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jord

Shadow of the Colossus

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I just picked up Shadow of the Colossus the other day, and I am blown away. This game, from the creators of Ico, is solid evidence that video games can be legitimate art. I had extremly high hopes going in due to the fact that Ico was one of my all-time favourite games, but this is just as involving and atmospheric. Essentially you are a lone wnaderer that, well, wanders beautiful landscapes to destroy 16 massive colossi. We're not just talking normal "boss" large here, you dangle from humongous birds and have to run along the backs of these lumbering beasts for minutes at a time to cover their length. Plot is minimal, essentially you try to revive a dead girl by taking down the beasts (I don't want to give much away, but the ending is more poignant and well-done than any movies i've seen recently).

Anyways, I realize calling a video game a brilliant work of art is the height of geekdom, but trust me...in this case it is more than called for.

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I am not a gamer (I think the last game I played was Tekken 3 back in 99). But I live with my brother who practically lives inside his PS2. His favorite games are GTA3, Manhunt, , Destroy all Humans, GTA Vice City and San Andreas. You know, the violent ones.

He bought Shadow of the Collosus when it came out and played it nonstop until he beat it three times (easy, intermediate and hard, I guess). I almost never sit down and watch him play games, but SOTC is different. It has a magical lonely quality to it. Also, it feels almost wrong that you are destroying these giant mythical creatures. My brother was so impressed with the game and talked about it obsessively. He told me last night that he has no desire to play any of his other games after playing SOTC, because now they almost seem crass and juvenile in comparison.

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Sigh... and all I've got is a measly Xbox. But I have been tempted to buy a PS2 just so I can play Shadow Of The Colossus, I'm so intrigued by it.

And I don't think calling a video game a work of art is terribly geeky. It's just that there are so few "artistic" games out there that the concept is still a little wierd to most, I think. And when most people think of "artistic", they probably think of visuals and music. But I'm a firm believer that gameplay, like user interfaces, is a definite artform. It is an art to get the right balance between maintaining a cohesive plot and giving the player enough freedom so that they can have an enjoyable experience, to find the balance such that the player doesn't even think about it. They just get caught up in the game's world and enjoy it.

(I say this as someone who nearly cried when Aeris was killed in Final Fantasy VII, FWIW.)

Edited by opus

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Even though I don't play videogames, I still consider them as valid a form of art/entertainment as movies. I beleive film snobs' attitude toward the VG market is similar to the way many people saw movies around 1910: a fad, a lower form of entertainment than opera or theatre.

Designing VG is already becoming more profitable than producing movies. What's more, Steven Spielberg knows it.

Just give it a decade.

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Sigh... and all I've got is a measly Xbox.  But I have been tempted to buy a PS2 just so I can play Shadow Of The Colossus, I'm so intrigued by it.

Measly? Can you mod a PS2? No... not that I would do such a thing.

arhitekt.gif

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I've also read some amazing things about this game. I'm really tempted to get it, but since the PS2 is in my older boys' room (7 & 10-year old), I'm very selective about our family game library. I'm aware the game is rated "T", but anyone want to chime in on the level of violence/gore/dark imagery in the game? Curious...

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From what I've seen in the various trailers and videos, there is some gore when you slay the various colossi (i.e. they spew forth black blood when cut by your sword).

BTW, the game has a score of 92 over at Metacritic.

Edited by opus

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They don't exactly spew blood. You have to climb up and stab the colossi in these "hex spots" (weak points in their armor) and a mysterious black mist comes out of the wounds.

BTW, has anyone seen the bizarre online marketing campaign for SOTC? My bro showed me what appeared to be home video footage of Russian archaeologists uncovering the frozen carcass of one of the collosi. When you go to the website on the burn-in on the video, it's a very legit-looking Russian geo-scientist survey site. There is almost no mention of the video on the site--it's all very boring expeditionary stuff.

Apparently there are a few of these sorts of videos floating around the Internet. I think it's kind of a cool idea.

Edited by finnegan

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On a somewhat related note, can a game make you cry?

In Bowen's poll, everyone agreed that films, music and books were more emotionally affective than games (in that order of preference). Yet 63 percent predicted that games would eventually equal, or even surpass, traditional media.

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On a somewhat related note, can a game make you cry?

In Bowen's poll, everyone agreed that films, music and books were more emotionally affective than games (in that order of preference). Yet 63 percent predicted that games would eventually equal, or even surpass, traditional media.

ha, that's a great article...I don't think I've ever cried during a game, but hopefully developers with a genuine vision continue to get more chances as the next generation roles around. Maybe the prices of the xbox 360 and ps3 will cause a few sobs though...

And yeah, there is a bit of gushing when you stab the collosi, but they're so big it's almost like stabbing the ground, not very personal. I guess the tone is fairly dark at times though, it's not the ususal brightly coloured game really. I don't know, maybe I'm just desensitized from Resident Evil 4.

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I guess the tone is fairly dark at times though, it's not the ususal brightly coloured game really

I played it tonight at the one of our GameStops and that was my first impression too. Not so much "dark" as grey... Everything seems to be awash in dull sepia tones, which is intentional i'm sure. That aside, it is beatifully rendered. I was just jumping around on an edge of a cliff enjoying the scenery when a massive Boss stomped nearby and gave me a wonderful jolt.

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Got the game today and just invested a blood-pressure-escalating hour hanging on the back hair of a pissed off Colossi. What a game! So far, everything about the design and execution is awe-inspiring. I think this (along with a handful of other recent titles) has taken the PS2 architecture about as far as it can possibly go.

A couple observations early on:

* You can explore these misty, haunting environments for as long as you like without pressure to move on in the game. I realize some may find this aspect detracts from the gameplay, but I love the option of sightseeing these amazing landscapes without annoying critters or beings charging me, demanding a swordfight. This also serves to ratchet up the tension when you finally do hear the thunderous footsteps of the approaching Boss Man.

*The lumbering, enormous Collosi themselves are amazing to behold. Even more exhilirating is the ability to scale these beasts in battle and hack away as your character is shaken like a rag doll.

For those with children, the game is rated "T" for good reason. The beasts are pretty terrifying by themselves, but the repeated stabbing of the sword required to bring these critters down is a little disturbing. You dont just hack, you must bludgeon these monsters over and over and over again. These attacks are accompanied by a Samurai X-style arterial fountain of black blood. For those combined images, I am not planning on letting my 7 1/2 or ten year old play this for a long time. Looks like a lot of fun for dad though.

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I seriously need to borrow someone's PS2.

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These attacks are accompanied by a Samurai X-style arterial fountain of black blood.

It's not blood. It's a black smog that represents the mystical forces that brought these creatures to life. When you arrive at the temple, the beings that come out of the floor are comprised of the same dark fog.

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I missed this thread before I started the other one. I saw SotC a while ago when someone brought it to work. The art direction is outstanding and it's an impressive technological achievement as well. The mood created by the game is great, but I've only seen the first few colossi.

It's an interesting exercise in minimalist gameplay, and yes, a great artistic achievement visually. I've been meaning to pick up a copy for about a month, but I got Soul Calibur 3 instead... smile.gif

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I've been so busy over the past few weeks I havent had the chance to really dig into the game, but i'm continually astounded by its scope and beauty. The battle with the eel-like Water Colossus, coupled with the dramatic score, provided one of the most exhilirating gaming experiences I've ever had on the PS2.

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