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Shadow of the Colossus: The Price You Pay

Posted in Game Analysis with tags , , on November 30, 2011 by pixeltheater

2005’s Shadow of the Colossus for the PS2 is, if you’ll remember, one of the games being honored by the Smithsonian as a work of art, and with good reason.

Yes, its minimalist design may make for an odd elevator pitch; for one thing, the game consists of 16 boss fights. That’s it. No dungeons. No lesser enemies. No items to collect or equipment to… um, equip. Just you, a horse, and 16 colossi to slay.

"I'm gonna need a bigger horse."

On paper, that might seem like a flimsy excuse for a game, especially in a gaming world filled with content-rich titles like the recent Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. However, anyone who’s played Shadow of the Colossus knows that it’s an amazing experience and proof that quality trumps quantity.

The graphics are gorgeous (granted, it came out in 2005, but I think even today they still hold up) and the plot, like in Braid, provides another example of how in modern games, protagonists are becoming more nuanced and morally complex. It’s getting increasingly difficuly to tell who’s “good” and who’s “evil.”

Although sometimes it's still pretty clear.

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