Shadow of the Colossus Reader Review
I like climbing, I always have. Trees, walls, ladies, they are all there to be vertically conquered. I've had my successes and my failures, but the big kid inside me can't stop climbing. Thank goodness for the first virtual climbing simulation in the form of Shadow Of The Colossus. I don't have to hurt myself anymore with my compulsion to scale all things vertical, the worst that will happen is that I'll get arthritis from the rumbles of the Playstation 2's Dual Shock (TM).
When I climb, I usually leave my sword at home (otherwise it pricks my thigh) but SOTC actively encourages me to bring it along. In fact, climbing without it is fairly useless.
You are a boy, with a dead (sleeping?) girl. You are all alone in a big world with only a horse for company. You can ride the horse, but only via the saddle. A "Big Voice" tells you that you might be able to resurrect (waken?) the girl if you do one of two things.
- Listen to U2 for a whole day
- Slay 16 giants
Obviously, the hero picks option 2.
Obligatory Synopsis Over
And that's where we pick things up. Take your sword, ride your horse, and go slay a skyscraper. Don't punch it though, you'll hurt your hand. Initially, you get a kind of WTF???!!??11?? feeling when riding around on your trusty steed (which shall henceforth be known as 'Silver', despite the daft name already allocated to said 2-D sprite). Silver is a bitch. Not that he's a girl, just that he's a bitch to control. Until you let him guide you that is. Unfortunately, you have to keep spanking the 'x' button to make him go fast. I've already worn the 'x' from my button with my thumb by trying to make Silver go at more than a snails pace. This horse is probably one of the best reasons ever for making glue, and if he wasn't impervious to my sword or arrows, I'd already have him boiled down so that he would actually be useful. I'm not here to review the horse though, so I apologise for getting carried away.
Ride the sonofabitch!
So of you go with Silver between your legs, happy as a pig in sh*te. Luckily, your sword is made of highly reflective and Colossus magnetising material. This means that if you hold your sword up, it will reflect sunlight and the resulting sunbeam will point you in the general direction of your goal. I tried this earlier today for real, but the only Colossus I managed to track down was my cat, and I didn't have the heart to stab her in the head. I may do so though in the interests of this review.
Follow the light!
No signposts are required, and satnav is just a waste of money. The world in which you travel is much nicer than real life. Stick your head out your front door and compare it if you don't believe me. It's so nice, there is even a biscuit named after it. So you ride the little horsey into the distance, all the while fighting with a barsteward of a camera, which wants to show you only what it wants, and not what you want, and when I dont get what I want, I get cross. So yes, the camera is carp.
zomg it's massive!
Now we're cooking with gas! The light inevitably leads you to one of the aforemention Colossi, and this is where things get pretty fantastic. The Colossus will come into view via a cut scene, and it's at this point that jaw and floor collide. Don't worry, it's temporary. Pick up your jaw and charge like Kate Moss towards the cocaine in pursuit of the giant. Now, how do we actually get on to the bugger? Helpful, though cryptic hints appear in the form of the 'Big Voice'. I'm tempted to score the game a 10 on the usefullness of this voice alone. You'll need the 'Big Voice' though, as nothing is what it seems in SOTC. Once you have stopped gawking in awe at the lovely graphics, which are so atmospheric you will actually 'become' the hero, you get to the task at hand.
Up, Up and away!
Stab him, shoot him, do whatever you need to bring him down so you can start to climb the mountain. The Colossi are a mad hybrid of animal and building, and only certain parts are actually scaleable. Unfortunately, you have a grip meter which only allows you to hang on for a certain length of time. I tried this out earlier by hanging on to the top of my wardrobe with my feet off the ground, and I eventually had to let go. I love realism in games. So up you go, climbing by grabbing on to hair and precarious ledges. Eventually, if you're lucky and remembered your rabbits foot, you'll get to the top.
Shiny, it's shiny!
The colossus will do it's utmost to shake you off. I even heard one fart in the hope that the stench would incapacitate me. Have you ever smelled (smelt?) a giant's fart? It's not pleasant. So you hang on for grim death, taking refuge in small nooks to allow your grip meter to recharge. Then you see your goal. A great big glowing rune, showing the weakspot of the Colossus. Stab it, stab it like you are ritually killing the fatted calf. Try to hang on while doing this, and eventually the big girls blouse hits the floor like a deck of cards.
That felt good!
It sure did. It was pretty special actually. I think I'd like to do this again, especially if the other Collossi are as exquisitely rendered in their designs. Thank goodness I have another 15 to go then. Some folk have mentioned the feeling of 'guilt' when taking down a Colossi. I feel no such thing, only an inescapable sense of TAKE THAT BITCH which probably says more about me than I care to admit.
Lovely. Stupid word, but it's perfectly appropriate to describe this game. Despite the main world being empty, and the camera being the spawn of Hitler, you will take the time to roam around and discover things. You will hold off defeating the next Colossus to see what's over the horizon.
I haven't mentioned ICO!
Until now. ICO is the perfect companion to this game, and they share the same art direction and compelling story. It's not ICO 2 by any stretch of the imagination, but it takes the story in an amazing new direction. Yorda was a bloody bore anyway.
Suck it and see!
Thirty quid will get you this game. It does have flaws, but they are technical flaws. Real gamers (similar to those found on gamefaqs) will look past such things and enjoy the game for what it is. It's a journey and there are mountains to be climbed. Become the hero on the horse and love where the game is taking you. I'm convinced that I no longer want to live in the real world, but in a world where giants are waiting to be climbed, conquered and slayed.
And no, I'm not gh3y.
9 / 10