Let’s Play #48: Shadow of the Colossus (PS4)

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Wander as he rides his steed Agro to the first colossus.

Shadow of the Colossus: A game that many think has changed gaming industry as a whole. Introducing concepts never seen before in both story telling and in its gameplay. What did this game do to make people think so highly of it? Let’s see:

This game was released for the PS2 in 2005 and begins with a pretty vague but simple story: a young man travels with his horse to the so-called “Forbidden Lands” bringing with him the corpse of a girl. He heard that there, it was possible to bring back the souls of the dead. As the young man (named Wander) arrives to the shrine, he contacts a mysterious entity called Dormin who explains that they can resurrect the girl if Wander slains 16 colossi who live in the Forbidden Lands. They also warn him that he’ll have to pay a heavy price, but he doesn’t care and accepts the quest anyway.

With little instruction on where to go or what to do, Wander begins his adventure. He’s left to explore the landmass of the Forbidden Lands in search of the 16 colossi. By raising the sword that he brings along, he can reflect sunlight to create a beam which points to the location of the next beast to defeat.

The athmosphere is very calm, he can only hear the wind and maybe some hawks which fly in the sky. The Forbidden Lands theirselves look very desolate. While there are human structures in several places, they are all in ruin, abandoned for who knows who long, and built who knows for what purpose…

Riding his trusty steed Agro, Wander begins following the beam of light. Eventually he stumbles upon the first colossus: a gargantuan beast many feet tall. To take it down and move one step closer to save the girl, he must stab one or more weak points on the colossus’ body with his sword.

While Wander can climb the fur on the colossus, this one won’t just stand around waiting to get stabbed: it will move and shake to try to make Wander fall off and leave it alone. But Wander doesn’t give up, he holds on to that R1 button to maintain his grip on the fur. He climbs futher and further up until the head of the beast, on which he finds the sigil indicating a weak point.

He then stabs the sigil. And stabs it again. And again. And with every hit, he can hear the colossus cry in pain and he will have to hold on more to avoid a fall of several feet from the head of the giant.

He finally delivers the final blow. The colossus collapses to the ground with no more life left in it. From its body, many shadowy tentacles come out as it turns black. They reach for Wander and enter his body, making him fall unconcious.

Wander then wakes up back at the Shrine, where Dormin tells him the location of his next foe.

The knight colossus “Gaius” must be baited into attacking the ground to climb his body.

I hope this introduction got you to understand what the game’s about. Shadow of the Colossus has you explore the Forbidden Lands to find 16 colossi to defeat. Each of them has to be climbed to reach its one or more weak points. Climbing the colossi isn’t always straight forward, each of them is more like a puzzle, in which you have to figure out a way to climb them. Many times you will have to use the environment to your advantage, such as using geyser to topple the turtle-like colossus Basaran orusing the connecting caves to confuse the horse-like colossus Phaedra.

Other times, using Wander’s bow and arrow can be used to distract the colossus of to hit some minor weak points which will have them move in a certain way, creating the path forward. Every colossus is different and has to be dealt with accordingly.

Shooting down fruits from trees and eating them will increase Wander’s health.

Apart from the colossi fights, which are the main focus of the game, Shadow of the Colossus tells the story of the Forbbiden Lands thorugh the environment. Exploration is a big part of the game, while the Forbbiden Lands are for the most part devoid of anything to do (apart from the colossi) this fits the athmosphere of the game. You are travelling a desolate land, where no man has set foot in who knows how many years. Exploring the lands and experiencing this feeling is part of the overall experience.

Ok, I kinda lied here, if one really wants, there is stuff to do around the Forbidden Lands such as eating fruit from trees to gain more health, hunting lizards to gain more grip and finding little shrines which act as savepoints. But they’re all optional and nobody will ever tell you about them.

That is, of course, unless you complete the game and access time trial, where you can replay the colossi fight and win items that can help you fight the colossi of find these fruits and lizards.

But yeah, this is Shadow of the Colossus: an open world game with only boss fights, and nothing else to do. It shouldn’t work, but it does. It does even too much. But I talk about that in more detail in the LP. I played the PS4 remake which is considered a good remake, and even though it did mess up on a couple things, it can deliver the original Shadow of the Colossus feeling quite well.

Let’s Play’s stats:

-First episode aired on: Jun 1, 2020
-Last episode aired on: Jul 5, 2020
-Number of episodes: 18
-Total time of Let’s Play: 8 hours and 48 minutes