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Shadow of the Colossus - an outsider's take

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15 replies to this topic

#1
Pyrotek

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I have never owned a PS2. Consequently, ICO, Shadow of the Colossus, or Japan Studio (lovingly known as Team ICO) were all unknown names as far I was concerned.

It was, therefore, with great curiosity, that I picked up the HD Classics collection of ICO & Shadow of the Colossus.
I said to myself, let me play the games in the order that they were released. Hence, the tale of young ICO was the first to unfold.

I will be honest. ICO was painfully boring for me. It took me precisely 6 hours to realize that if I wanted to finish this game, I would need to find something more substantial in this package. I did what was most natural, and switched to the other game in the collection. After an exceptionally long intro video (which I thoroughly enjoyed, btw), I realized Shadow of the Colossus was a different beast altogether. This game has left such a remarkable impression on me that I am compelled to write. The last time this happened, I was playing BioShock.

Let's begin with the vast playground of this game, the forbidden land at the end of the world. Never in my wildest imagination, did I believe that a minimalist open world had so much to offer. There were many moments in this game, when I had little interest in hunting a colossus, but more so in discovering how far and wide the forbidden lands went. More importantly, the open world would have fallen flat if its terrain were uni-dimensional and plain. (I would like to remind how painfully repetitive all of F.E.A.R.'s environments looked)
Instead what we have here is extremely diverse topography, and the overwhelming feeling of being but an insignificant speck in the vast expanse of nature. This feeling of sheer largesse is what left me in awe and complete bewilderment.

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Next, there are the colossi themselves. Gigantic, colossal, fearsome. Just a few adjectives for what are some of the most interesting game characters I have ever seen. Each colossus has its own traits, characteristic attack moves, and abode. The feeling that I had when I saw the first colossus is one of the rare moments when I have felt irrevocably against the odds in a gaming challenge. I saw the meager tools at my disposal; the bow & arrow, and the sword. I was literally left floundering, wondering what could I possibly do with these to bring down this Goliath.

Yet, I overcame the challenge. The moment was so charged with emotion, I actually had to breathe a sigh of relief. For a few moments, I had to drop the controller. I have played God of War 3 where the titans were similar in scale and destruction. But there was something more emotionally involving about this. Each colossus after that, was a challenge in not just how it must be awoken, but in how it must be vanquished. In fact, many colossi present with you with the biggest challenge of all. How do you scale them, and then stay planted? :)

A game with 16 characters to kill borders on mundane from the sounds of it. Yet, when you see them as 16 boss-fights, which is what they are, the game is anything but mundane or regressive. David battled one Goliath. Here, you battle 16.

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Finally, what makes SOTC so endearing is its minimal cast.
Wander, the protagonist in SOTC, is poles apart from Kratos, hunter of fiesty giants (the titans in his case). His tale is one of desperation, not revenge. His story is driven by hope, not hopelessness. It's his effort to go against the odds to reclaim what he believes in so ardently, that makes you want to play as him, and see him win. There is no antagonism. None of the colossi have, technically speaking, done you any wrong. They are not scourges of humanity. But vanquish them you must. Poke them in the eye while you sleep you must. For at the end of it all, you seek the resurrection of your beloved. Is that not a fair goal for such drastic battle then?

Then, there's Agro. Your steed, your sole companion on this perilous journey, and for all practical purposes, your only way to traverse the enormity of the forbidden land. He is a difficult steed to handle, yet, he never leaves your side. It's simply amazing how Agro has been designed. He certainly is a lot more useful than Ico's companion, Yorda!

All in all, there is plenty to explore and discover in Shadow of the Colossus. It's a poignant tale, a challenging game, and most importantly an immensely satisfying experience. For the majority of the game, you will remain, as the title of the game suggests, in the shadow of every colossus you encounter. But when you vanquish the beast, and it falls to the ground with an earth-shattering thud, you will emerge out of its shadow; emotionally charged, physically drained, and most importantly, victorious!

Play this if you have not. Your life is incomplete without it.

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#2
playstation

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^^you are my new friend now....Welcome to the Elite club! :cheers:

well written btw...repped.


also one of the best game ever made.....beautiful...even ico is very beautiful but then it can be boring if you not upto it...Overall I totally agree every gamer should play this game infact even non-gamer should play it....such is the epicneess of this game.


Now waiting for The Last Guardian. :cry:

#3
Zodakô

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Gr8 review dude...


Ico is over-rated and boring..I can't play it again but Shadow :majesty: ...

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#4
Irredeemable

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nice write up :cheers:

Never owned the ps2. My first home console since nintendo snes was the ps3 :P So, still on the fence whether to get SOTC or not.

#5
Big Boss

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Got this game for PS2. Its not looking good on my TV via component cables. :(
Anyone knows what is the download size of SoTC on PSN? I don't want to buy both games.

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#6
Zodakô

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ya man get SOTC don't buy ICO..Its pretty boring.. <_< ..

Shadow music is also amazing


Epic fight + epic music




:majesty:


Aegro >> that bitch Yorda... <_<

Edited by Zodakô, 23 February 2012 - 11:41 PM.

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#7
sudarsan

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SOTC is my favorite game of all time
MGS is my favorite series :hi2:

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#8
sudarsan

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Got this game for PS2. Its not looking good on my TV via component cables. :(
Anyone knows what is the download size of SoTC on PSN? I don't want to buy both games.


its around 6 GB i think

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#9
kushalrocks

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nice review bro :)

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#10
Yellow Flash Of The Leaf

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review o_O nice :good:

#11
speedy

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so nicely written

#12
TouchyFever

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great review..want me to go get it :thumbsup:

#13
Pyrotek

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Thanks folks! Your encouraging comments mean a lot.
As for SOTC, if anyone is on the fence about it, my only say is you must absolutely consider getting it. It'll reward you like few games ever will.
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#14
Puneet.Chandila

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Nice review dude, you have compelled me to play SOTC ;)

#15
Pushy

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nice write up :good:

See, Madness, as you know, is like gravity, all it takes is a little push

yeah, I might as well skip it mang. Watchdogs FTW :P        <<<-- DA on GTA5

#16
Ram Dante

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nice..I have just started playing it too, and have started to feel everything you've said! :)
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