Shadow of the Colossus (2018 Remaster): Complete

Over the weekend I put some more time into this classic title and was finally able to complete it last night. All in all it wasn’t a very difficult game, but for its time it would have been a tad more difficult, only because we weren’t as apt to Google game walkthroughs. For the most part I was able to figure out the puzzle of each colossi, but there were a couple tricky ones (particularly the last boss) that required some research to complete. One thing I forgot to show off the last time I posted about the game was the fact that there is a gallery of comparison shots and it really shows off how much better this version of the game looks. Hearing this from someone is one thing, seeing for yourself is another:

Such a huge difference when the pictures are put side by side! It’s night and day, really. The remainder of the bosses I had to defeat continued to ramp up in difficulty, but as I said it wasn’t anything too terrible. I don’t think I had to take a break and come back later save for on the final boss, as in most cases I quickly dispatched the colossus and moved onto the next. Here are most of them, falling in battle, along with some other generally nice looking screens:

Spoiler alert, your horse falls into a chasm helping you get to the final colossus, and a moment of silence was had for its loss. After the final colossus falls, there is a long drawn out epilogue that is half watched and half played. If you haven’t completed the game yet, I’d avoid the rest of this post.

If you’re still here, I’ll explain what’s happening in the pictures above. Basically there is a group of shamans or druids or something like that which were revealed a couple of fights prior to the last boss in a short cutscene. They are travelling to the shrine where you began your journey, but its not clear at that time what they are planning to do. After defeating the last colossus you aren’t immediately teleported back to the shrine. These folks arrive first, find the dead girl on the altar, and start mumbling about things when you do finally teleport back. When you arrive it’s clear that something isn’t quite right; the shadowy figures you’ve seen throughout the game are also appearing now to everyone else. You rise like a zombie and move in to attack the priests. A fight ensues, you’re stabbed, it doesn’t kill you, then you are covered with the shadowy substance and it is revealed that an evil demon was broken into 16 shards and those shards placed within the colossi, and now he’s possessed the character you’ve played the whole game. You briefly get to control him and attack the people, but they end up escaping across the bridge and destroying it on their way out. Of course, now that you’re dead, your lady friend has awoken. More happy news, your horse didn’t die, but it clearly broke its leg and is now hanging out with your friend. Roll credits.

A strange ending to say the least, and not really much of a wrap up. The priests sealed this temple with some sort of spell to keep the demon locked away, but now this chick and your horse are left behind with no other people in sight. Seems like you cursed her to a doomed existence. I guess we’ll never really know.

You can get a copy of this title for $40 right now if you’re interested in trying it yourself. I’d recommend it.

Mini-Impressions: Crash Bandicoot and Shadow of the Colossus Remasters

Recently I wrote about moving on from gaming experiences that I just wasn’t feeling. Monster Hunter World was one of those games that was surrounded by hype and many people were enjoying so I took a risk and bought it for full price. Apparently the game isn’t for everyone though, as I ended up not really caring for it. As such, I traded it in at Gamestop and picked up copies of two older games that have been remastered on the PS4: Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy and Shadow of the Colossus. In both cases I have already played through a bit and can report that I’m thoroughly enjoying these titles much more than the game I traded in. The former title is nothing like MHW, though the latter could draw some comparisons, only because you are hunting down Colossi, which are still much larger than the “monsters” I saw in MHW. Either way, I’m a happy camper with this decision, and wanted to share my thoughts on these games.

I already mentioned that I had prior history with both of these games, but I hadn’t completed any of them. I only played the original Crash Bandicoot sparsely, and never touched the sequels and I only personally played the PS3 remastered version of Shadow of the Colossus. Crash is instantly recognizable, and I love the intro loading screen that shows the original Crash use a machine to turn from his low-poly form to his newly updated version. I distinctly remember levels off of the original and they look much better with the updated visuals. The core gameplay remains the same, it’s a unique platformer (for the time) that uses varying points of view that would later become trivial in game design but was something new during the era. Details that I maybe didn’t take in on my first try during the PSOne days are clearly visible, and there is room for replay given the differing collections and unlockable areas. It clearly was the Playstation’s answer to Mario and Sonic, and to a degree I think it was a great series and definitely provided new challenges for the genre. The only think I think would make this collection even better is if they were to remaster Crash Team Racing. I would literally play the shit out of some CTR particularly if you could have online functionality for the racing and the battle mode! Was my favorite game of the series (and one of my favorite PSOne games of all time!).

Shadow of the Colossus is similar to the above title in that it is a remaster, but it’s also a game that has been remastered twice. Originally released for the Playstation 2, it became a cult classic. This is the same game, only much better looking. I have seen the original in action as I used to watch my old roommate play it when we lived together. I recognize and understand how to beat some of the early colossi because I’ve seen it done. I also purchased the first remaster of the game for PS3, and though I think it did look better than the PS2 version (at the time my memory of the two would have been more recent) this new remaster takes the cake. Having already paid for the last remaster (that should only count as upping the resolution because it’s still night and day different), playing through this game should count as clearing something else from the backlog. For those of you who already purchased this the last time and didn’t ever complete it I’d say you should pick it up as well, and if you’ve never played one of the other versions definitely give this a whirl.

The story is simple enough: You are trying to bring a loved one back to life, so you travel to this temple and place her on an altar. You are met by a celestial voice that says that you can bring her back to life if you are to defeat the 15 colossi in this land, but that it will come at great cost to you. After that it’s not much dialogue, you’ll use your special sword to use the reflection of the sun to direct you to your prey. From there you’ll open up new areas and find more to take down. Fighting the colossi is interesting and varied. Typically there will be some sort of weak point that you can damage to bring the beast down and then you’ll climb onto it and stab at another weak point (or more) to kill the beast. You have a stamina gauge when climbing however, so you have to do things quickly and wisely to finish the task at hand. There’s a pretty awesome photo mode included where you can get some awesome screen shots and I appreciate that as a blogger. Each time you kill a colossi, you’re filled with this black smoke/goo that is shooting out of their weak points and then teleported back to the original temple. Your body will lie there until you gain consciousness, you’ll be surrounded by dark figures that I assume represent those that you killed, and the idol of the slain colossus will crumble. I have a feeling those dark souls are part of the “great cost” I’ll be paying to bring my loved one back to life. At this point I’ve taken down the first three colossi and discovered the fourth.

I’ll report back once I’ve struck these games from the list.

Monster Hunter World: Calling it Quits

I was told today that I have matured in my decision making when it comes to video games. In the past, if I spent $60 on a game chances are I’d attempt to play through it, even if it ended up being one of those games that “takes a while to click.” Generally speaking I will refuse to admit that perhaps I purchased the game too hastily, that I left myself get caught up in the hype. I admitted when I first wrote about the game that I did read about it on various blogs and that I was given a glowing recommendation from someone who’s opinion I trust, but therein lies the trouble with long-running series you’re just getting involved in. Monster Hunter is an established franchise, but I haven’t played a single entry. Going into things blind is sometimes a boon because there aren’t spoilers, but at the same time this is the type of game that defies definition. Though I was told it could be compared to a From Software title (and I understand why it was referenced as such) I just didn’t see it. I didn’t have the desire to explore this world. I didn’t feel immersed. Running around chasing a monster around a rather large map and stabbing it until it dies wasn’t appealing either. I assume that this game would be better with a dedicated group of friends that could co-op their way through it, but as the layers of complication added on I simply couldn’t be bothered. At this point in my life my time is too valuable to be wasting on something I’m not enjoying. As such, I deleted the game from my system and brought it into Gamestop to trade it in while it’s still considered a “new” game and get me the best return on investment.

That’s a laugh.

Gamestop offered me $25 store credit for a $60 game that came out just over a month ago. Not to be deterred, I scoured their shelves to find something that I knew I would enjoy. I saw titles that I wanted to play but would prefer to get on my PC, and then there were a couple of console exclusives that were tried and true games that I felt were worth the money. The trade-in value covered most of the Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy, and then I picked up a copy of the newly remade Shadow of the Colossus. The former is a collection of PSOne classics made by Naughty Dog (of Uncharted fame) of which I’ve played but I don’t think I ever completed one.

I have a longer history with Shadow of the Colossus. It’s unclear if it was before or after we lived together, but at some point or another my best friend showed me this game back in the Playstation 2 days. It looked interesting enough, but I didn’t play it at the time. Later on the Playstation 3, an HD upres remaster released and I purchased it. Perhaps it was too soon to play again for him, but I had some fun with it despite not really being all that much better looking than the original game. Like the Crash Bandicoot title, both of these games were remade from the ground up for Playstation 4, so they are supposed to be the same as the original games with up to date graphics. I’m excited to see them in action, and you know I’ll report about them here.

In other news, I had been trying to find the next game to strike off of the backlog list after completing The Order 1886, and tried picking up Alien: Isolation. I’ve had it for a while and being on a FPS kick lately it was a good choice, but I ended up getting stuck and calling the whole thing off. I deleted that one from my hard drive as well, and I’m sticking to my guns about this. It’s not to say that this is the first time I deleted a game without completing it (I couldn’t get into The Witcher 3 either despite rave reviews from literally everyone) and it’s not to say that I haven’t traded in a game at Gamestop a short time after buying it either, though usually it’s because I’ve completed it and have no use for it anymore. Nowadays I plan to play them through if I enjoy them, and delete them if I don’t. It should help speed up the process, at least.

I’m unsure if I will power through one of these two titles immediately or if I will pick up something else to run through. I know that I have an itch to play an RPG and I mean aside from EQ2 which I still am subbed to and need to spend some time on to at least clear the new expansion before breaking away until later in the year when there’s new content again. I am a good ways into Shadow Warrior 2 which has been on hold for sometime, but I’m tempted to start up the Dark Souls trilogy or Pillars of Eternity/some other isometric RPG that’s in the back log. Or perhaps it’s time to finish of Final Fantasy XV or Mass Effect Andormeda?

Clearly I’m still torn on which way to go but I will figure it out soon and continue on my journey to clear out the backlog.