Support Andy, click to buy via us...
Such was the success of their first game (Ico) that it gave the development team a new identify. The rebadged Team Ico, returns with their distinct follow up Shadow of Colossus (SoTC).
Action adventure games are enjoyed for two reasons. They provide a variety of fast action encounters where you are fighting, fleeing or evading some enemy. They also provide a large world in which to explore and adventure. This exploration is usually driven by some particular plot-tension introduced early in the game that you must resolve.
As you adventure through the world, you encounter the action sequences through encounters with enemies and general hazards. Success in these encounters opens up more of the world to explore and provide new equipment.
Action adventure games usually consist of a variety of different activities that lead up to boss battles that bar the way to the next level. Shadow of the Colossus is a case study of just the exploration and boss battle parts of these games. It consists of tracking down and felling 16 unique Colossi.
By simplifying the experience to the bare bones hunt-encounter-kill, SoTC extenuates the experienced of confronting each of its massive Colossi. Other games in the genre use boss battles as a right of passage to the next stage. Here however the reward is the encounter and battle itself. This is again reflected in the varied means of killing the Colossi - often drawing on the game's impressive climbing physics.
Each monster has their own shape and behaviour - by the time you manage to bring them down you have developed something of a relationship with them. There is a degree of sadness in their defeat, something that brings the game unique weight and melancholy.
Although early colossi are easily located and despatched with, as the game progresses this takes an increasing amount of time. Unless you are particularly lucky it can take a good half hour to find your next foe, and then another thirty minutes to defeat them. I found that ninety minute sessions meant I could adequately enjoy the whole process.
The hunting and exploration should be relatively straight forward for the majority of players. Some experience helps when progressing the Colossi encounters - particularly when managing your remaining strength as you climb up their massive body.
Killing Colossi involved positioning yourself on their vulnerable points and plunging a sword into them - resulting in a spray of dark blood. As mentioned the defeat of the Colossi is then a sombre affair with the monsters falling to their knees as stringed music plays. For older players this may raise interesting questions about the desirability of the task in hand.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: