Wednesday, November 17, 2010
A Look to the Past: Games of the Years 2005 - Shadow of the Colossus
"Here are beauties that pierce like swords and burn like cold iron."
When you start an entry with a quote like that, you know you're talking about a very special Game of the Year. You know you're talking about a game that transcends what, by all logic, a game should be. Indeed, without a doubt, you know you're talking about WWE Smackdown! vs. Raw. And it's a good thing this isn't a vlog, because I couldn't even type that with a straight face. Of course we're actually talking about Shadow of the Colossus, one of the most emotional and incredible games ever created. If somebody were to come up to me and say, "Emblem 180, video games are not art. You are silly to think that video games are art," I would hand him a copy of Shadow of the Colossus. If the cover art didn't win him over, I'd give him a PS2 and tell him to play the game. The words "epic" and "awesome" get thrown a lot these days ("Dude, that awesome can of Pepsi tasted EPIC!"), but Shadow of the Colossus earns the true meanings. You (the player) are tasked with defeating all sixteen Colossi in order to save a presumably dead girl dressed in white. The scale is earth-shaking yet the story is understated; I've never been more touched or awed by a game before. You travel the beautiful, desolate Forbidden Land with your loyal horse, slaying magnificent beast after beast, never quite assured that your actions are right. It's an unforgettable experience, laced with the smallest details and the largest vistas. There just aren't any other games like this (unless you count Team Ico's previous game); it forwent any tradition of genres and norms to craft its own truly unique adventure.
Nothing from 2005 stuck in my mind more than moments like these.
Luckily, Shadow of the Colossus isn't just an interactive art exhibit. The gameplay is excellent and filled with action-packed moments of battling colossal beasts and galloping across arid deserts. Some games tend to make the player feel like a near-invincible force to be reckoned with (like Halo) or a helpless and vulnerable victim (like Silent Hill), but Shadow of the Colossus manages to do both. One minute you're tripping over your own feet in an effort to escape your impending doom and the next second you're king of the world and slayer of giants. Tranquil and bombastic moments alike were memorable in their own ways; honestly, everything in Shadow of the Colossus was fantastic. Read my awesome review for all the epic details. I must admit to having never played some of the top games of 2005, such as Resident Evil 4 and God of War (have you picked up on the fact that I dislike large quantities of blood?), but even against the rest of the year's competition, Shadow of the Colossus looms over all. It's a shame that the top sellers from 2005 were largely dominated by sports games and titles with "Star Wars" on the box, but you know what? That's kind of good. Maybe it's for the best that Shadow of the Colossus stays out of pop culture's limelight and remains in the safe corridors of video gaming where it can be appreciated for its true worth. Sometimes a treasure is more valuable when nobody knows you have it.