Every console has a certain amount of games that are said to be the defining moments of that generation of gaming. Many of us have heard the tales of Space Invaders, Joust, Super Mario World, Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy VII. While some of us have lived those days and enjoyed them thoroughly, there are still quite a few gamers left who chose to sit on the fence and perhaps miss out on an experience like no other. This is why I have started this feature for the readers of PlayStation Universe. If a game has received some notoriety in the past and has been claimed to be a PlayStation masterpiece in the field of gaming, I’ll be checking it out to give you my final verdict.
This marks my first departure into the world of past generation’s titles. I hope you guys enjoy it and for those of you sitting on that fence, hopefully you’ll now fall to either side.
Title: Shadow of the Colossus
Current Price: $14.99 (Used)
Status: Hyped as one of the more definitive games of the PlayStation 2 life cycle.
“After playing it for a while and slaying 5 colossi, I tip my hat. This far, I had only heard people mumbling about the masterpiece it was. Maybe it was because I wasn’t mature enough to understand all connotations portrayed in this game. The gameplay, art style, story, music, colossi, and everything else not listed. Everything is blended perfectly into a game that should not be considered anything less than a masterpiece — A work of art.” – Thorzilla
“No game has awed me as much as SotC has when you stumble across your first Colossi. You come around that corner on your horse into a huge open area and this beast that seams 500 feet tall is lumbering around, and when it sees you, the music picks up and is probably the most epic game I have ever played.” – Scape
“There are so many ‘I can’t believe I can do this in a game’ moments in SotC. The gameplay is basic and yet ridiculously deep. I replayed the game literally last week, and I jumped back into Oblivion. The horse and controls of Oblivion feel like a SNES game compared to what you can do on your horse in SotC, how you move around, grab things…. It’s way ahead of its time. I’d even say for gameplay, it’s still ahead of maybe all PS3 and 360 games released thus far. Sounds stupid, but it’s true.” – Skulpt
My Verdict: Shadow of the Colossus is a tale of a young man named Wander on his quest to save the life of the woman he loves. While this may sound like a typical story for any adventure/RPG styled game, Team ICO manages to bring this story to an entirely new level with not only innovative gameplay but with a world that truly pulls you in and engulfs you within its atmosphere. Equipped with only a bow, a magical sword, and your trusty steed, Agro; you must conquer and defeat 16 colossi in order to restore life to the fallen maiden.
During this adventure, you’ll be astonished with a beautifully rendered world that feels years ahead of its time. With the ability to freely roam throughout the environment, you’ll find yourself just riding Agro around and exploring the vast peninsula you’re provided. Even if you’ve experienced such beauty as Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and Metal Gear Solid 4, you’ll still be left in awe at the art and animation direction that Team ICO took in Shadows of the Colossus.
On top of providing a vivid world that will leave its imprint within your gaming soul forever, the developers concocted a masterful score of melodies and effects. From the pleasant sounds of Agro’s feet pounding into the earth below you to the ramped up fast-tempo beat provided once the colossi has risen for you to strike down, the game does a tremendous job stringing together both tension and excitement.
While all of this sounds great, none of it would matter if the gameplay provided didn’t meet the standards of everything else surrounding it. Honestly, this is where I found the game to shine the most. Considering a lot of titles revolve around hack ‘n’ slash or shoot’em up styles of play, SotC offers up an aesthetic mix of both puzzle-solving and semi-platforming elements in order to bring down each towering Colossi.
An example would be to let the colossi attack you and strike a cement platform in order for his armor to dishevel and fall apart. This would give you the opportunity to scale his large body by climbing up his fur to his weakness point at the top of the colossi’s head. Having to discover the unique tactic needed to overcome each Colossi helps prolong each battle and truly makes it memorable for the gamer at hand.
I’m sure this title is sounding like it is pretty flawless, but don’t be so sure just yet, it does have one glaring problem that prevents it from being a perfect 10 overall. The main issue I had with Shadow of the Colossus was the terrible control and clunky camera. The game sometimes gives you awkward angles to work with and it’s often a chore to line the camera up manually as well. Though this does sometimes create a much more difficult level of play, it doesn’t detract from the entire experience of the game too much.
Overall, Team ICO has provided gamers with a great supposed prequel to their first title, ICO. While many gamers passed on Shadows of the Colossus, it is still readily available to be bought at your local used game store. In my opinion, I’d pick this gem up as soon as possible. Once it becomes one of those hard to find titles, it wouldn’t surprise me if the pricing point on sites such as eBay skyrockets without warning.
Worthy of the Hype