9comments Shadow of the Collosus, Part 1
Posted Thu 13th May 2010 9:02pm by Jim Hargreaves
Shadow of the Colossus is a cult classic among PlayStation 2 titles. Greeted by stellar reviews, though this title was slow to be recognized in the West it is now one of the most sought after PS2 games by serious enthusiasts and is held in high esteem throughout the gaming community.
SotC was developed by Team Ico whose previous title, the aptly-named Ico, similarly did not receive critical attention in the West until several years after its release. Ico offered a lush and eerie environment, a uniquely simple concept, and a straightforward gameplay mechanic. Shadow of the Colossus is often considered a spiritual successor to Ico and follows in the same narrative vein, focusing on a pair of central characters.
The two leading roles of SotC are the adventurous Wander, and his trusty steed Agro. Together they stray into the Forbidden Land, which is cordoned off from the outside world by steep mountains and perilous oceans. The story kicks off in the halls of an ancient temple where a young woman is laid to rest with Wander at her side. In order to bring her back from the afterlife, Wander is instructed to vanquish the sixteen Colossi represented by towering statues which line the halls of the temple.
Each “chapter” begins with a heavenly voice directing Wander and his steed to the direction of the next Colossus, and offering a riddle-like hint as to how it can be slain. The player then mounts up and rides out into the vast plains which make up the majority of the game world. By raising his sword to the light Wander’s blade reflects a beam which always points in direction of his next target, thereby doing away with conventional mini-maps for navigation. The beam of light is accurate, but players will have to occasionally read the map from the pause menu to pinpoint the locations of the next Colossus.
Time is of the essence in Shadow of the Colossus, hence Agro is vital tonavigating the vast Forbidden Land. It can take a good twenty minutes or soto reach your next destination, even with your steed moving at a steadypace.
What may strike gamers as a little odd is that there are only sixteen enemies in the entire game. Aside from the Colossi, the only other beings inhabiting the game-world are Wander, Agro and a host of smaller wildlife. Rather than being a strike against the game, however, the down-time between Colossus battles gives players an opportunity to absorb the beautiful surroundings. The Forbidden Land is decidedly tranquil, and in terms of environment and establishing mood Shadow of the Colossus set the bar high for the PlayStation 2 titles which followed.
This is the end of our first chapter in the Game Kudos Klassics series, and part one to our Shadow of the Colossus coverage. We will be returning next week in which we describe how the unique gameplay and presentational values are just as vital to the game’s critical success. Caution is advised for those who have yet to complete the full game, as the last segment of chapter two will be dedicated the spoiler-filled ending in Shadow of the Colossus. We hope you have enjoyed this article, and that you check out more of content lingering in the realms of Retrospective.
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