Sunday, November 1, 2020

Deep Look: The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection

As I’ve stated, I’ve tried to broaden my horizons regarding the genres of videogames I play, mostly specializing in Japanese RPGs with the occasional Western RPG in the mix. One can find it challenging to determine which games to purchase and play, and unfortunately, mainstream videogame reviews scarcely help in that matter, although I’ve emphasized purchase and play of titles that have received favorable reviews from both critics and fans. Among these was The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection for the PlayStation 3, with both games receiving substantial acclaim, but is it warranted?

Ico follows the eponymous horned boy who must escape with Yorda, a typical damsel in distress, from a large fortress. The gameplay is largely puzzle-based, and lamentably doesn’t work in the game’s favor, since there are many frustrating puzzles, particularly those involving jumping, that can be difficult even with a guide. It’s also pretty much up to the player to figure out how to advance through the vast palace, and while critics have lauded this game as a hypothetical work of art, the music and graphics aren’t anything to write home about, and this ended up being for me an acclaimed disappointment.

Shadow of the Colossus I found a little better, but not by much. The game follows protagonist Wander tasked with slaying sixteen colossi to waken a sleeping beauty, another trite literary element. Some of the colossus battles are okay, but most are frustrating, with the game giving scant clues on how to expose their weak points necessary to bring them down. The game has better music than Ico, although it still relies far too much on ambience, and the visuals too are subpar, making asinine claims that it’s also a “work of art.”

In the end, I regret purchasing and playing this collection of two hypothetical “masterpieces,” given issues with their gameplay that mainstream videogame critics downplayed or downright neglected to mention in their reviews. Ico in particular is chock full of frustrating puzzles and can be difficult even with a guide, the same going for Shadow of the Colossus, which is only marginally better. They say that one person’s trash is another’s treasure, but the opposite very much proves true, and I’ve found my trust in mainstream videogame journalism consequentially dashed further.


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