Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On the Shoulders of Giants

"Thy next foe is..."
- Dormin

So I guess it could be said that most, if not all, of the video games I've played as a kid were released on Nintendo consoles. We weren't exactly that privileged to be able to afford a Dreamcast or a Playstation back then, but those were days when children still actually went outside to play. Good times, methinks.

Anyway, I find it cool that some games I've only read in magazines as a kid are being remastered and re-released on contemporary consoles. One such title that I've always wanted to play was Shadow of the Colossus, which was bundled with Ico and released a few months ago for the PS3.

Basically, the game pits the player against sixteen colossi scattered across a seemingly abandoned landscape. The game is deliberately designed to be as minimalistic as possible, as evidenced by the lack of elements so commonly found in adventure games nowadays - side quests, grinding and countless mooks whose deaths don't really hold meaning in the grand scale of the game's lore. The game lays things bare at the onset - that it's just the player against the colossi in a battle to the death. Because of this, there's a genuine feeling of accomplishment for taking down each of the massive creatures.

Another thing of note is that plot elements are sparse and a lot of things are left to the player's imagination. The main character, Wander, merely seeks to resurrect a lady and it's up to the player to fill in the details. One cannot help but wonder about how the slumbering colossi, the forbidden land and its scattered ruins are connected, as well as think about the fate of the people who built them. These elements make the players feel that they are the unwelcome intruders in this otherwise placid land and raise the question of whether or not what they're doing is for a greater cause or merely a selfish and shortsighted act.

In my opinion, Shadow of the Colossus is just as much a game as it is a work of art, in the same vein as games such as Dear Esther and Journey.

I'm looking forward to playing Ico soon and I hope it's just as satisfying as this game.

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