Gaming with Nate: Shadow Of The Colossus for PlayStation 2

Shadow Of The Colossus is a strange and beautiful game, surreal to the point of subconscious imagery and about as ambient and unconventional as they get without going full on experimental arthouse on us. I only knew about it in the last five years or so when I was crashing on my buddy’s couch one night and he loaded it up to play long into the wee hours. I was so tired I watched him play it through that sort of half awake half asleep filter of awareness and for awhile I thought that I did *actually* dream it until months later when I brought it up and he goes “nope that was a real game, I played all night and beat it at like 4am.” I think that the reason it has that kind of power (besides the combination of alcohol in my system and being awake at the witching hour) is that it’s such a ‘different’ game. You play as a young man named simply ‘Wander.’ He certainly lives up to the moniker when he brings his deceased true love to a mysterious dimension full of rugged landscapes and giant shadowy stone giants who inhabit them. He’s directed there by a metaphysical being called Dormin and told that if he ever wishes to see his love alive again that he must fight and destroy each of these colossal entities. And that’s basically it. The game is spent wandering this breathtaking yet desolate land. Every once in a while you come across a Colossus, do battle, claim it’s life and move on further into this land. Each new giant has different a anatomy, weak points, defensive maneuvers and overall personality traits to keep each confrontation feeling new, yet part of the same collective quest. I’ve seen people rip into this game and post memes spoofing it as an experience of ‘16 bosses and nothing else’ but I feel like those people are kind of missing the point and would be much happier playing something louder and more kinetically involving. I myself have only played about five actual minutes of it and spent most of the experience watching my friend play as I drank it in like a hazy cinematic experience, but that offbeat quality is exactly what I gravitate to and this hit home. Atmosphere over action, ambience over logic and exposition, it’s the exact same way I approach film when picking what to absorb and store in my memory bank, and this thing was so good it was able to procure real estate in my subconscious. Brilliant game.

-Nate Hill

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