Thoughts On Shadow Of The Colossus
The original Shadow Of The Colossus was released 13 years ago. Wow. That's a long time. That's longer than most careers of everyone I know. That's before modern smartphone's existed. That's before most people had decent internet. That makes SOTC a ridiculously old game. And I played it (or at least the remake for PS4) for the first time this past month.
Playing a game a decade after everyone has already proclaimed it as one of the greatest pieces of interactive entertainment ever created, is difficult. Trying to keep expectations in check is near impossible. Avoiding spoilers is near impossible, and not making certain assumptions about the game after hearing everyone else talk about it, is near impossible. Nevertheless I bought the PS4 remake, loaded it up and entered the mysterious world of Shadow Of The Colossus.
I'm not going to describe my second-by-second playthrough because enough clowns have already done that over the past decade. I'm just going to mention the things that stood out to me or surprised me. The most prominent of which was "You don't get to choose what order you fight the colossi in?!"
I don't know where I got this idea that you could take on the colossi in any order you wanted, but that was what I had assumed for years. It might have been because people used the words open world and sandbox interchangeably, mixing up the meanings. But I was disappointed to find out you had to take on each colossus in a linear order, which I felt took out some of the mystery of what I expected. I knew that you could only find colossi by following the light from your sword, but I had thought that this would just point to the nearest colossus, and that you could go in the exact opposite direction and find a different colossus if you chose to. It's not a super massive deal, but definitely wasn't what I was expecting.
My second biggest takeaway was that the camera, at times, was utter garbage. It prioritised showing off the landscape rather than letting me see where I was actually going. It would get stuck on Colossus armpits as I was trying to climb their back hair, and the rest of the time it would just be plain unresponsive and lead to way more frustrating moments than was acceptable.
And that's basically it for my whinging. The game is extremely well made, good looking and atmospheric. I like the game because it's straightforward, minimalist, and doesn't really waste the players time. It stands in stark contrast to modern AAA games with their millions of mechanics, micro-transactions and menu-driven faffery. In SOTC it's just you, your magical sword, a horse that couldn't care less about your plans, and 16 straddling behemoths. Although it's obvious some were shown a bit more love than others, when one is a giant freaking dragon/bird thing that you have to jump on and do aerial battle with, and then another is just a perturbed, overgrown goat.
There's not much more to say on SOTC that hasn't already been said. I just wanted to make sure my opinion was noted down so that history could ignore it forever more.