injecting such a feeling into an otherwise very sterile game is an achievement.

It's not perfect, though. The original suffered some horrific frame-rate drops during the colossus fights, but this HD version improves upon that. There's barely anything to actually do once you've beaten the game; exploring the environment is interesting, but it's not gigantic, and the lizard/fruit-shooting isn't exactly fun past the first time. There is a Hard Mode and time trials are available, only offering re-runs of the game you've already experienced. Some of the colossi are infuriating, with tiny windows of opportunity for damage.

I enjoyed this game immensely. Like many of its proponents, I want to see more information about its back-story, the surrounding world, the characters' motivations... but perhaps that would spoil its charm. As an enigma, it continues to interest me even though I don't have the controller in my hand.

This game comes packaged with Ico HD, which I'll get round to eventually.

At this point, Emily started picking really short games from the Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection, so I'll write one post which describes them together.

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