Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Shadow of the Colossus for PS2 (2005)

Original ad featured in the December 2005 issue of EGM (no. 198).
Press to view or download image in higher resolution.
An unrivaled masterpiece

To say Shadow of the Colossus changed the way adventure games are played would be a huger understatement. More than 10 years after its original release, there's still nothing that matches the sheer beauty of the 2005 product. Seeing that The Last Guardian (2016), the true spiritual successor of "Colossus", got mixed reviews from critics and fans alike, Sony decided to produce a remastered version of the now classic for the PS4 which will be launched sometime in 2018. So how does the artwork for the original stand up today?  

Sony has milked the "Colossus" franchise in the past. Just in 2011 the electronic giant released the "The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection" for PS3, which is a fantastic way to play the original games for the PS2, which could suffer from technical limitations like stuttering, slowdown and dropped frames.

Back in 2005, however, "Colossus" was a revelation. Never had anything like this had been seen on any console. The formula has remained intact to this day: spend a lot of time just wandering around a fantastical, desolate land until you stumble upon a towering figure which you must kill. The developers struck gold with this twist. Why make the player pass through hoops and circles with lesser enemies when you can send him directly from boss to boss? There a little bit of puzzle solving here and there, but nothing that will make you go online to check a decades old game guide. 

The legacy of this game can be seen to this day in a multitude of games, from Castlevania to Zelda. That first well established franchise just aped "Colossus" with Lords of Shadow (2010), an actual good thing, since it was the last decent Castlevania game. Zelda has been even more obvious in Breath of the Wild (2017). But "Colossus" did it first and the hype surrounding the 2018 remake has actually reached comparable fanboism heights to that of the Nintendo behemoth.

Fortunately, the developers understood the relevancy of their game and convinced the executives at Sony that its beautiful art should be used to create compelling advertising. And they did. For once, the tiny copy on the printed page makes sense in relation to the actual image seen by would-be buyers. One neat detail: the sinous text is the exact way the player can climb atop the particular colossus that appears in the game.

Shadow of the Colossus for PS2 print ad copy

Begin here: a weary traveller on the most hazardous of journeys. Mile upon mile, you've ridden in search of the power to save your one true love. Yet now you find yourself here, standing in the shadow of a beast who will devastate the tiny, insignificant being who dared to disturb his lumber. Unless you arm yourself with the one weapon large enough to slay him. One he cannot see. Nor can you. Yet you must employ it with every move you have the courage to make. The weapon? Your mind. And should you use it wisely, you shall topple a creature whose size is comprable only to your valor. And end here: atop a mountain that cannot be scaled, but must be slain. 

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