Shadow of the Colossus Articles RSS Feed | Shadow of the Colossus RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Shadow of the Colossus: Mirrored World Guide Wed, 14 Feb 2018 10:56:50 -0500 Craig Snyder

One of the most hype PlayStation 2 games got an ultra-high definition remake of its art assets, and Shadow of the Colossus has seen quite a lot of success on its re-release to the PlayStation 4. The game debuted at the top of the charts, and in about a week it has already managed to beat the sales of the original title from many years ago.

Aside from higher-quality visuals, Shadow of the Colossus on the PS4 comes packed with new features like Easy Mode, New Game+, and Photo Mode. One of the most interesting new play modes is the Mirrored World, or Mirrored Mode, and in this guide I'll explain exactly what it is.

What Is the Mirrored World in Shadow of the Colossus?

If you've played the Zelda series, you may have encountered this style of alternative play mode. Once you've played enough Shadow of the Colossus, you get a vivid picture in your head of the game world around you. Any game with a large and open world that you're going to find yourself venturing through time and time again begins to imprint in your head, and like you do with familiar locations in the real world, it almost becomes instinctive in the way that you travel through it.

However, many of us don't consider how foreign and confusing things would get if everything were mirrored. Left streets on the right, and things of that nature, are more of a brain cramp than they sound. That's what the Mirrored World does to Shadow of the Colossus.

Things are backwards in the Shadow of the Colossus Mirrored World

Everything is the same, just … backwards. In the Mirrored World, Wander wields the Ancient Sword on his left rather than his right. It's little changes like this that will throw you completely off and leave you feeling disoriented and lost in a world that you once knew so well.

How Do I Get the Mirrored World in Shadow of the Colossus?

To unlock this game mode, you're required to beat the game in any normal play mode. This prerequisite is a sensible touch to the Mirrored World because it's going to guarantee that you're fond of Shadow of the Colossus just so that it can literally turn your world upside down!

After you've beaten the game, all you have to do is select New Game or New Game+ and you'll see the option to play the game through the Mirrored World.

While a lot of the game modes in the PS4 remake were available in the original title back in 2005, the Mirrored World is completely new and is guaranteed to offer a play experience that you haven't felt before. A lot of Shadow of the Colossus fans are calling this the "true Hard Mode" of this game due to how it warps your perception of everything you knew about the game. It's a really cool touch to a great game.


What are your opinions on this game mode in Shadow of the Colossus and the reverse or mirror-style mode in general? I've seen mixed opinions saying that it offers a fresh new way to play the game and others claiming it's a lazy way of throwing another mode into the game. Let me know of any thoughts or questions in the comments below, and I'll be sure to get back to you.

Be sure to check out some of our other Shadow of the Colossus content:

8 Games That Could Be Considered "Art" Sun, 18 Feb 2018 13:13:05 -0500 buymymixtape123

Video games have come a long way from the 8-bit sprites of the 80s. Games now rival other forms of media in art style, storytelling and music. Video games are as much of an art form as a movie or a piece of music. Here are eight games supporting this thesis and showing the boundaries gaming pushes as a art form.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt  

The Witcher 3 is as beautiful as a game could get. Just peering over the horizon while the sun is setting is just as soothing as looking over a real sunset. Furthermore, the narrative and music are exceptionally good, rivaling other popular high fantasy stories like Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings. I remember the first time I played this game back in May 2015, and just riding through Velen for the first time on Roach and taking in the sights and sounds of the world changed the way I looked at gaming. This game made me realize that gaming is art.


Cuphead is one of those games many gamers would look at and think it's a 1930s cartoon. Cuphead is brilliantly designed and stays true to the 1930s cartoon look, even having the strong film grain cartoons and movies of the past used to have. This run and gun, boss rush game is notorious for its hard difficulty but just taking the time to appreciate the art that this indie studio, Studio MDHR, made is enough to make you fall in love with this game.



Bioshock is a game on this list that's artistic for more than its art style. This doesn't mean Bioshock isn't a beautiful game, just going down into the underwater city of Rapture in the first few moments is going to make your jaw drop. But the narrative is what pushes this game into art territory. The game pushes you to think about what is wrong and what is right, and even comments on tyrants and the struggle of power and narcissism. Not a lot of games cover subject matter like this, and Bioshock does it beautifully, to the point where you want to know what is going to happen next in this amazing story. Bioshock is more than a game; it is a piece of art.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

There is one moment in gaming I will never forget and it is the moment at the start of Breath of the Wild, where Link first comes out the Shrine of Resurrection and looks over the horizon of Hyrule for the first time. At this point of my life, I never thought a game would surprise me like that and this moment did to the point of tears. Breath of the Wild isn't a perfect game, but it is art in every aspect of the word. The attention of detail Nintendo did with the landscape of the world, the cartoonish but beautiful graphics all show how gaming is art. 

The Last of Us

The Last of Us shows that video game narratives can be just as compelling and serious as a feature length movie. The Last of Us story of Ellie and Joel as they survive together in a post-apocalyptic world is heart wrenching, addictive and bittersweet. Not to mention that this game is beautiful and dark, which the PS4 remastered port expands upon. This game's story is so beautifully crafted that it's well-known outside of gaming. Even non-gamers know of this title and enjoy Naughty Dog's creation.  


Journey is one of those games that will impact you immensely in the short time it takes to beat. It isn't hard and doesn't have complicated mechanics, but it uses beautiful visuals and music to tell an emotional tale of a robed individual in the vast desert. Journey's soundtrack was so beautiful that it was nominated for a Grammy in 2013, one of the highest awards in music. If after you play Journey, you still don't think video games are art, you may have to get your head checked out.

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker was hated when it was first announced. Nintendo went for more of a cartoony, colorful experience than following the graphics laid out in Ocarina of Time or Majora's Mask. But, people came to notice how beautiful this game really was and how fun the game is in general. Nintendo really focused on facial animation in Wind Waker, where Toon Link makes a certain face when he swings a sword or tries to push something that is too heavy for him. Also, the game is gorgeous for its cel shading graphics. This games still looks as good, if not better, than games coming out on the Switch.

Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus is beautiful because of how little it does compared to other games. Other games on this list earn their beauty from a wide arrange of colors and architect. This game does not have any of that, as there are no towns to go to, nothing to really look at and no other quest besides killing all of the Colossi around you. It is similar to Journey, where the game takes you on a emotional roller coaster without really doing much. This is the beauty of gaming: it is able to tug at your heart strings just through gameplay, art style and music alone, without a direct narrative putting it all together. If you are unsure if Shadow of The Colossus is in fact art, please check out the PS4 remastered that just came out recently.

There you have it, eight games symbolizing why video games can be considered art. When it comes down to it, if any other media like movies and music can be considered art, then video games should be as well. 

Shadow of the Colossus Dormin Sword Guide Mon, 12 Feb 2018 14:26:02 -0500 Ty Arthur

A whole new generation of players can finally jump on a sleek new version of the genre-defining Shadow of the Colossus now that the remaster has arrived for PS4.

While much of the game remains the same, there have been secret additions that players need to uncover while exploring the world -- like the elusive Sword of Dormin!

Named after the spirit who guides you throughout the course of the game, this hard-to-find sword deals significant extra damage, but at the cost of slower health regen for Wander.

Having trouble finding the new weapon? Below we walk you through the process of finding the Shadow of the Colossus Sword of Dormin so you don't miss out on the remaster's secret treasure hunt!

The Dormin Sword awaits for those willing to work for it Want to get your hands on this beautiful sword? There's a lot of searching ahead!

Shadow of the Colossus Sword of Dormin Location

The original version of the game featured lizard tails and fruit trees to find and collect across a vast but empty world, and with the remastered Shadow of the Colossus version, there is now a third collectible known as enlightenments (or gold coins if you feel like calling a spade a spade).

You might recall a reference at the end of the original game to trudging up 79 steps to finally reach enlightenment. As expected, 79 steps isn't exactly a quick quest, and finding the Dormin Sword will take a lot of searching across the whole game world as you track down all 79 sets of sparkly gold coins.

Enlightenment Coin Hunting

These coins are found just about everywhere, but they're in slightly out-of-the-way locations, like in the water on a beach or at the top of a cliff face.

Sadly, there's no immediate upgrade or benefit to finding individual enlightenment gold coins since the reward only arrives after you pick up all 79 coins and return to the game's starting point.

This is a real Easter egg hunt, as the map doesn't show the location of enlightenment coins or even give hints as to general areas. Instead, you've got to search high and low across each map and listen for an audio cue.

Much like with the flashlight from The Last of Us or activating the focus in Horizon: Zero Dawn, the PS4 controller itself will emit a sparkle sound to let you know you are close to a coin. 

When you manage to pick up all 79 enlightenment coins, return to the shrine starting area and look for the big locked door covered with square runes, which will now be lit up by sparkles like the coins. While it appears there's no obvious way to open the door, just hit R2 to pray in front of it, and the door will slide open to reveal a new area.

Pray in front of this door to reveal the area containing the Sword of Dormin Pray here (thanks to YouTuber PS4Trophies for the screenshot).

Run down the ramp towards a cave in the basement of the shrine that you couldn't access before. The sword is found at the end of a long hallway floating in the recess of a giant stone structure. Look inside the glowing blue hollow and pray to get your nifty new sword!

Not sure how many enlightenment coins you have and how many are still left to be found? Head over to the map screen and check the bottom corner to see a new entry logging how many steps on the path to enlightenment you've taken so far.

You can find this item tracking log in the Shadow of the Colossus map screen It's a long journey to finding the sword, but the results are worth it!

Good luck finding all the enlightenment coins, and be sure to leave us a comment letting us know about your victory when you finally unlock the Shadow of the Colossus Dormin Sword!

New Weapon Discovered in Shadow of the Colossus Remake Fri, 09 Feb 2018 18:29:11 -0500 Joseph Ocasio

Just yesterday, a popular YouTuber called "PS4Trophies" made a discovery in the remake of Shadow of the Colossus. In the recently released PS4 title, the developer added 79 strange hidden coins scattered in ruins and Colossi arenas throughout out the game, which were first hinted at in a message in the credits ("Nomad Colossus and the 79 steps to enlightenment"). With many players wondering what these coins did, this led them to discover that the coins caused a locked door outside the Shrine of Worship to glow.

The door was present in the original game but could not be unlocked. After collecting every hidden coin, however, PS4Trophies followed a hint from a popular Shadow of the Colossus YouTube content creator, Nomad Colossus, to return to the door.

If you're interested in obtaining this awesome new weapon, be sure to check out our very own guide on how to get the Sword of Dormin in Shadow of the Colossus.


Are you going after the Sword of Dormin? What other secrets have you found in Shadow of the Colossus? Let us know in the comments below!

Shadow of the Colossus Will Feature a Photo Mode Mon, 22 Jan 2018 14:01:52 -0500 Highties

In a recent blog post, Bluepoint Games revealed a photo mode for the upcoming Shadow of the Colossus remaster. The reason for this new feature is to allow players to see the world in a new perspective, capturing all the unique and memorable moments. 

This seems to be more than a simple photo mode attached to the game; the blog post discusses how this feature will allow you to have the same artistic control as someone who works in the art department for the game. Some of the photo aspects you can change include filters, coloring, mid-tones, highlights, depth of field, and even camera rotation for phone photos. One cool feature allows you to play the game while running some of the filters, making it a new way to view the game and unlock more opportunities within the environment. 

Below are a few pictures that Bluepoint Games captured with the photo mode, showing us the potential and opportunities:

What do you think of the pictures -- do they impress you? Leave a comment below, and don't forget to stay tuned to GameSkinny to stay up to date on all the latest news and information on Shadow of the Colossus.

We Want Shadow of the Colossus II, Not Your Crappy Remaster Mon, 22 Jan 2018 11:11:59 -0500 ThatGamersAsylum

Shadow of the Colossus is getting a remaster (or is it a remake?). While it received a relatively standard HD remaster -- alongside its spiritual predecessor, Ico -- on the PS3 (which means its muddy, PS2-era visuals were put into HD while still largely being just as muddy as they had been), this PS2 Classic is now getting a second remaster, or remake, whatever you want to call it. However, this remaster falls more in line with what was offered with Crash Bandicoot's N. Sane Trilogy: the whole game is being functionally remade with all-new character models that mimic the old game while looking like a game released during this generation. And on its surface, this is great; literally, it looks beautiful.

What Makes SotC So Great

For those who have been living underneath a colossus-sized rock for the past decade, or those who were born with demon horns and sealed away on a mysterious island and have only just now escaped, let me give you a really quick rundown of what exactly made SotC so unique in the first place.

Releasing on the PS2, this title saw a young man trying to revive his young love with the assistance of an ancient being. This being offers a bargain: kill the 16 colossi scattered across the land and he will revive your love. The premise is relatively straightforward, and so is the game: There are no small enemies, NPCs, side quests, etc. There are only these 16 colossi.

The colossi in SotC are essentially puzzles. Each one has to be “solved," i.e., killed in its own, unique way. Some require you to utilize the environment, while others ask you to merely use the tools at your disposal: your insane grip strength; a horse with a name that you always yell yet somehow mumble enough so that no one can agree on its name; a sword that, despite being plunged into beasts whose blood seems to be the personification of darkness itself, is still shiny enough to catch a sun ray in the middle of a dark forest; and bow and arrows.

To be fair, it’s hard not to be somewhat enthralled by this remaster. SotC is a great game. In fact, it wouldn’t be outlandish to call it one of the best games on the PS2, which is a console that competes for having one of the most stacked game rosters of all time. Regardless of where you stand on those debates, it’s hard not to marvel at what this game did with the hardware at its disposal. The colossi tower above you, exuding a sense of scale that many modern games still struggle to capture. While it’s true to say it was unlike anything seen in gaming at its time, it’s equally true now, so many years later.


Which brings me to my next point: SotC was influential. Many games have tried to emulate it, but few have ever captured the essence of what made SotC great.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow had a few of its own large colossi, but they mechanically didn’t stand up to SotC. Lords of Shadow merely went for scale while lacking any of the actual thought-provoking complexity.

God of War has always been about spectacle. God of War 2 even opened up with a battle against the Colossus of Rhodes. But it wasn't until God of War 3 came out on the PS3, a full console generation later, that we finally saw battles that captured the seamlessness of the fights against the colossi. 

Dragon’s Dogma, a successful Capcom RPG, also featured gameplay elements that allowed you to climb on the game’s many large foes, similar to what was seen in SotC.

Some indie games have also drawn influence from SotC. For instance, Titan Souls is a top-down game with 8-bit graphics that features a gauntlet of bosses and minimalistic mechanics. In many ways it conjures up a lot of the same bullet points as SotC: puzzle-like bosses and streamlined mechanics. It doesn’t quite have the same majesty and sense of scale, but that’s to be expected in a top-down game. Titan Souls might be the game closest to SotC in both quality and player experience, but two games make a genre not. There’s also Malicious, a downloadable title, which combines the boss fighting of SotC with weapon collecting from the Megaman series. 

Ultimately this is likely only a sample of the many games influenced directly, or otherwise, by SotC. I’d like to point out that just because these games are different, doesn’t mean they’re bad. Many of them are going for different play experiences than SotC. Moreover, similar mechanics don’t mean that they are necessarily influenced by SotC. However, seeing similar ideas pop up in successful games, many of which were popularized by SotC, does mean that there is a trend here: that there is a market for this sort of game.

Remind Me of the First Time

Lastly, while SotC is great, its bosses are fundamentally puzzles, meaning that once you know the solution, half of the actual fun is gone. There is still challenge to actually executing the solutions since the “puzzles” are actively trying to kill you, unlike most puzzles, but it still minimizes the appeal. The only way to grant returning players that same thrill they experienced so long ago, rather than merely imparting nostalgia onto them, is by giving them new colossi to fight.

In fact, the video below goes over how the original number of colossi was going to be 48. While this number was reduced drastically, there were an additional eight colossi that got pretty far into development before being cut. There were 24, but the final release only featured 16. That means a third of the colossi were cut. Put another way, an extra 50% of colossi were cut. While they were cut due to repetitiveness and/or developmental time constraints, that’s not really the point. They could now do this, either in this remake or in a future title, assuming Sony gave them the resources. There is undoubtedly room for more ideas within the constraints of this game’s mechanical framework, and gamers would love to see them come to reality.

In summation, Shadow of the Colossus was and still is great, both due to its innovation and its quality. It has left a noted mark on its peers throughout the years, and more importantly, the qualities that made it so successful still appear to be attractive. That's not even to mention the wealth of existing ideas and prototypes that new and returning players would love to experience after all these years.

Sony, you have an audience who are not only ready for a sequel but who are practically salivating whilst waiting for one. Announcing a SotC sequel at E3 could rival recent outstanding moments like the revitalization of God of War, the resurgence of The Last Guardian, the remake of Final Fantasy VII, or the announcement of Horizon: Zero Dawn. In the end, all we can do is hope that Sony sees enough excitement surrounding this modern classic’s remake to warrant a sequel.

New Shadow of the Colossus Footage from Paris Games Week Wed, 01 Nov 2017 10:43:39 -0400 KatherineZell

Since its initial release in October 2005, Shadow of the Colossus has captivated players. It is often regarded as a prime example of the artistic capabilities of video games. Unique in that there are no dungeons or cities, nor are there hardly any characters, players spend their time traversing vast landscapes to defeat sixteen colossi in sometimes puzzle-like fashion. This is all to bring a girl named Mono back to life.

Sony announced their rebuilding of the game at E3 2017, released a short trailer at the 2017 Tokyo Game Show, and, this week, Sony showcased another piece of Shadow of the Colossus at Paris Games Week.

They also showed some gameplay, including some of the epic battles with colossi:

Shadow of the Colossus will hit shelves for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro on February 6, 2018 for $39.99 MSRP. Executive Producer Yasutaka Asakura stressed that Shadow of Colossus “is not a port or remaster.” It has been “completely rebuilt.” There are multiple side by side comparison videos that show the differences, including the one below.

Are you looking forward to this remake? What do you think of what we've seen of the upgrade thus far? Let us know what you think of the new footage in the comments!

Sony at E3 2017: It's All About the Games Tue, 13 Jun 2017 13:36:41 -0400 LuckyJorael

As with years past, Sony's E3 focus for 2017 highlighted upcoming games for the PlayStation 4, PS4 Pro, and PlayStation VR. After showing off Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Horizon: Zero Dawn's DLC "The Frozen Wilds", and Days Gone, Shawn Layden took the stage and said simply, "We love games, and we want to see more of them tonight. It's all about the games."

And Sony delivered the games. Trailer after trailer came on the screen at the Los Angeles Convention Center; Sony showed off a whopping 17 games during their hour on stage, while Shawn Layden had a bare few minutes of time on the stage, comparatively.

Like Layden said: "It's all about the games."  So here's what Sony showed off.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

The focus of Naughty Dog's Uncharted 4 spinoff, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, seems to be the tenuous relationship between its two protagonists, Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross, as they scour India in search of the Tusk of Ganesha. Fans of the series should expect the puzzles, combat, and harrowing climbing sequences Uncharted has come to be known for. The stand-alone game comes out August 22, for $39.99. 

Horizon: Zero Dawn - "The Frozen Wilds"

Set in a frigid landscape, "The Frozen Wilds" introduces players to a new tribe surviving in the robo-dinosaur strewn landscape of Horizon: Zero Dawn, as well as a mysterious mountain with a roiling, lightning-filled storm clouding its peak. "The Frozen Wilds" is expected to release later this year.

Days Gone

Bend Studio's zombie adventure game Days Gone got a new trailer at Sony's E3 Showcase, showing off some great-looking character animations, hand-to-hand combat, driving, and zombie hordes. We also got to see what happens to animals when they eat zombie meat: zombie animals (specifically zombie bears!). Days Gone will release on December 29, exclusively on the PlayStation 4.

Monster Hunter: World

The latest title in the Monster Hunter series strays only slightly from the previous titles in the series in that it is an open-world game, as opposed to having sectioned-off portions of the map from previous games. Aside from that, expect the same gathering, crafting, trapping, and giant weapons fans of the games have come to expect. Oh, and turning meat over an open fire.

Monster Hunter: World releases in early 2018 on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Shadow of the Colossus

The beloved PlayStation 2 title Shadow of the Colossus is getting an HD remake, scheduled for a 2018 release exclusively on the PlayStation 4. Check out the trailer below:

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite

Sony debuted a new story trailer for the fighting game, highlighting the undoubtedly convoluted plot and the interactions between Marvel favorites and Capcom's characters. Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite releases September 19, on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, but Capcom has released a story demo alongside the newest trailer, which you can grab now on PS4 and Xbox One. No gameplay footage was shown during the showcase. 

Call of Duty: WWII

Call of Duty: WWII goes back to the series roots by once again exploring the European theater of war during World War II. The Showcase trailer showed off some of the game's multiplayer elements, but in a more cinematic environment.

PlayStation owners will get access to a CoD: WWII private beta starting August 25, with Xbox One and PC betas to follow sometime after. The full game releases November 3, on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Skyrim VR

Bethesda's biggest RPG gets not only a Nintendo Switch conversion but a PlayStation VR version, as well. From the trailer shown at the showcase (seen below), there doesn't appear to be many improvements to the game outside of a virtual reality experience. Skyrim VR will be released November 2017 exclusively on PlayStation VR.

Star Child

News on Star Child, from developers Playful and Gametrust, has so far been fairly cryptic, leaving much to the imagination. The trailer shows a sidescrolling-style game with a menacing alien threatening the human character -- until a giant robot intervenes. Star Child has no confirmed release date as of this writing, but it will be released as a PlayStation VR game.  

The Inpatient

Supermassive Games is developing a new VR horror game, The inpatient, which is set in Blackwood Sanitorium 60 years before the developer's horror game Until Dawn. The trailer is light on details but heavy on tension and ambiance. The Inpatient does not yet have a release date as of this writing.

Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV

What goes together well? VR, fishing games, and Final Fantasy! Rejoin familiar faces from Final Fantasy XV and explore the rivers, lakes, and oceans in Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV. Monster of the Deep is scheduled to release in September of this year, although a specific date has yet to be revealed.

Bravo Team

Supermassive Games also unveiled a co-op cover-based military shooter the uses the PlayStation VR, Bravo Team. The gunplay looks fairly realistic, with the recoil from automatic fire making the rifle jump around. Bravo Team's release date is unconfirmed as of this writing.


Developer Polyarc showed of the VR game Moss at the Sony E3 Showcase. It sets the player character to helping an adventurous mouse with a green gauntlet, sword, and dashing red scarf. Players allegedly help the mouse solve puzzles and combat huge bugs, as well as a very large snake. Moss is expected to release winter 2017.

God of War

Kratos returns in a new trailer, unveiling more details about the plot and gameplay of the newest game, simply titled God of War. Gamers were treated to new weapons, enemies, and a voiceover from a green-eyed wolf -- likely the trickster Loki -- as well as confirmation that Kratos' son is along for the bloody, gory ride. God of War releases early 2018.

Detroit: Become Human

Detroit: Become Human also got another trailer at the E3 Showcase, again highlighting the choices the player has in different situations during the game. The focus of the game appears to be the building android revolution in Detroit, and players will likely play Marcus, a free android with the ability to disrupt the control humans have over other androids. Detroit: Become Human does not yet have a release date.

Destiny 2

Developer Bungie revealed another cinematic trailer for their first-person shooter RPG, Destiny 2. And this time, the villain, Ghaul, gets plenty of screen time. The trailer also highlighted the PlayStation exclusive portions of the game: the Lake of Shadows strike, armor for each class, the City Apex ship, an exotic weapon named Borealis, and a PvP map named Retribution.  Destiny 2 releases on September 6 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and October 24 for the PC.


Sony wrapped up the Showcase with an extended look at Spider-Man, a third-person action game starring the titular webslinger. The trailer showed off Spidey's movement skills, combat prowess, and spider-senses, among other things. Spider-Man is expected to release in 2018.

That wraps up everything Sony showed off at their E3 Showcase.  What was your favorite trailer, and what are you most excited to play? Tell is in the comments below!

Shadow of the Colossus: A Novice's Review of the Remaster Fri, 09 Feb 2018 11:43:56 -0500 Joseph Ocasio

When reviewing a classic in any medium, it can be hard for a new generation to talk about the importance and significance that a piece of work has had, especially if it's one that has a dedicated cult following. Whether it's due to its narrative structure, artistic value, or how distinct it was from other similar pieces of art, it can become a challenge. That's the position I find myself in when talking about Shadow of the Colossus. Prior to this remaster, I had only had a small interaction with it, when it was made free on PSN for PS Plus users back on the PS3. I only managed to play up to the first fight before I ended up selling my PS3 in order to find something else to play on my new PS4.

A couple ominous eyes searching for you in Shadow of the Colossus

Rebirth of a Classic

Since then, I could only rely on tales I'd heard of Shadow of the Colossus: discussions about how each Colossus represents different aspects of humanity, how it's able to tell a story with very little dialog, and much more. I've wanted so badly to be part of the discussion, but my brief experience with it wouldn't allow me to join in. Enter E3 2017, where Sony announced that it was allowing Bluepoint Games, the same people who worked on the excellent remasters for the Uncharted trilogy, to remake this classic for modern audiences. I feel that the only way for me to review this game is to recall my past experience while judging it for what it is now. 

And So It Begins

As it opens, a young man rides his steed with a dead woman lying with him. He rides on to a temple and is told by unknown voices that in order to bring this woman (it's unknown if it's his sister or lover) back from the dead, he must slay 16 giant beings called Colossi ... and that's about it. There is a little more to it, but that doesn't happen till near the end of the game and falls into spoiler territory.

Shadow of the Colossus relies more on its atmosphere and music to give its story emotional depth. The world you traverse through is bleak and feels hopeless, but it's also filled with beauty and serenity. The same can be said about the music, which helps sell this tale and is absolutely at its best when you confront any of the Colossus. 

If you just take a glance at a screenshot of the original PS2 version of Shadow of the Colossus, it's pretty obvious the amount of love and care that Bluepoint Games put into remaking this game. Shadow of the Colossus is one of the best-looking games you can get on PS4. The animations of things like character movement, grass, and facial hair look so natural that they border on realistic. Textures have greatly improved, and the frame rate never buckles. If you have a PS4 Pro, you can even choose to play it at 60 FPS, and while that leads to better controller response, it also adds a bit of phoniness and breaks some of the immersion the game creates. But, it's still up to you how you want to play.

Despite being 12 years old, Shadow of the Colossus still has some of the best art and creature design of all time. The various ruins, grassy fields, and desert lands exude personality, as if they were characters themselves. The Colossi are equally pleasing, representing some of the most unique enemies seen in gaming. Much of the game reminds me a lot of Twilight Princess and Ocarina of Time; I honestly wouldn't be surprised if Team Ico took some inspiration from the Zelda series and vice versa. In all, this remake keeps all of the original's graphical charm while updating it to make it more appealing, without sacrificing the original intent of its visuals. 

Attack on Colossus

A towering Colossus staring down at you

What really made Shadow of the Colossus a classic was not only its visual art style and its unique approach to storytelling but also its equally unique gameplay. The only enemies you fight are the Colossi, and they do not disappoint. Every encounter feels different and constantly fills you with dread, as each of the giant Colossi looks and feels enormous. Taking them down is simple enough; just stab at the glowing weak points on each of the Colossus's bodies, but it's easier said then done. Getting to these spots has you constantly studying a Colossus's attack pattern and seeing where you can grab on. 

Making this matter more difficult is having to watch your grip meter, which depletes the longer you hold on. You have to know when to let go and wait for it to replenish. This might sound tedious, but it actually keeps things tense and interesting, as the meter never feels like it will drain as you're about to kill or strike a Colossus. What keeps the gameplay from getting too repetitive are the various forms the Colossi take on. From simple walking giants to birds to sand sharks and much more, each fight feels like s puzzle to solve, and they never feel too complex to figure out. When you finally slay a beast, you'll get a great sense of accomplishment that few, if any, games will give you.

The game features amazing lighting

While it might be blasphemous to nitpick classic, I do still have some issues with some of the design and gameplay choices. Despite the game lasting just six hours, the sense of repetition does start to set in after long play sessions. You'll use your sword to find a Colossus, fight and defeat it, and then get sent back to the starting temple. While the lack of anything else to do (other than hunting for lizards that increase your grip meter) is intentional and adds to the atmosphere, it can get tiring having to repeat the same process after the first two or so hours. Equally annoying is your horse, which has an annoying tendency to instantly slow down when you're trying to turn. Seeing how integral your trusty steed is to gameplay, it can grow quite annoying, especially when you're fighting a Colossus that practically requires you to have your horse with you.

Finally, Shadow of the Colossus could have explained some of its mechanics a bit better. For example, you can only see a Colossus's weak point if you have your sword equipped. You also have a bow you use to slightly hurt and get their attention, but the game doesn't tell you that it won't show a foe's weak point when that weapon is equipped. It's more of a nitpick, but it did cause me a bit of trouble early on.


Shadow of the Colossus is still a great game despite its game design becoming repetitive and the fact that some of its mechanics can be quite irksome. There still isn't a game out there that can match its dreary atmosphere, simple but effective storytelling, and outstanding boss fights. It's a one-of-a-kind game that still holds up and that PS4 owners should check out -- especially since it's only $40. It may be flawed, but it's another example that shows that truly great games are timeless.

5 Exclusive Features We Want in Final Fantasy 15's PC Release Mon, 13 Feb 2017 08:00:01 -0500 Michael Llewellyn

Shadow of the Colossus - A Boss Battle Gauntlet

The Shadow Of The Colossus was basically a beautifully made gauntlet of giant boss battles. The boss battles in Final Fantasy XV were definitely a stand out part of the game, with the multi layered strategies needed to take them down. The fights were an epic sight to behold and even more fun to participate in. Maybe an extra hard post-game gauntlet mode where you fight the bosses in sequence a higher level for bonuses and experience points to carry over onto a new game plus.


The open world nature of Final Fantasy XV can allow for quite a bit of flexibility on a machine powerful enough to run the game at full spec with extra game modes and features like mod support the possibilities are endless. Square-Enix have been playing it smart lately and a port with worthwhile features are a good way to breathe extra life into the game on a different platform without making PC players feel short changed due to a long wait for the port. There could also be some hope that some of these features would eventually make it over to the console versions too in the way of DLC which again could add more longevity there too.


What features would you like to see make it on the eventual PC version? Let me know in the comments below.

Dark Souls 3 - Player VS Player Arena Mode

The player vs player mode in Ashes of Ariandel DLC for Dark Souls 3 has proven to be a very popular addition for fans, and I think it would work especially well in Final Fantasy XV.


It would like to see a similar mode where your characters are summoned to another plane of existence in a similar way to an Eidolon to do battle against another force of a similar nature. A mod that has proven very popular in Dark Souls 3 on the PC is the ability to do battle as one of the bosses you encounter in the game. Some of bosses in FFXV are huge so imagine the gargantuan battles of Godzilla sized proportions in an arena mode, it could be a great deal of fun.

Tales of Berseria - Local and Online Co-Op Battles

The drop in and drop out local multiplayer battle system in the Tales series has always been a great addition to the series. The ability for someone other than yourself to jump in and you in your battles without needing to commit to the story is a great idea -- I found it a great way to get my kids into the series without having to worry too much about the complexities of the story.


This idea would lend itself well in a battle system as fun and fast paced as Final Fantasy XV. Both locally with a split screen option and online. An online mode could work as a means of getting more experience points and extra items from helping others that you can take back to your own game -- A gameplay mechanic that worked so well in the Souls series.

Final Fantasy VIII - Triple Triad Card Game

I would love to see an online or even an offline version of Triple Card Triad make return to the Final Fantasy universe. Or perhaps a mini game inspired by Gwent from The Witcher 3 which was so addictive and fun that it got its own game.


I've always found the Triple Card Triad from Final Fantasy VIII to be both challenging and a fun side distraction from the main story, I remember becoming quite obsessive with it. I would love to see it implemented again in the FFXV as another way to get exclusive bonus items, recipes or weapons.

Final Fantasy XV - Moogle Chocobo Carnival 

This should be an easy one for Square-Enix to pull off. The Moogle Chocobo Carnival is completely wacky, tongue-in cheek and strange and that's a great thing because it's features like this that  epitomise what Final Fantasy is to a lot of fans.


As a huge FInal Fantasy VII fan I loved the option to go The Golden Saucer when I felt like a break from the darkness that Sephiroth had began to unleash on the world. Which is why I think making the Moogle Chocobo Carnival a permanent edition to the PC version would be a good idea, rather than it being a timed event.


Now that Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata has announced plans to work on an eventual PC version of the game. The director at Square-Enix has already announced ambitions to add mod support and custom quests and given that FFXV will be made to run on a high end machine, features like higher resolution graphics and faster and more consistent frame rates should be a given. As well as a complete package that includes all the DLC for the extra wait.


PC gamers will have a while to wait though, and at least until after all the DLC and extra content has been patched in, so in the meantime I will speculate and list off some features seen in other Japanese RPG's that could make a good addition to the PC version of FFXV.

5 Video Game Soundtracks That Will Help You Study Mon, 30 Jan 2017 03:00:01 -0500 Caio Sampaio


Who says video games cannot help you study? Through music they can relax you and allow you to enter the right state of mind to focus on reading the pile of books you need to prepare for your big exam.


Whether you like the games in this list or not, it's difficult to ignore the quality of the music in them.  So, even if you are not a fan, take a listen. You won't regret it.


Happy reading!

Shadow of the Colossus 

Best track: Shadow of the Colossus Main Theme


We close the list with another masterpiece of the video game industry. If you played this game, you certainly remember the fights with the 16 colossi. They were action packed, but the universe of the game was the exact opposite of this.


When players were not occupied with killing gigantic creatures, they were free to explore the map, and with its vast empty spaces, it perfectly represented the calm before the storm.


To create this contrast, adding the right songs was paramount and the team dedicated all of the resources it could to getting it right. The result was one of the most memorable soundtracks in the history of gaming. 

Final Fantasy Series (Vocal Collection)

Best track: "Answers", by Susan Calloway


Even if this franchise does not meet your taste in gaming, you cannot ignore the significance it has had on the industry. 


The series has many memorable moments that will forever dwell in the minds of those who played them, and the emotional impact of these moments were possible due to the soundtrack that accompanied them.


The video above plays all of the most memorable vocal songs from the franchise, so you may have a dose of nostalgia as you read through your books. 

The Mass Effect Trilogy

Best track: Mass Effect Main Theme


We jump from one space adventure to another, as we bring you the soundtrack of the series of games that told the story of Commander Shepard and his crew, fighting to save the galaxy.


This trilogy will go down in history as one of the masterpieces of video games, portraying the best this medium has to offer. We can see the quality of these games in many fields, including design, narrative, and soundtrack.


Listen to the sounds of intergalactic achievement as you prepare for your next exam, and mentally visualize the next victory in your life -- passing the hardest class in your curriculum. 


Best track: Horsehead Nebula (first in the video)


This game features simple 2D graphics, but combined with masterful art direction and a cinematographic soundtrack, it delivers a compelling audiovisual experience. 


The aspect that makes this soundtrack perfect for you to listen while you study is that it is mostly slow paced and continuous, so there are no sudden changes to distract you from your reading. 

Life is Strange

Best track: "Obstacles" by Syd Matters


This game became known for making YouTubers cry on camera, and making the viewers drop many tears as well. Despite the saddening end to the story, the songs you listen to as you control Max Caulfiled, a photography student in an academy of arts who recently acquired the power to manipulate time, are relaxing and sometimes even uplifting.


The game features a choice-driven narrative in Telltale style, and if you want to relax and enjoy some quality reading time, listening to its soundtrack is a must. 


Whether you are a student preparing for a test or simply a person who enjoys to dive into a good book, odds are you have the habit of listening to music as you read, and if you are reading GameSkinny, you probably love video games.


There is a simple way to combine studying with games. 


Video games have evolved through the years, and so have the soundtracks that set the tone for them. Composers have produced memorable tracks for video games, just as in movies.


Some are uplifting, others bone-chilling, and some are relaxing, perfect to help you forget about life and focus on the task at hand. These are the ones that are most likely to help you focus on your reading.


With this in mind, we have listed five video game soundtracks that will put you in the relaxed state of mind that will ensure an optimal experience when going through a book.



Cracks in the Stained Glass -- The Flaws of The Last Guardian Sun, 22 Jan 2017 23:52:42 -0500 Kris Cornelisse (Delfeir)

After a long development period of nine years, which saw many followers assuming the game would never release, we were finally graced with The Last Guardian at the end of 2016. General response was quite favorable overall, and the game has become quite loved, garnering reasonable critical response even here at GameSkinny.

You might, however, be astute enough to notice my take on the game in the review’s comments… and unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I could not bring myself to love the game as so many others did.

A little over a month after sinking my teeth into it, I feel it’s time to come forward and deliver a second opinion. I’m hardly the first to point out the negative features of the game, but I feel there are a couple of big arguments that simply must be made both for those who have yet to play The Last Guardian and for any future games that try to emulate it.

Genre Misdirection

First, let’s strip back The Last Guardian for what it is at its core: an exploration and physics-based puzzle game, which has the gimmick of controlling two characters at once.

When you describe it like that, the concept seems fairly bare bones. Obviously, there is more to it than that, but the kind of game at the core of this title is not particularly unique. There are other puzzle games out there that utilize exploration and physics, but almost all of them are somewhat niche titles. Barring a few exceptions like Portal, it’s rare that this genre garners large sales figures and general critical response like The Last Guardian has.

It may seem obvious that it’s clearly a puzzle game when you look at it closely, but somehow this was not something that came to mind when I first picked it up. I honestly didn’t know what kind of game I was getting into. What I did know was that whatever it was, I was going to travel alongside and experience the virtual life of Trico throughout it. The genre and general style of the game didn’t really occur to me, and it didn’t factor in how I was processing it at first.

The developers did a reasonable job in obscuring what is a very niche style of game with a more mainstream sense of appeal. They are taking something that wouldn’t necessarily appeal to many gamers and have effectively blanketed the core gameplay with an interesting concept and aesthetic to intrigue people into playing it.

It’s benign misdirection, mind -- not the kind of harmful or potentially malicious lie that a developer might make in order to sell you a game that is missing promised features. It’s simply that they have crafted an experience that can supersede what the game truly is.

The problem with creating this situation is that for The Last Guardian to succeed, it absolutely had to sell you this misdirection. It couldn’t afford to lead you halfway. You needed to believe it and be swept up by it wholly and completely. If you didn’t, that’s when the cracks in the formula start to show. And in the end, despite a valiant attempt at doing so, the cracks shone through enough that I started to see through the veneer and into the core game underneath.

Immersion is Everything

From the very start of the game, the Boy is placed in a room with a bound Trico, and with only a few very gentle (yet strangely constantly recurring) tutorials, the game sets you off on this adventure.

This is arguably the most crucial point in the game because it is what pulls you into the experience that will hopefully stay with you until the end. The immersion needs to be built here, and generally, I think the opening segments do a reasonable job of this. Players who ultimately end up disfavoring the game seem to rarely come to that conclusion this early.

Despite the controls feeling out of date and unresponsive at first, the opening segment provides enough engagement for players to get a sense of how to work with them and further engage in the immersion of it all. They continue to be irritating at times, but unlike many of the primary complaints about The Last Guardian, this wasn’t the deal breaker for me… not completely, anyway.

Most importantly, you start to get a sense for Trico. You figure out how it moves, how far it can go, what motivates it and how it will react to certain things. Can it swim? Will it swim? What kind of ledges and jumps can it make? Can you hold on while it does so? This is the kind of question you will ask yourself, and every question starts to drag you further into the game.

Before long, I found myself immersed. The Last Guardian stopped being a game that I’d purchased and became an experience, one that I was fully focused on. The “lie” had been successfully sold -- now it was paramount that the immersion was maintained.

To its credit, the game really did try. With the stirring orchestral soundtrack, fantastic sound design, gorgeous scenery and a tremendous sense of scale to the stone ruins you’re climbing through, it’s a game you really want to like. The way that Trico moves, feels and reacts to things only furthers this, which I’ll further touch on momentarily.

The Last Guardian needed to immerse you so much that you completely forgot the nature of the core game.

In the end, however, the facade simply wasn’t able to hold. The sheer magnitude of the immersion required to keep players satisfied with the game and keep oneself in the heart of the experience was always going to be a challenge to maintain, and for some players, it just didn’t seem doable.


Literal Breaks in the Flow

As long as the misdirection applied, the immersion would hold. Unfortunately, there are enough problems that become apparent if you look at them too long or they occur too frequently. The oft-maligned controls and terrible camera are the most commonly cited, but they’re not the only ones.

There were multiple times where I stumbled upon the solution to a puzzle, only for the game to not register it. This was usually because Trico didn’t want to respond, and admittedly, Trico sometimes has a mind of its own for how to proceed. That stops being charming when you stumble upon the actual solution, but Trico breaks and simply chooses not to execute what’s necessary.

It wasn’t a case of having a mind of its own. Finding the solution to a puzzle but then the solution not working is a problem. It encourages players to move away and start looking for other answers to a puzzle that’s already solved. It’s only when after a few minutes of messing around for alternatives that you inevitably get back to the correct solution, and this time Trico decides to cooperate. At this point, it’s not a charming personality quirk - it’s a broken puzzle and a frustrating experience for the player.

Other times, the physics choose not to work appropriately. Things that are supposed to drop or be thrown in certain directions can get completely stuck and force you to restart, instantly breaking the immersion. Throwing barrels is what most people would think of, but there are times when I’ve gotten chains stuck on ledges that won’t drop down to let me climb them. What if Trico’s tail needs to be climbed but gets wedged in a gap and won’t drop to you? Or when a cage that I’m within and need to roll becomes lodged on a rock and will no longer budge? More cracks in the glass.

Personally, the entire mechanic of running from the stone soldiers felt needlessly frustrating. They weren’t especially fast compared to you, but they were difficult to avoid, often had to be negotiated in tight corners that didn’t allow much room to work with, and could only be removed completely by Trico. In theory, you can roll into them to cause them to stumble, but quite often they will simply be unaffected by this or recover faster than you do, and now you’re in their clutches.

Once there, what do you do in order to escape? You button mash repeatedly to struggle against it for just long enough to be irksome. Meanwhile, it carries you further away from your goal, right until it drops you… and the next one in sequence is right there to pick you up again.

The amount of times where I just got sick of the endless chain of grabs and futile running in circles needed to evade these guards was considerable. More often than not, I got so frustrated with these segments that I just wanted to put the controller down and stop. That’s another break in the immersion that could potentially have been designed or handled better.

Performance issues are often a minor problem for me, and one that I’m willing to overlook in favour of gameplay. However, there are times when The Last Guardian’s frame rate will plummet to single digit numbers, and when this is happening in an intense action sequence it becomes extremely jarring and frustrating. It’s hard to appreciate a chase through a collapsing ruin over a sheer drop when it’s presented as a slideshow.

Each of these problems becomes a small crack in the beautiful but fragile stained glass window that is The Last Guardian. A few tiny cracks might not ruin the picture, but there are a lot of them, and they occur regularly enough that it’s hard not to notice them. If the image in the window isn’t compelling enough to hide how damaged and broken the glass actually is, can it really be considered true artwork?

The Chimera in the Room

I’d be remiss if I spoke at length about The Last Guardian without speaking of Trico. Thankfully, this majestic creature is definitely worth speaking about.

The delays in the game’s troubled development cycle feel like they have gone almost entirely towards two things: the physics responsible for much of the movement and environmental puzzles, and the AI that controls Trico. That said, this focus shines through tremendously, because the game’s biggest positive point is just how believable Trico really is.

It feels almost impossible to NOT bond with this creature. It’s expressive in its actions, movements, and sounds it makes. Trico is a creature with its own aims and desires, but staying with the Boy quite apparently becomes its primary one before long, and it’s endearing to watch it do its utmost to follow you. It’ll try to get through tight squeezes, jump across massive chasms, and fight off hordes of guards in order to stay with you. There are times where I had to part with it ever so briefly in order to open the way, and it legitimately felt hard to do.

At some point, it ceases being a program to the player, and starts being… well, Trico.

As the primary feature of the game from both a narrative and mechanical standpoint, nothing else factors more on maintaining the immersion of The Last Guardian than Trico. If Trico didn’t work, then the game simply wouldn’t have worked at all, and it’s truly a tremendous achievement in game design that this creature feels so convincing and alive.

This is, unfortunately, a double-edged sword. Since Trico working is so tantamount to the immersion being maintained, any time when it doesn’t becomes utterly devastating to the player’s suspension of disbelief. Nothing pulls the veil back faster than when something within the creature breaks.

I’ve seen many come to the defence of this point and say that ordering Trico to do something that it simply doesn’t want to do will naturally not work. Since the creature will spot its own pathways and figure out points of interest that are often guides for the player to investigate, trying to brute force what you think is a solution will see it ignore you. That’s not the problem, though.

The problem is thus: there are legitimate times that Trico’s AI simply breaks or doesn’t respond, and it immediately pulls you from the game. I outlined an example above where despite being the only way to proceed, Trico chose not to jump up a ledge even though it was looking towards it. Giving up and assuming an alternative solution proved ineffective, yet next time I went to that same spot, Trico worked. This happened on multiple occasions, and it was frustrating to feel like my time had been wasted in an attempt to solve a puzzle that I’d already bested.

Other times, comparatively scripted events won’t work, and Trico won’t respond as seems necessary. It seems especially tentative about striking with its claw at your command, and there were multiple times where it just didn’t. Once, it decided to completely ignore the enemies carrying me off and let me run around in circles without responding until I reset, where it worked just fine.

Again, the technical efforts behind Trico are not to be understated -- they’ve done an amazing job with the creature, and the game is worth watching or experiencing somehow just for that sensation of bonding with a virtual animal. But, like the entirety of The Last Guardian, it needed to work with as few breaks as possible to maintain the immersion, and in the end Trico couldn’t do so.

Left With Broken Glass

While it might quickly succeed in applying the misdirection and immersing players early on, it’s so crucial that the immersion is maintained to disguise what the game truly is. It was a monumental undertaking to try and get there, but ultimately it just couldn’t quite achieve it consistently.

At the end of the day, it feels like whether you liked The Last Guardian or not is largely up to what ended first: the game, or the player’s patience. Those with high tolerance for frustration and the patience to persist through all of this ended up enjoying the game. Players who lacked that tolerance like myself seem to be less common (or at least less vocal), but I’m certainly not alone in this.

It’s also a common argument that those who liked Shadow of the Colossus will like this game, but I believe this to be pointedly untrue, and as someone who thoroughly enjoys SotC then this article should serve to dispel that belief. I could write almost an entire article on this point alone, however, so for now all I can say is that I consider that notion fervently untrue.

(If you haven't played Shadow of the Colossus by now, you really should)

Many cite that the experience of playing The Last Guardian is worth all this, and I’d almost hesitantly agree… yet instead, I almost think that it’s better to watch a playthrough of the game than to play it for yourself. Doing so allows you to bypass many of the frustrations you might experience and hold on to the suspension of disbelief longer.

There’s a fantastic piece of artwork made out of stained glass to be had here. Unfortunately, it is fragile, damaged, and relies perhaps overly much on player perception of the glass to properly reveal itself.

You might look at it and see the art in the window… but in the end, despite waiting for the game for nine years and trying my hardest to enjoy and perceive it as it was… all I can see are the cracks in the glass.

Since my opinion on the game doesn’t seem to match the outspoken norm, what did you think of The Last Guardian? Did you enjoy it, or do you share my thoughts? Whatever your stance, I’d love to hear your comments on it.

7 Awesome Mount Cosplays to Start Your Week Off Right Wed, 11 Jan 2017 03:00:01 -0500 Emily Parker


Final Fantasy: Chocobo

Cosplayer: Unknown

Cosplaying was a thing even before video games were apparently.


In all seriousness, mounts in video games come in all shapes and sizes. As mounted combat becomes easier to implement and story is given more importance in developing titles, it's easy to predict that we'll have many more interesting cosplays to gawk at in the years to come.


Brave: Merida and Angus

Cosplayer: GreatQueenLina

While Merida might be ready to take on Mor'du, it looks like Angus is ready for a snack.


GreatQueenLina brings us right back to medieval Scotland with this shoot. Duke the horse is a Shire from England, and that's Lina's real hair. If only there was a budget for three bears cubs.


While Merida and Angus aren't well known from their video game, this cosplay is so well done it needed to be included.


Shadow of the Colossus: Wander and Argo

Cosplayer: Headclouds

Agro really shines in this Shadow of the Colossus cosplay. Headclouds looks like she's ready to take down some colossi and is clearly a skilled rider judging by the rest of the shoot.


Agro is one of the first mounts I ever remember really connecting with in a video game, and it's nice to see him represented so beautifully.



Cosplayer: Ewenae

It's too hard to get across Skyrim without a mount and this Dovahkiin has the right idea. I wonder what mod she's running for the armor?


It takes a pretty serious monetary commitment for a new player to buy a mount in Skyrim, but it's worth every penny. Some of us even went for Shadowmere right out of the gate, and had a pretty awesome dragon tank for the rest of the game.


Ewenae is a professional cosplayer with a commitment to documenting her process over on her Facebook (linked above). You'll also find the rest of this Skyrim shoot there.


The Legend of Zelda: Malon, Link and Epona

Cosplayer: The Zelda Project

Malon, Link and Epona come to life in The Zelda Project's Lon Lon Ranch shoot. Epona is a legend among video game mounts, and a favorite part of the games for many. It's great to see her hanging out with the gang before her and Link head out to take on Hyrule.


We all know Link is heading straight for those cuccos.


The Witcher: Geralt and Roach

Cosplayer: Drawer513

Geralt and Roach have a special relationship, possibly the best of 2016. Drawer513 has a great shoot that captures the magic, in fact they were the runner up in The Witcher 3 cosplay contest. It takes a really special mare to be a Roach.


If you'd like to learn more about Roach and her development, check out this really informative and 'serious' behind the scenes video:



Wonder Woman

Cosplayer: Spring-Steel

I hope to see an incredible amount of Wonder Woman cosplay with the new movie coming out, but will any be able to compete with this photo shoot from cosplayer Spring-Steel?


She's got a spear, a shield, the Lasso of Truth and an adorable dapple grey mare. This Wonder Woman doesn't seem to have any use for the Invisible Plane.


This cosplay is a hopeful image for the gaming community. The direction Wonder Woman is headed in should lend to some great games. 


Assassin's Creed 3: Connor

Cosplayer: Eyes1138

Conner may not have a lot of buildings to climb in AC3, but the horse combat was a welcome update.


Our assassin is pictured riding into the Battle at Bunker Hill LARP in Italy. Connor looks pretty calm scanning the field for his target Templar John Pitcairn.


The bond between a video game player and their trusty mount can be a special thing. Whether the collection of pixels that moves you more quickly from one zone to the next becomes something more is up to you and the game designers, and there's nothing that's more of a testament to their impact than including them in your cosplay.


While the majority of us don't have the resources to manage much more than a foam replica, these cosplayers take it to the next level.

What Modern Story-Oriented Devs Should Learn From Shadow of The Colossus/The Last Guardian Fri, 09 Dec 2016 03:00:01 -0500 Damien Smith

Shadow of the Colossus will forever be known for its amazing narration. Team Ico's latest title The Last Guardian is also using a similar narrative to their previous title. They are games that modern developers should learn from when developing their own story-oriented games. What is it that they could learn from the games? Let's take a look.

Please note this article contains spoilers.

What is Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian?

Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian are both action adventures, directed and designed by Fumito Ueda. Shadow of the Colossus released October 18th, 2005, and The Last Guardian released December 6th, 2016. The two games share common elements throughout their narration.

Both games result in the protagonist having an animal as a companion throughout the entirety of the game. In Shadow of the Colossusthe protagonist Wander had his trusty steed throughout the entire game, while in The Last Guardian the protagonist has Trico, a hybrid creature of a bird and a dog.

Both games take the approach of two very different characters forming a friendship without there being any dialogue between them. They communicate and understand each other through motions. This just proves, with both games, that you can become emotionally attached to a character without it needing to be forced, or through dialogue.

The natural build up emotional attachment

Very often video games have a habit of throwing a character's friendship or relationships in your face. It is very much a case of the game telling you this is your friend, you are supposed to like them. More often than not they throw more than just a few of them at you too, to the point of oversaturation.

I often cringe at such an attempt to make the player feel attached to characters, and it results in me having a hard time relating to them in any shape or form. Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian on the other hand do something very different. They give you two characters, one being human and the game's protagonist, the other an animal of some kind. The two embark on a legendary quest, and in the process form a bond.

Sure, there are other characters but most of the game is spent focusing solely on the two main charactors, the player character, and Trico. The two of them travelling through an unknown land causes this automatic bond between the player and the two characters.

By using this method the player becomes strongly emotionally attached to the characters opening up the opportunity to bring a meaningful, and impactful death to a virtual character. Once the death of a character is delivered, it truly saddens the player, due to the players emotional attachment to the character.

So often a character's death in a video game means nothing; it is just another death of a character that isn't real. Most of the time we haven't spent enough time with the character to really care. An example of this would be Metro 2033, with the death of Bourbon.

You spend a few levels with him but eventually, he gets killed. While he is somewhat a character you can grow to like, despite being shady as hell, you don't spend long enough with him for it to have an emotional impact on you. This is the difference between Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian and so many other games. Spending that time with the characters makes it such a powerful experience.

The player sees more of the story than the protagonist

Video games have a habit of telling a story from the perspective of the protagonist; where the player only knows as much as the character themselves do. Indeed this is often done to give the player the feeling of actually being the protagonist, but it isn't the most effective storytelling.

Shadow of the Colossus does things very differently. Throughout the entire game, the player is shown things that the protagonist couldn't possibly know or realize. The first major instance of this is how Wander's physical appearance slowly changes as he defeats more of the colossi.

The player can see these changes bit by bit but the protagonist himself is unaware of them. The second instance is after the player slays the twelfth colossus. Lord Emon, a shaman with a small group of soldiers under his command begin to pursue Wander due to his destruction of the colossi.

This immediately informs the player that things are bound to go badly, but Wander is completely oblivious to this. It is a powerful form of storytelling that few games implement, and when done right can create some of the most impactful moments in a story.

Sympathising with the protagonist

Making the death of a character within a game impactful is difficult, and is even more so when dealing with the death of the protagonist. Very often in a video game, the protagonist is someone who the player can't relate to. It is great taking on the role of a kickass macho man and feeling like an absolute badass while doing so, but that's all it is; a role.

The problem is, we are not like that in reality at all. If we aren't like that, how can we relate to the character? The answer... we can't. Therefore, their death wouldn't mean anything to us.

Wander from Shadow of the Colossus, on the other hand, is a different story altogether. He is on a quest to revive Mono -- a maiden who was sacrificed due to being believed to having a cursed destiny. The connection and relationship between her and Wander remain a mystery but it is obvious he cares for her.

He is willing to do anything it takes to bring her back, even if it means his very death. As humans, we all have loved ones who we would do anything for. When we lose someone we love and care for, if it was at all possible, we would do anything to bring them back.

It is this that makes Wander's mission so admirable and relatable. He is doing what all of us wish we could do. The player grows an attachment to him because of the relatability. At the end of the game, Wander is killed resulting in an immensely sad moment for the player.

After everything that Wander had gone through, and all the time spent with him as he attempts to do what any of us would if possible, you can't help but feel sorry for him. You relate to him, grow to love him all the while feeling sorry for him as you slowly see his deterioration.

It makes his death meaningful and most of all, impactful. Few games have ever pulled it off and I don't think any game has done so as well as Shadow of the Colossus.

What should modern story-oriented devs learn from this?

The first thing that developers can learn from Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian is that the emotional attachment between the player and characters cannot be forced. It is something that should come naturally. If they want the player to become attached to a specific character they must make them likeable and give the player time to gain an attachment to them.

Just throwing in character deaths left right and centre isn't going to do anything. As gamers, we see death in video games so often that we don't even bat an eyelid at it. If a developer wants a death to be impactful, the player must have an emotional attachment to them. Without it, it is just another death.

The second is that showing the player only what the protagonist knows is not always the best way to narrate. Sometimes showing the player things that the protagonist doesn't know is far more striking. It allows the player to know what is happening, more than the protagonist does and it is a brilliant tool to build up the tension.

The third and final thing is for a protagonist's death to be meaningful, the player must be able to relate and be sympathetic towards them. If the player can't relate to them they aren't going to feel sorry for them and won't be able to sympathise with them upon death -- Red Dead Redemption did this perfectly.

Too often developers kill off the protagonist without giving the player a reason to really care. Without the reason to care, the characters death will be meaningless.

While these three points may seem simple and near impossible to mess up, the reality of it is, they are hard to accomplish. Shadow of the Colossus, however, managed to pull all three of them off in one game all the while creating a wonderful world and having excellent gameplay. This is what modern story-oriented developers should learn from this brilliant title.

Today's History Lesson is on The Last Guardian Wed, 23 Nov 2016 10:46:13 -0500 Jeffrey Rousseau

The Last Guardian will be released on December 6. The title also happens to be one of the few titles released this year that experienced a decade in development. Other games that shared a similar set of circumstances are Owlboy and Final Fantasy XV

The game's history began with the formation of Team Ico lead by director Fumito Ueda. Ueda joined Sony's Japan Studio as a first part developer in 1998. To answer the question as to why The Last Guardian took so much time, let's take a look at their past games. 

Ueda's first title Ico, developed for the PlayStation 2, began development in 1997. Ico is a "boy meets girl" story in videogame form. The hero, a horned boy, must help an unnamed girl to escape a castle. Throughout the game, they both face dangers from her evil mother, the queen.

The action adventure title was not released until 2001. This made the title an early addition to the PlayStation 2. Team Ico focused on the design philosophy of: making a game that would differ from others in the genre, featuring an aesthetic style that would be consistently artistic, and the game taking place in an imaginary yet realistic setting. 

Keeping these key features in mind proved to cause some issues. In two years, the PlayStation 1 console limits halted development. Ueda and company faced the difficult decision of cancelling the project. At the time, the PlayStation 2 console was close to release and development was moved to the platform. Eventually, Ico was released in 2001 after a four year development cycle.

With its release, Ueda's distinct fingerprint as game designer and director became known to the videogame industry. Some distinct characteristics include his games' narratives are hardly existent and left to interpretation; the titles in game aesthetics are given life with overexposed desaturated light; and there is barely any spoken dialogue. Over time, he has been considered to be a director whom is able to reflect his personal creative vision in his titles. This is something that is considered to be quite a feat within videogames.

Shortly after Ico's release, Ueda and the team began conceptualization of Shadow of the Colossus. The game was eventually released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2. The game is an action adventure title where the player must slay 16 monumental enemies. The main theme of the game was that of the lonely hero's journey. This was further perpetuated because the hero's only companion is a horse.

Much like it's predecessor, Shadow of the Colossus shared a 4 year dev cycle as well. Now the reason for this more than likely started with Ueda himself. Being something of a perfectionist, the game's production was held to a very high standard. The director was cited to have felt that only 2 out of 500 artists that applied met his artistic vision. He also demanded numerous redesigns until the artwork met his vision for the title.

The lead producer, Kenji Kaido, also demanded the same from programmers. Kaido wanted programmers to make interactions as realistic as possible. The main reason for this focus was due to the fact the player is facing massive enemies. For example, if a Colossi would attack, he would need to react accordingly for the player to believe the experience. Just as in Ico, the game uses desaturated colors, motion blur and partial high dynamic range rendering and bloom lighting.

Afterwards, conceptualization forThe Last Guardian started in 2005, while its active development began in 2007. 


Narratively speaking, this new title was inspired in part by the hero and his horse in the Shadow of Colossus. Ueda wanted to express a story of a boy and his creature companion, so the story involves the boy and a giant winged created named, Trico. The intent is to create an emotional tale between boy and beast.

The Last Guardian was originally announced to be in development in 2009. A brief trailer for the title was shown at E3 2009. Another trailer for the game was released during GDC 2011. 

Much like Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, the game experienced a slow development cycle. Even Sony's President admitted they were experiencing issues. This was largely due to Team Ico and their small size. They were not able to achieve the vision set by Ueda on the PlayStation 3 hardware. 

Sony was preparing to introduce the PlayStation 4 in 2013. So as a result, it was decided that the team change the platform for the game. After that executive choice, Sony had other studios assist with getting the core game adapted for the new console.

Afterwards, in 2011, development was hampered when Ueda left Sony. He left for personal reasons. With his departure, other members of Team Ico left for other game studios as well. 

Ueda and former Team Ico members created a new studio, genDESIGN. After creating the studio, they were faced with a choice, according to Ueda:

Do we try to create something new, or do we keep going, providing support on The Last Guardian?

GenDESIGN decided to assist Sony in completing The Last Guardian through contract and working alongside Sony's internal studio, Japan Studio.

Essentially, genDESIGN developed the creative content for the game, such as character design and animation and level design. It is then put into place via Japan Studio, with Ueda maintaining oversight on the completed project. Ueda has admitted that the game is the same as his original vision. The main difference, of course, is that graphically it looks more impressive running on the PlayStation 4 hardware. He made certain to focus on the fact this was being created for a first time players.

So why did The Last Guardian take nearly a decade to be released? Following Team Ico's history there's many reasons. I would say that staying true to a creator's vision and Ueda's perfectionism are the primary reasons.

Now, is this necessarily a bad thing? I wouldn't say so. If you view any of the recent trailers for the title, you can see his vision has been accomplished. Honestly, if you've played any of Team Ico's games you'd know they're very unique.

Of course, you can't deny that there's the element of the company affecting its release. This isn't new in videogames and is actually quite the norm. Still, the argument can be made as to whether it's a good or bad decision in regards to fans.

Will the wait for Fumito Ueda's third game be worth it? Will he continue on to be considered an auteur of videogames? We'll have to wait and see when The Last Guardian releases this December.

What is it about Open World Exploration Games that makes them so Popular? Sat, 10 Sep 2016 12:09:58 -0400 Richard Sherry

People’s desire for exploration and drive for adventure are as old as humanity itself. Open world exploration games invoke that innate sense of curiosity and discovery by using variety, beauty, and innovation to light the spark. These are games that focus on giving the player choice to tread their own path through a large world with few barriers or limitations, allowing us to shape our own story.

No Man’s Sky is the most recent and high-profile open-world exploration game, while other examples include the masterpiece Shadow of the Colossus, Firewatch even the less-remembered Endless Ocean. The genre has continued to grow and become more diverse, creating more and more interesting experiences to draw in gamers.

Open world games have begun taking over the AAA industry, spurred by the successes of games such as Skyrim and GTA V. Nowadays you’d be harder pressed to find a Ubisoft game that isn’t open world; so clearly the popularity of exploration within games is paramount.

Exploration is one of the pillars of gaming and game design; because developers know as well as anybody that people love to explore, learn and engage with the world around them in both real life and games. By achieving this, open world exploration games make you feel like you’re really a part of the world you’re traversing, rather than a detached observer experiencing someone else’s story. And by truly putting you into the shoes of your character/avatar they can elicit deep emotional responses from the player.

Exploration games, when done well, create a level of immersion that is hard to rival elsewhere. When a large, organic and detailed world is built -- full of interesting characters, locations, and objects to uncover and interact with -- it’s hard not be drawn in. From the sprawling Texan deserts of Red Dead Redemption to the prehistoric wilderness of Far Cry Primal, appreciating the levels of detail and variety is paramount to enjoying one’s time exploring huge worlds.

This variety can come in many forms. From questing and collecting to platforming and traversal, a good range of activities helps to populate large worlds with interesting and rewarding things to spend your time with outside of the main story progression. This variety keeps players engaged for longer with something for everyone to enjoy.

Instead of simply following a single set path laid out before you through waypoints, linear level design and singular narrative (which is not a bad thing in the right situations of course), masterful exploration games open up all sorts of new avenues. They create unique levels of freedom, choice and player agency, letting us fully participate in the world and make it our own.

Don’t want to follow the main narrative and talk to that quest-giver right now? Feel free to wander off the beaten path into the dense forest instead, happening upon a hauntingly beautiful ruined monastery and a pack of ravenous wolves. Escaping by the skin of your teeth, perhaps you’ll find yourself scaling a mountain or reading long-lost documents that shed new light on the world and its history. Or you could be forging uncharted paths through space, discovering new planets and lifeforms, surviving run-ins with space pirates and trading your resources for new technologies.

Smaller games like Firewatch and ADR1FT are also refreshing for their abilities to innovate and throw out the standard rules and stereotypes that games often rely on. Quite a few, for example, do away with combat and shooting, which can be a very welcome change of pace in an industry that so often seems to rely on those mechanics to stay relevant. While some people dislike such games that become little more than “walking simulators”, they provide experiences that aren’t to be found anywhere else in gaming and that many people find novel.

While we can’t necessarily forge new frontiers all too often in the real world nowadays, we can still get those feelings of intrepid adventure while exploring fictional worlds (or even fictional representations of our own world). Open world exploration games can fulfill these spiritual itches as an innate part of the human condition. The joy of diving into another world, spending hours upon hours wandering its environments, means that open world exploration will likely maintain its popularity for some time to come.

Prey for the Gods Kickstarter Sucessfully Funded: Shadow of the Colossus has a Spiritual Successor Coming Sat, 30 Jul 2016 08:42:26 -0400 Greyson Ditzler (PurplePocketPirate)

Prey for the Gods, a game launched on Kickstarter earlier this month, has just recently reached its goal of $300,000 and is now fully funded with one week left to go. 

Prey for the Gods is an (now) upcoming game from No Matter Studios, a newly-formed studio consisting of several Video Game Industry veterans, including Brian Parnell, Hung-Chien Liao, and Tim Wiese. The game also advertises a soundtrack composed by Ian Dorsch, whom you may recognize as the composer of the opening and closing music themes for the internet review series Zero Punctuation, among other things. 

As many people have already observed, and what has stated directly by the team at No Matter Studios themselves, Prey for the Gods takes elements and inspiration from many different games, but they are most clearly inspired by the Playstation 2 classic Shadow of the Colossus by Team Ico. 

Shadow of the Colossus is often cited as one of the best, if not the best game ever made for the Playstation 2, and is also a frequent go-to example often used in the debate of Video Games as a high art form, so attempting to ape it's wholly unique and emotionally evocative style is both bold and likely fairly difficult. Not to say that the game does not have a distinct style of its own.

In a video released by Polygon earlier this month, No Matter Studios showed off around four minutes of Pre-Alpha gameplay, with some mild editing in order to briefly touch on some of the mechanics and elements of the game discussed in the Kickstarter pitch video, such as scavenging/survival gameplay as well exploration, and, or course, fighting giant god-like monsters. You can see that video below:

While the game has been fully funded, there are still stretch-goals yet to be reached for Prey for the Gods; Such as additional weapons and animations, and perhaps even a fully orchestrated soundtrack. 

Based on what's been shown off so far, if the promise of the initial concept holds through the development process, then Prey for the Gods may end up being yet another reason to be thankful for Kickstarter. 

If you want to support the project for the remaining week that it's up then click here.

(It also appears as though they will be taking PayPal donations after the actual campaign is over).

Top 5 Steeds in Gaming Tue, 12 Jul 2016 10:41:28 -0400 Megan M. Campbell


Whether they're horses roaming the plains or dragons soaring the skies, these are the 5 steeds who get the job done. Because they're more than your steed; they're your friend that always has your back. They're willing to fight through thick & thin alongside you and take you to your next destination to complete your quest. So next time you mount a steed, think about them as more than just your ride. 


[Source Image: Chain Mail War Steeds]



Shadow of the Colossus

Your only friend throughout your adventure, Agro is the loyal steed that helps Wander travel throughout the forbidden land. Appearing in Shadow of the Colossus for PlayStation 2, Agro also plays a role in battle, as she is necessary to defeat some of the Colossi. Agro is essential when facing the Collosi Basaran, Dirge, and Phalanx.


She always has Wander’s back, as she automatically dodges obstacles and is practically invincible (minus the endgame segment). Right before Wander faces the final Colossus, Agro sacrifices herself in order for Wander to make it to the final boss. If that isn't proof of friendship, I don't know what is! 


[Image Source: Agro and Wander]



Super Mario Series

This green dinosaur made his debut in Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo back in 1990. Yoshi made it much easier to stomp Goombas and Koopas alike. He also has projectiles when he swallows enemies by turning them into eggs which can be hurled at flying Parakoopas. He is so loyal to Mario that he even takes one-hit damage for him! 


Since then, Yoshi has also made an appearance as a steed in Super Mario Sunshine, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and New Super Mario Bros. U. With his abilities to turn enemies into his weapons and undying loyalty to Mario, Yoshi is definitely the steed you can count on to have your back.


[Image Source: Super Mario World Yoshi]



The Legend of Zelda series

This friendly horse has been by Link’s side ever since The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. In the game, she is Link’s go-to steed when traveling the land of Hyrule. When Link isn’t using Epona to travel, she can be found in the hands of the Ranch Handler, Malon.


Epona also makes appearances in Majora’s Mask, The Minish Cap, Twilight Princess, Hyrule Warriors (as a DLC weapon), and will appear in Breath of the Wild. It just goes to show, no matter what incarnation of Link needs transportation, Epona will always be there. Just make sure you have plenty of carrots! 


[Image Source: Hyrule Warriors Epona]



The Elder Scrolls Series

First appearing in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Shadowmere is the dark horse who originally belonged to Lucien Lachance of the Dark Brotherhood. She is given to the Hero of Kvatch, the protagonist of the game, to help him on his adventure.


Shadowmere is the fastest horse in the game and is capable of reaching areas otherwise inaccessible. Her high health and aggression also make her valuable in combat.


You can also obtain this steed in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and The Elder Scrolls Online. Unfortunately, these iterations of Shadowmere received a decrease in speed, morality, and apparently has changed gender. If you’re looking for an awesome looking steed and all around tank, Shadowmere is the horse for you!


[Image Source: Shadowmere]


Mega Latios/Latias

Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire

The Eon Pokemon duo are your noble steeds in Pokemon Omega Ruby & Pokemon Alpha Sapphire. You are able to obtain Latios in Omega Ruby or Latias in Alpha Sapphire once you reach the Southern Island. After you save the legendary from either Team Magma or Team Aqua, you will obtain the Mega Stone for your version’s legendary and receive the Eon Flute from Steven.


With the Eon Flute, you take to the skies and soar over the land of Hoenn. On the back of this majestic Pokemon, you can travel to Mirage Spots, catch Flying-type Pokemon, and even perform aerial tricks. Plus, who wouldn't want to pet and feed cupcakes to these adorable dragons?


Mega Latios and Mega Latias add a little more flare to traveling around the Hoenn region and make the experience all the more memorable.   


[Image Source: Mega Latios/Latias Artwork]


Horses, Dragons, and Dinosaurs. Oh my! In open world games, the heroes seem to get all the glory -- and we always seem to forget about their steeds. Let's be honest, they're the ones who do all the work. They help you get around, aid you in combat, and are the ones you can trust to have your back.


From horses to mythical creatures, we're taking a look at the steeds who are more than just a mode of transportation.


[Image Source: Skyrim Horse Combat]

Waxing Rhapsodic About Shadow Of The Colossus Thu, 09 Jun 2016 04:45:35 -0400 Captynplanet_8219

For most people who play video games, there is that one title which will always have a special place in their hearts. Whether it was a game that got them into their favorite genre, something that spoke to them on a personal level, or just something they had an unforgettably good time with, people form attachments to their favorite games that stay with them for a very long time.

For me, Shadow of the Colossus is the game that my mind always wanders back to when I think about important titles in my life. 


I won't lie -- I wasn't completely enthralled with Shadow of the Colossus when I first played it. My 13-year-old gamer inhibitions wanted airships and summons, and all I was seeing on the screen was a kid with only a bow and a sword who didn't talk except for when he yelled for his horse.

Don't get me wrong, I thought the game looked great; I still do in fact. Shadow of the Colossus was one of the prettiest games that came out for PlayStation 2, and it ended up looking better than a decent amount of games made for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. But graphics haven't ever been a huge selling point for me.

"You mean there's no ultimate weapon I can get by grinding for 20 hours?" I mockingly asked my television screen.     

"No there isn't, but we promise if you spend a bit of time with this game you're sure to love it!", the imaginary disembodied voices of Team Ico hearkened to my immature ears. 

I didn't listen, and returned Shadow of the Colossus to Blockbuster -- only to snatch it back up when I saw that it had almost gotten a perfect score in the gaming magazine that I was subscribed to back then. And after I finished my first playthrough I was hooked.

Shadow of the Colossus definitely isn't your normal Japanese-developed RPG. Where a lot of JRPGs back then (and even now) had random encounters throughout the world maps, Shadow of the Colossus doesn't have anything like that. The game is a series of sixteen boss battles with enormous creatures that seem to be a mixture of organic matter and stone, and that's it.

It's stark, but its starkness is one of the things that makes the game so magical. And Shadow of the Colossus is stark in more ways than just the lack of enemies to fight. The protagonist, Wanderer, only has a sword and a bow throughout the whole game, and that's all you get in terms of equipment. Your trusty horse Argo is the only real companion accompanying you, and the plot in Shadow of the Colossus is pretty minimal.

All of this doesn't really matter, though. If there were a million weapons to go out and get, it would take away from the game's integrity. Shadow of the Colossus is just as much about the bosses as it is about the main character, and if the devs had decided to add a bunch of extraneous material it would have taken away from the experience in my opinion.

At the risk of sounding cliche, I'll go so far as to say that there is a feeling of purity to Shadow of the Colossus. Wanderer has traveled to a distant land in order to revive his deceased love, and in order to do that he is charged by a deity to kill the colossi, and that's exactly what you do in the game. There are no side quests, there is no collectible card game, there is no blitzball.

Shadow of the Colossus doesn't try to surprise you, and it doesn't try to trick you. Wanderer uses his sword to guide the player in the general direction of the next boss fight, and getting to each colossi is pretty straightforward. But when I saw the colossi for the first time I had a moment of, "wait I'm about to fight that?..." which I haven't really gotten from many games since then.

Shadow of the Colossus made me feel small. And anything that has that kind of effect on someone -- whether it be a game, painting, book or some other type of art -- is important. Hopefully Team Ico's long awaited project The Last Guardian, which is supposed to finally come out in 2016, can evoke a similar feeling.  

If you can pick up a copy of Shadow of the Colossus and a PlayStation 2 on the cheap, I highly recommend it. There is a reason that it's commonly listed as one of the best games to come out in the 2000s.

Top 5 Games With Epic Endings Tue, 12 Apr 2016 04:17:56 -0400 MetalMack

Doesn't it feel like games are becoming more and more "open-ended" nowadays? Everything must be a set-up for a sequel or a franchise. Nothing really has an ending least from what I have seen.

When you have a game that has an epic ending, it's one that leaves you satisfied, if a little sad. Once it's all over, it is one of the best feelings of accomplishment that you will probably ever have. You saw the story all the way through to the end and completed a journey. You feel like a hardened trooper who trudged through hellfire and brimstone and now, you actually reach the light at the end of the tunnel. It's an amazing feeling.

So, before I get into this list of games that managed to do this (for me at least and hopefully for the rest of you), I will say that when I mean "ending", I mean the entire final build-up to the closing scenes, not just the final cutscenes themselves. So, without further ado, here are my top 5 games with epic endings.

1. BioShock Infinite

So I'll go ahead and get this one out of the way, since you have already seen the image at the top. I absolutely love BioShock Infinite. It is true that it has few connections to the first two games, thus not making it feel like a real "BioShock" game. What I really love the most about it is that it's a self-contained game: having its own, unique story and world that don't rely on the franchise to explain its lore. This can backfire though. If you stray too far from the source, a game can feel too alien to fans of the franchise. Very few games can pull this off. So that's why BioShock Infinite is refreshing and enjoyable to me. 

Its ending moments were executed with a level of skill that I have seen in only a few other games. The fight on Comstock's Zeppelin combined with the huge revelations of who Booker DeWitt actually is, and his connections to Father Comstock did not feel like a bait-and-switch or a deception to players of the game. Everything felt like it was in place and made sense, albeit rather insane sense. The action-oriented final fight coalesced perfectly with the slower final cutscenes of the narrative. It just works. BioShock Infinite is the perfect mix of action and storytelling. 

2. Shadow of the Colossus

You might notice that most of the games on this list have "reveal endings." What I mean by that is games which have a big reveal or plot twist at the end that totally changes everything. It is a big gamble but if it pays off, then it can propel the ending of a game into the stratosphere. Shadow of the Colossus definitely does this.

The great thing about this game is that it's a story that is not told through extensive dialogue. This, too, can be a double-edged sword. Without dialogue, it becomes harder to tell a story. At that point, it would have to be done visually. Shadow of the Colossus, to me, is how video games can truly be seen as art.

It is revealed slowly but surely, but after that final epic fight with the sixteenth Colossus, the final cutscenes and the reveal of what's really going on and what Wander's place is in all of it makes the ending to this game satisfying. To those who played the game, I bring you a gift of nostalgia:

3. Metal Gear Solid IV: Guns of the Patriots

This is my favorite game of all time for various reasons, but one of them is just how this game ended. I knew it was going to be epic. I could feel it as I was completing the final stages of Guns of the Patriots. It was just perfect. Everything from the previous games built up to the final moments of Kojima's masterpiece. It all fell into place in the gigantic and beautiful puzzle that is the Metal Gear Solid franchise. Sure, a lot of people who played the game like to complain about the length of the cutscenes. But I mean, c'mon, this is Hideo Kojima we are talking about here! What did you expect from the god of game-writing?

The return to Shadow Moses was not only an amazing moment for us Metal Gear nerds to geek out on, but also it was an allegory for how everything must end where it all began. Also, the epic fight between Snake and Ocelot brought everything full circle as well. I really can't do this game justice in a couple of paragraphs -- but fans of Metal Gear, you know what I'm talking about. To everyone else who hasn't played, you SHOULD. And you will see why I have put the MGSIV: Guns of the Patriots on this list.

4. The Walking Dead Season One

My God. What an ending this game had. Well, at least my version did. Telltale has given us games that allow us to make our own choices and decide the progression of the story/what happens to certain characters. I love these kinds of games. I don't mind games without a ton of action as long as I can influence the story or interact with it in some way. Telltale is the master of this craft.

The end to the first season of The Walking Dead Telltale games was more than just a tearjerker to say the least. It left with you with a sense of dread: What will happen to Clementine? Where will the story go next? The end leaves you certainly wanting more, but as the first game in the series, it doesn't do too much to set-up for the sequels, which is something I really enjoy.

I really want to put all the main Telltale games in this entry, but I feel that the first Walking Dead game followed the Telltale formula the best. I kind of wished that they had some of the characters from the games appear in the show because they were done so well. Very few games have had an impact on me like The Walking Dead. But with how it told its story and how it finished it, I will never ever forget the experience it gave me.

5. The Shining Force

Surprise! Most of you reading this might not even of heard of this game. But this was the game that really got me invested into the stories of video games, rather than just hitting the A and B buttons over and over again. To those who don't know The Shining Force, it is a tactical turn-based RPG similar in style to Final Fantasy Tactics. However, the thing I remember most from this game is the long and incredible adventure you embark upon. You meet countless characters and have them join you, each with their own unique personalities. There are side-plots and side-quests galore.

And most of all, the ending to the game is fantastic. You fight against The Dark Dragon, and entity that is literally trying to consume the universe. I don't want to spoil it all for you, but a big sacrifice has to be made. It was a really sad moment, because I became really invested in the other characters and my relationships to them. And, of course, I'm a sucker for altruism in my stories.

If you haven't played a single game in this series, I highly recommend it. Each entry is unique and has a beautiful story to tell, each with its own epic endings. I promise you won't regret playing them. Starting from the first game, The Shining Force series only continued to go up and up. Please, check out this game series if you are any sort of RPG enthusiast.

Do you agree with this list? Let me know in the comments! Also, check out my other article on this subject: Top 5 Good Games With The Worst Endings!