Thursday 21 February, 2008
After playing the game a little bit more, I’ve come to realize that the colossi are pretty much giant puzzles each one having a distinct type of weakness that the player must exploit. I really enjoy the design of the colossi; they are giant creatures that have the skin of mountainous terrain. I feel like climbing Mount Everest each time I scale them and when I stab it with the sword I’m placing a marker saying “I was here!” It’s definitely a fun style of gameplay and I give a lot of credit to the game designers for their creativity. Agro, your trusty steed, is a great friend to have around. He’s always there to get you through the landscape faster than your feet will take you. I like the freedom that you can do with Agro; you can mount up and do a couple things like shoot your arrow, or rotate a full 360 degrees, or stand up while you shoot your arrow turning 360 degrees! These little details in a game are what usually make me happy and I’m glad to see them get implemented. The boy was well designed too. It’s amazing that someone so small can defeat such giants and I feel like the game can show this extremely well.
The landscape is a sight for sore eyes. After you leave the temple grounds there’s beautiful open land of green and earthy colors. The light breaks through the clouds and shines with intensity as you and Agro stride the Cliffside. What impresses me is how far the player can see into the game world, there are loads of mountains that we can see in the distance and the clouds move realistically with the wind. As the player rides around, there are birds and eagles that sometimes come on and off the screen. This artistic design really adds to the atmosphere of the region, it’s so desolate yet so beautiful at the same time. It’s a nice lively world with just as little as two characters present in it. When the boy is just standing around, Agro will run around him or walk off screen into some place and it really gives Agro, a horse, some personality also helps to realize the world around the player.
As I’ve said before the artistic design of the game is astonishing. By creating a large world with nothing but lizards, birds, trees, and mountains, the player is forced to find a way to relate all of these things together to create a personal story for him in the game. This lack of story was intentional because the game developers wanted the player to make assumptions about the world; I know this because I made the assumption that this was a prequel to Ico because of the ending of this game (the boy turns into a baby with horns, which resemble the protagonist in Ico). This desolate tone of the game is a well decided one because I think it helps foreshadow what happens in the end. The long journey to revive someone eventually asks for the ultimate price, a life for a life, and having a world that reflects this price of death in the end sets a good mood for the game. The colossi are well designed as well. Every time I fell a giant, I was curious to see what the next one would look like or how I would take it down. This helped keep me going even though there was a lack of story. The colossi are well varied ranging from large walking ones to flying types and even one that swims (which I thought was the most interesting because you had to hang on every time it dove into the water). Every time the player had to hang on to the colossi whenever it was shaking or flying or whatever, it simply took my breath away and built a type of suspense that was unheard of during it’s time.
The game has no real reward structure aside from getting more grip gauge power and a larger health each time a giant is destroyed. But the feeling you get after each colossus death is quite an intense feeling and therefore is a reward in itself. This feeling also left me wanting for more as I would constantly want to kill a colossus bigger than the previous one. The one thing I would probably change in the game is the voice acting. I know the game is supposed to have a fictional language in a fictional world but in today’s day and age having a game on a home console (before the next gen systems) that doesn’t have voiced text seems rather primitive. But it’s a minor thing seeing as there is only one person that actually talks for the most part in the game, the deity that speaks to the boy.