Shadow Of The Colossus
From the sublime to the simple, it's hard to sum up a game that has so little and yet so very much to share. Essentially comprised of sixteen boss battles, Shadow of the Colossus is an excellent little gem from the wonderful minds that brought us Ico, one of my personal favorites. Be warned though, with adventure comes hardship, and in the case of this game, that hardship is a certain level of frustration and aggravation that might prove too much for some. But the reward is great, great indeed.
Armed only with a magic sword, a bow, and your trust horse Agro, you'll spend most of your time in this game riding over the lush, verdant, dank, murky, foggy, and all about stunning terrain, guided by beams of light reflecting from your sword. As the sword leads you through the terrain, which is absolutely vast and stunning, you'll be directed to the Colossoi themselves, which are yet another of the game's truly visual delights. They look alive, and unfortunately in some cases, very sympathetic. I suppose, in the end, what I'm trying to say is that even if this game is limited by what the PS2 can do (after all, we're less than a month away from the launch of the Xbox 360), it still looks beautiful.
Control wise, the game has something in the way of issues. Each boss fight is a bit of a puzzle, using the terrain and your intellect to get to the Colossoi's weakpoints, but actually getting there can be a little annoying. In the open terrain, the camera has a tendency to give you a very cinematic, but also very limiting view, that doesn't quite help in navigating the world at large. While your character can do a lot on a Colossus, they're the equivalent of fighting a sixty foot tall bucking bronco, and sometimes just keeping your character on top of one can be a pain.
That said, with a simple interface, very very light narrative, and some of the best boss fighting I've ever seen, I loved Shadow of the Colossus. It has a few drawbacks, and it is definitely for those of us that are total cinematic gameplay geeks, but if you can stride past the frustration, you'll find a great game waiting for you.
Download Shadow Of The Colossus
It's the next game from the guys behind cult hit Ico, so expectations and oversaturated light effects have both been set to maximum. A young boy, having lost a loved one, brings her inert body to a temple. There, he is given a task: defeat the roaming colossi to bring her back. So, sword in hand, the boy hops on his horse and sets off to slay the towering beasts.
Epic, enthralling, and otherworldly. The boy starts his quest at the temple in the center of a massive wasteland. You ride on horseback, hunting colossi and dismounting for a brief platforming section before facing each one. Once a colossus has been spotted, it must be taken down. Raising the sword identifies the colossus' current weak point, which changes and moves during the battle. The colossi themselves are huge, multi-tiered environments, with platforms, fur, limbs, weapons, wings...and they don't like the little boy climbing on them one bit. The dynamic feel of a boy struggling to take down creatures dozens of times his size is incredible, and the way the colossi buck, twirl, thrash, and swat at their interloper makes for good drama and good gameplay.
The game's artistic vision pushes the PS2 hardware to the limit-yielding some choppy, sluggish visuals and collision problems. Luckily, the developers still have a few months to fix it....