"Shadow of the Colossus was hyped to be a completely original experience of gaming. It pits a man against a large array of gigantic monsters called Colossus. It was also said to boast an amazing design in the arts department. Upon completion however, very few of the promised positive aspects were delivered in an effective way. Instead, what we got, was an absolutely huge land, with no enemies or action whatsoever in it, and a boss rush mode. "
Shadow of the Colossus was hyped to be a completely original experience of gaming. It pits a man against a large array of gigantic monsters called Colossus. It was also said to boast an amazing design in the arts department. Upon completion however, very few of the promised positive aspects were delivered in an effective way. Instead, what we got, was an absolutely huge land, with no enemies or action whatsoever in it, and a boss rush mode.
The story is so simplistic, that it's almost non-existent. Basically, there is a woman who is dead, and the main character wants to save her. It doesn't say who he is, who she is, or what relation they have. He brings her to a temple -- again, we get no light on the background behind this -- where he listens to a disembodied voice. Evidently, the main problem that lies before bringing the girl back to life, is a series of statues in the hall of a temple. Not to worry though, they can of course be destroyed, if you head out and kill the giant monsters known as the Colossus; And that's it. There's no further explanation, and no method to the madness.
Not moments after heading out of the temple, you realize the reason that so much emphasis is placed on the Colossus battles; There's not a single iota of fun left to be had anywhere else in the game. You're options outside of these battles are limited to getting on your horse, shooting your bow around at nothing in particular (save for a few lizards, which serve as no threat to you anyway), or lifting your sword to the air. Doing such, will cause the sun to point you in the direction of your next target. While not a terrible idea on it's own, it's simply no fun how far and out of the way these bosses are -- and it's even less fun actually getting there.
You can utilize your horse to cross the vast areas of land that separate you from the Colossi; But when you consider the fact that poor collision detecting appears in the horse's run at times, namely in the rocky areas of the game, it doesn't seem like such a large blessing. The horse will trudge along at a snail's pace in these areas. Thankfully, this rarely occurs in the flatter areas. No matter where you are headed though, you will be riding for a long time. The land is huge, and you'll very rarely be riding along straight stretches of land. Evidently, it is supposed to be fun making loops around cliffs, and occasionally jumping in some water, or climbing up a wall (at speeds no higher than our friends in the senior homes are capable of) to get to the next colossus on your hit list, is more fun than simply getting to the fight. The way I see it, if you are going to dump all your chickens into one basket, you better damn make sure that the basket is easy to reach.
To be fair, everything looks good, geometrically. Everything has a large number of polygons, and the water and lighting effects, for example, are amazing. However, the problem lies in both the animation of the main characters, and the severe overexposure of the same type of area. Sure the green grass fields look nice, as do the dreary dark canyons. However, once you've reached your umpteenth mile of plateau terrain, and a sickening number of canyons, they just lose all the magic. There are unique areas, yes, but after every fight, you go back to the same temple you began at -- and that means lots of retracing land you've already covered. As for the character's animation, it is so bad that it's laughable. The character, when unarmed, walks as if he were a 600 pound gorilla attempting the tight rope. When he has his sword out, he runs with one hand on his hip, and his other waving the sword, as if he had a thumbtack lodged into his rear.
Things do get better during the fight, but not much. Them music, while unnoticeable and bland in the rest of the game, does become quite good. And in fact, it is amazing to fight battles on such a huge scale. The Colossus completely dwarf you. You must find unique ways of climbing onto them, so that you can exploit their weakness. For example, one of these beasts requires that you shoot an arrow at the heel of his foot, and then climb onto his leg. The one after that, requires that you wait for him to lodge his sky-scraper sized sword into the ground, so that you can run up the blade, and jump onto his forearm. While excellent in theory, these are done very poorly in execution. As you climb, you'll be tossed around not like a ragdoll, but like a wet napkin doll. It's almost incomprehensible how little control you have over as you climb. Considering the size difference, it is realistic. It isn't fun though. You'll find yourself slipping and sliding all over the pace, and it's really not enjoyable, considering that these battles are the one chance you have to really "play", and the mechanics of the game make you unable to do so.
You'll repeat the process sixteen times before the game is through. You waste a fair amount of time tracking down the Colossi, surrounded by miles and miles of wasteland and nothingness, only to be thrown into combat with the beasts which serves little fun to be had. While not a terrible gimmick for a game, the way it was delivered was shameful. This is a game you should probably consider passing on, as the shallow gameplay doesn't live up to the hype in the least.
Community review by sayainprince (November 09, 2005)
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