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Monday, May 9, 2011

Shadow of the Colossus.


So... This is the game I always love to bring up when I argue about the artistic value in gaming. I've played lots of games in my life but there's only a handfull that made such a big emotional impact on me. I'll never forget the whole feeling I got on my first playthrough, the unbelievable music, the deeply emotional story and the heart-braking ending. So let's take things from the beggining.






The game starts with a cutscene showing the hero named Wander crossing this huge bridge, to get into this secret realm, on his horse (Agro) carrying a woman. On the center of the land there is a temple where he communicates with a voice named Dormin. He tells them that he can bring his woman back from the dead with one requirement; Wander must kill the 12 Colossi that inhabit the land, huge guardians, who are possesed by a dark force. Pretty simple.

or not.

So he wanders throught the land trying to find all the Colossi and kill them on by one. After the assignment comes the first shock. You start wondering into a land that is completely empty and pretty much dead! The only things alive are you, your horse and the Colossi. Also, there is no sound present, nothing, just the sound of your horse's galloping is breaking the silence. This super minimalistic design has the first deep psychological effect on the player; the land is so peacefull but also so threatening on the same time, also it's so depressing and lonely. You find ruins on your journey, broken structures with plants all around them, giving the hole realm a feel of abandonement, like something terrible happened and everything went exticnt, everything seems left and forgotten, untill you meet the Colossus you're looking for.



Here's where the super minimalistic design turns upside down and becomes super maximalistic! The (awesome) soundtrack kicks in, and the unbelievably huge creature comes towards you. From here the game turns to action/puzzle where you have to climb on the Colossus' body without losing your grip (theres a grip meter for this) and stab him in his designated weak spots. Gameplay wise it's very addictive even though not exceptionally hard (except the last few Colossi) so the game runs smoothly. The Colossi have great design, they look like a steampunk nightmare, half made from grass or wood and half made by metal and stone. Here though comes the second shock. Those creatures (most of them) are not even aggressive! They just stand there or sleep or fly peacefully around untill you come and start poking on them. After a while you start feeling bad you're killing those majestic creatures and start questioning the true motives of Dormin.





I can't say more about the story without spoiling the game for those who haven't play it yet. I can just say that it has one of the most memorable finales I've ever seen, truely heartbraking.



So, what makes this game art? What makes it a so memorable and deep experience? I'd say the combination of great writing-fantastic sountrack-great atmosphere. What happens after you get off Agro and upon seeing the last Colossus in the distance will always stay in my mind, so atmospheric, so emotional!  And the ending oh the ending!
Yeah ok, I could spend hours talking about this masterpiece. Maybe I shouldn't talk at all and just post screenshots and tracks from the OST (titled "Roar Of Earth" btw), I don't know, I did my best to show to those that haven't play this game why it is so great. Go get a PS2 now (or an emulator) and play this masterpiece now, or wait for the re-release on HD on PS3 along with Ico, the first game of the same developer.


Now, who can wait for the Last Guardian?

10/10 (and more)



55 comments:

  1. One of my favorite games of all time! I want the HD remake so bad! :D

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  2. The graphics are beautiful. It looks like an awesome game!

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  3. Never played this either. But Im gonna check it out for sure!

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  4. 10/10 really? I passed up this game because it came out late in the PS2's life, maybe I should give it a second look.

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  5. If you already have a PS2 you should check it DEFFINETELY, it's one of the 2-3 best games i've ever played!

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  6. There's a spiritual sequel for this one on PS3, not sure what is it called. I just know that there's some giant bird with you whole time

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  7. Every hear of Video Games Live? Its a concert where a huge symphony orchestra plays video game music. I got third row tickets for it a few months ago and they played the music from this game. My mind was blown.

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  8. Yeah, this is The Last Guardian, and it looks awesome! Last time I checked it will be out on late 2011.

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  9. A BluRayBoy: That's awesome, I'd surely love to be in this concert :)

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  10. hmm, I never got those emulators to work. Maybe if I did I'd play this and metal gear solid. I'll take a look, always wanted to play this

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  11. One of the best gaming experiences I've ever had. Love that game. They need to re-do it for PS3.

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  12. Im gonna check it out for sure!

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  13. Finally! I thought i were the only one to have played this game. It was so good. And very impressive from an artistic point of view. Loved every bit of it.


    Check out my blog for latest Assassin's Creed Revelations news!
    awesomeexposed.blogspot.com

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  14. It is moments like these games which make you love gaming.

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  15. Sounds realy nice, i think im gonna try this

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  16. wow such a good game im playing this today again!

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  17. Great, I should give this a try!

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  18. Never played this one but seems nice, i'll give it a try!

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  19. Missed this the first time around, looking forward to the remake of this and ico

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  20. I've wanted to play this so bad for so long!

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  21. I wouldn't give it a 10/10 but it's still a great game

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  22. no sound except for your steps and then suddenly a huge boss? that sound really interesting.

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  23. Colossus is such a damn beautiful game..

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  24. This game is beautiful... And that's why it's considered as art :)

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  25. Looks amazing, but I must admit I;ve never played it.

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  26. Have you tried Europa Universalis?

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  27. Looks epic, gonna try it soon :)

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  28. This looks great. I love the ambient look to this game

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  29. Awesome graphics, i wish to play this game soon.

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  30. never played this before but your review makes it worth trying out.

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  31. I've heard such great things about this game yet I've never played it. :(

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  32. you've chosen some really amazing screenshots that capture the epicness of the game.

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  33. awesome art in this game, i didn't knew the game before i read this, but you made me want to buy it!

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  34. i think you have to run around to much and not enough fighting this is kinda boring

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  35. I have it here, but my gf loaned out the ps2... it's back now though so I'll blog about it soon as well! (read it plox?!)

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  36. fantastic review, and I really mean it - couldn't agree with you more

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  37. Interesting review, keep it up.

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  38. i remember when it came out, it still looks like a great game

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  39. A fine example of interactive storytelling, using images, sounds and atmosphere rather than words. A simple story that could have just as easily been a 50 word poem, made into an immersive, consuming experience. SotC just wouldn't work on any other medium apart from gaming. Taking part in the destruction of Earth's ancient wonders in order to save the one you love is what makes it personal and emotionally engaging. The washed out, melancholic color palette is there to emphasize how empty and desolate this fantasy world is without its giant creatures. Everything exists for them and because of them, you are but an unwelcome guest, as is true for humanity on planet Earth. Yet the game's ending makes a statement, that through destruction springs rebirth. Sometimes, when you've done everything you possibly could, all you can do is let go and let life take its course.

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