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Apocalypse Tribe HQ _ Entertainment _ Shadow of the Colossus

Posted by: Crushinator Nov 10 2005, 04:53 AM

Pure genius. It's the only thing I can say to describe this game. Gameplay, graphics, story; all reach or pass the apogee of current videogame experiences.

The premise is simple: 16 giant monsters (Colossi) roam the land, and you gotta take em down. All you have is your sword, a bow and arrow, and your trusty horse. You start with these tools, and it's all you ever get or need.

The story presentation is minimalist, but very powerful. In the opening you are simply shown your character carrying a young woman to an altar. When he arrives, a booming voice tells you that if you wish to bring her back to life, you must kill the Colossi, destroying the idols built to them. You never get told what your character's relationship is to the girl, but he is determined to go to any means to revive her, so you set to your task.

The world is VAST and constantly streaming, no load times ever, except when you start a new game or die. From the outset you have freedom to roam anywhere you want, but you can only tackle the current target Colossus. To find it, you hold your sword to the sky and follow the reflection of the sunlight. Once you reach your destination then the real action begins...

Every colossus is effectively a "stage" unto itself. If you think you have fought big bosses in other video games, think again. For perspective everyone here can relate to, the first Colossus is about as big as Olga Flow from the end of PSO. They only get bigger and bigger (ok, there are 2 "shrimps" but they make up for their size in pure rage!) as you progress.

Taking them down is usually a 3-fold task. First you need to figure out their weak point(s), again reflecting the sun's light towards them. Second, you gotta figure out how to get onto the colossus to attack it. They definetly don't sit still for you, and once you get on them they sure as hell try to shake/knock you off. Finally, you have to maneuver around the colossus, hanging off their fur, running across their armor, and leaping from limb to limb to reach the weak points and topple the beasts.

The weak points are usually in a hard-to-reach spot where you need to be hanging to stab at it, so strategic planning of your movements is important. Time is also of the essence because you have a stamina meter, so you can't just hang on forever, and different actions will drain your stamina more quickly (say hanging upside-down by one arm as opposed to crouching so you don't lose your footing on a bucking Colossus).

I'm probably going on too long, but this game is just completely breathaking. My jaw was wide open from the moment I encountered the first colossus to the shocking ending. The contrast between the serene "traveling" segments when you are on the way to the Colossus, and the chaos and intensity during the battles gives a great pace to the game, and the music backs up every scene perfectly.

It took me about 11 hours to clear it the first time on normal, and then about 5 on hard (it's noticeably easier once you know the "tricks" to fighting the Colossi, and how to travel to them quickly. But at least hard mode gives them more HP, more weak points you need to attack, and they try to shake you off a lot harder.) There's also a time attack mode that gets unlocked after you clear the game, and the challenges are ROUGH.

Bottom line: Top notch in every aspect, easily one of the best titles on PS2, and a definete contender for my personal GOTY. The entire game feels like you are part of some epic fairy tale, and every detail shines with polish and love from the developers. It's only $40 so go buy it now!

Posted by: HC82 Nov 10 2005, 06:35 PM

I was thinking of renting the game myself, seeing as its being hailed as a sleeper hit. Now I might consider buying it; all I need is to get off my ass and spend some money.

Posted by: unitself Nov 11 2005, 09:10 AM

Eveything Crushinator said and more!
I am defeated Colossi number 5 last night and I can't wait to see the rest. beigesmile.gif

About this "every level is a boss" concept...
Usually, I do not like boss fights. I am much more a lots of little enemies to constantly battle type player. I like knowing that it's going to take 3 or 4 hits to take the guy down and then move to the next one. Repeat. For some reason however, these "bosses" in SoC don't bother me at all. I guess because, basically the game really isn't all that hard. Don't get me wrong though, the game is a total challenge and there are many "swear at the screen in rage" moments, but it actually takes quite a bit to die. At least so far... as I am only at stage 5. Once you're on the giant beast, he does try to shake you off but the are always "safe-ish" areas in which to rest up and the "hot spots" are usually pretty well marked or at least in a place where you would imagine that they should be.
So far, I have only had to cheat once because I wasn't patient and I could not find a way to get up onto the Colossus. I was running around for over an hour doing what I thought needed to be done, but I could just never quite climb up. So, I read up on what I needed to do. If you can at all help it, don't cheat though because finding the way onto the colossi is almost as exhilarating as defeating one.

To sum up, if you're looking for a quick, jump on and smash some baddies type of game, look elsewhere. If you've got an hour or so per game sitting and want to be totally engrosed in a story and scenery and just general bad-ass-ness, buy SoC today.

Posted by: Crushinator Nov 11 2005, 05:49 PM

I agree, SCU. Once the trick "clicks" to beating the Colossus, and then the action music starts pumping up as you beat his ass... no better feeling.

I just found out that you can unlock new weapons and items through the time-attack mode, so now I'm trying to beat all the records and beef up my arsenal buttrock.gif

Also, lemme guess... the one you were stuck on was #4, right? The only way I figured that one out on my own was I went to go hide in the catacombs to regen my health, and got up to get a soda beigelaugh.gif When I came back, I was like... "why isn't he stomping around?" Good times.

Posted by: unitself Nov 12 2005, 05:02 PM

Yeah, it was number 4. Honestly, I was jumping onto the back of his ankle and falling off for like an hour before I gave up. :D

Time attack? New Weapons? I had no idea! No one has even mentioned that before. Cool! Something to look forward to after I finish.

Posted by: hamstar Nov 12 2005, 06:35 PM

I thought no. 16 was fun.
Spent some time screaming "charge" while having fire balls flung at you makes for classic entertainment.

Posted by: unitself Nov 17 2005, 09:21 AM

Damn colossus number 9!

Frickin challenging, this one is!!! I have to say, this colossus is pissed! I thought #8 was mad, but at least I had somewhere to hide. beigesmile.gif


Posted by: HC82 Nov 17 2005, 10:21 PM

I recently picked this game up and I must say that it is all about atmosphere. Just finished Colossi number 9. I'm finding this game to be fairly easy, but maybe things will change.

Oh, cool... water geysers!!!

Oh wow, a giant turtle-thing. I don't see fur to climb on... It looks slow and seems to have poor balance... hmm???

The atmosphere is amazing and each colossi brings a unique feel. Climbing on top of its head and then stabbing it makes for a super cool time. This game gives a truly epic feel, but the drop in frame rate is a minor problem. The problem I'm seeing is that once you figure out how to get on a colossus, you do the same thing.

I'll need to play further before giving a full analysis.

Posted by: Alisha Dec 26 2005, 01:22 AM

i got this game for christmas and all i can say is WOW masterpiece a fucking working of art

Posted by: AC9breaker Dec 29 2005, 11:03 AM

Got this game a few days ago as a late Ecksmess present. I was hyped to play this after reading the reviews and I must agree with everything thats been stated before.

Its such an amazing game. Unfortunaetly my Memory Card is on the fritz and I can't save anything now. Anything new that is, and I have like 4000KB of free space. =( I've been trying to beat this game in one sitting, the farthest I got to is after the 7th colossi. Then usually something comes up and I have to go and turn it off. The only guy so far he gave me some trouble was the 3rd guy, couldn't figure out how to get pass his armor. But hands down the best fight I've had is without a doubt the 5th colossi. The best boss fight in any game hands down. Fighting that thing was an amazing experience that everyone should try out. cry2.gif<--Tears of joy.

Posted by: tanshin Jan 2 2006, 09:15 AM

I read these reviews, and they got me excited to try this game. Also, Crush and I seem to agree on a lot of elements that make a game great. On the contrary to SCU, I absolutely love boss fights. The bigger the boss, the better. Thats why I enjoy the Zelda games that come out so much. This game definitely tops all I've played on the "huge boss fight" meter.

When I got to the first Colossus, I just stared at it, like "how the fuck..." And I actually died to him the first time, because of that misleading "use the D-pad to change weapons" message. I actually thought I had to, as Dj Donkey says it, "shoot him down" with my bow and arrow. I'm glad youhave unlimited arrows, because I must have fired like 50 before I decided it was wrong. beigelaugh.gif

But, yes this game also gets the Tanshin Seal of Approval™.

By the way does anyone else have trouble controlling the damn horse?

Posted by: HC82 Jan 2 2006, 05:20 PM

I finished this game awhile ago, but I never got around to posting. The game is certainly an experience. IMO it's worth playing at least once. It's a short run though; although, it does sport some replay value. For the more frugal gamer *raises hand,* I would rent it. For the artiste gamer, it's probably worth owning just to own, despite the short play through and time attack bonuses.

The horse controls like ass... err, well more like Argo moves on a clock-like basis. Regardless of the direction, he moves clockwise or counter clockwise. I'd imagine controlling a real horse wouldn't be too easy. Getting it to turn left and right would be slow and time consuming. Perhaps realisms isn't always a good things.

Magic go-karts are the way to go!

Posted by: unitself May 17 2006, 07:45 AM

*thread from the past*

I just finished Shadow of the Colossus lasy night... I put the game down a few months ago because I got caught up in playing other games... Anyways...

Oh man was this game ever one of the coolest experiences ever. The developers of SoC should win an award. Several, in fact. And, just like in ICO, the ending... oh the ending. You would have to be dead inside NOT to get at least somewhat choked up.
(trying not to spoil anything for anyone)
I thought #16 (the last colossus) was really frustrating. I had to cheat some and look online on how to finish him off, and I think the developers did a bit of dirty work themselves in making one of the hitspots NOT shine like all the rest. Regardless, #16 went down like all the rest. beigesmile.gif

If you can find SoC for cheap now, and I am sure you can, do yourself a favor and pick it up. There are so many "HOLY CRAP THAT IS/WAS AWESOME!!!" moments that your little wired for videogames mind will thank you for for years to come.



*slight spoiler because I couldn't resist*
I almost cried at the trip to the #16th boss... crossing that bridge...
and then, at the very end... during all the final movie moments and small amount of game play ... and conclusion of everything. Seriously... tears.
beigesmile.gif

Posted by: Wiryu May 17 2006, 10:58 AM

I played a little while i was in utah. even though they never did shit, i loved shooting arrows, then when deciding to climb the colosus, see them all stuck in the body.

Posted by: Alisha May 17 2006, 03:12 PM

actually on a few colossi arrows are critical to setting up your attack.

Posted by: Crushinator May 17 2006, 07:14 PM

Isn't it great that through the gameplay alone, you feel emotionally invested in the horse?

As far as colossus #16 goes, it seemed like actually GETTING to him was far more frustrating than actually killing him. Once I got to his feet it was pretty straightforward, but I probably died 10 times just trying to run up to the bastard.

Man, now I'm remembering how wonderful this game was and I gotta go play it again!

Posted by: Riel Jun 20 2006, 05:48 AM

Finally rented this game for a week and i must say it's pretty good,even graphically,on the aging PS2...but i am stuck already hehe...well i'll figure it out i guess(just tried once) but it's on the second colossus only lol... someone keeps saying the light is the key but i'm not sure how to defeat him yet...i noticed some greenish looking light under his feet,maybe there's something to do with that.

Posted by: unitself Jun 20 2006, 07:49 AM

That's the thing, Riel. Look for those green lighted bits. Remember, if you can't see them, you can always raise up your sword and the light (from you sword) will focus in on the area to give you a better idea where to go for.

Buy it if you can afford it, or have a very long rental, and keep going with the game. I promise you, the fights get more and more awesome.

Posted by: donkeybeatz Aug 14 2007, 09:13 PM

I picked this up a week ago or two for $20 and just finished it.

Holy shit it was epic.

Posted by: Wiryu Aug 11 2014, 07:14 AM

Finally beat it! Pretty sweet game, guys. Pretty sweet game. ;)

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