Nov 2, 2020

Shadow of the Colossus - authentic and atmospheric

A review of the game Shadow of the Colossus - a PlayStation exclusive
In a harsh, almost empty world, a guy tries to revive a girl. He needs to murder quite a few amazing beasts - and this looks a lot like an awful crime, totally not a great feat. Players touch the atmosphere of despair, witness struggles of the hero, and battle fantastic creatures, exploring the deserted mountain lands... The experience is so unusual and authentic!

Shadow of the Colossus was initially released in 2005-06 for the PlayStation 2 consoles. A remastered version is available on the PS3 and also through the game streaming service PlayStation Now. In 2018, the gaming world got a strongly improved remake for the PS4. Many gamers think it’s a unique gaming masterpiece, totally worthy of delving in.

So, why is Shadow of the Colossus so awesome? What should gamers expect from this game?

The game develops:
#Attention     #Logic     #Accuracy     #Constancy     #Spatial orientation     #Improvisation


Most of the modern games are filled with people, animals, buildings, and various imaginable objects. And when you move through them, you meet interesting characters, minor opponents, side quests, pleasant collectibles, and lots of other stuff. There is nothing of that sort in Shadow of the Colossus.

The hero walks around rocks, and somehow even trees with rare birds don’t create the impression of a blooming life. The place reflects the internal emptiness of the guy, his sorrow, and readiness to do anything for rescuing the girl. Even if the consequences are tough.

It is a very special situation for gaming. It shows how gaming artists can build the world masterly and unusually to convey the mood and create a specific experience.

Strange hero, weird actions

Of course, each battle of the game is a piece of gaming art, although it’s hard to feel these battles noble and glorious. A dark power of grief and despair pushes the guy to do some seemingly obvious crimes. The peaceful colossi don’t threaten the world and don’t take any princesses to their castles. They just live their life and then the game hero comes and kills them.

Only the end of the story tries to 'justify' the whole process and makes it more understandable. That ending brings so much emotions into the game, but still, it doesn’t make the whole motivation more… classic for a game hero.

Boss battles

Anyway, we have super clever and well elaborated boss battles. 

Game bosses are so different. How to approach them? What are their weaknesses? Most of the time, they are pretty strong and deft (by the way, it is not so with the hero of Shadow of the Colossus - his horse is much more heroic in the traditional sense).

So, if you are not eager to find all the shiny lizards and fruits to get all the PlayStation trophies, fighting colossi will be the main activity in this game. And each of these creatures is a challenge for your gaming mind.

A version for you

The PS4 remake of Shadow of the Colossus is visually better and has some significant gameplay improvements - and it will run on the PS5 as well. But the PS3 version is so authentic, it doesn’t feel like an old game. The developers managed to use limitations of the hardware to make the playing process even more atmospheric - for example, fog that allows them to load limited pieces of quite a big game world.

Also, it’s worth noting that the game is not of the mass gaming culture (it’s not a Battle Royale obviously). Shadow of the Colossus is not for everyone - it’s only up to you to decide whether this is your cup of tea.

See also…

Another atmospheric game is Pinstripe. It is much smaller and of a different genre, but some shades of  the emotional tone is quite similar.

A review of the indie game Pinstripe on the gaming blog Very Good Games