I may not have all the answers as to what I want to be as an online personality, but one thing’s for sure: writing about video games makes playing video games more rewarding for me. For that, I’ll treat video game reflections like a journal, writing about them as I get to them, even if that means a post for each playthrough of the same game.
For my first entry, I’ll reflect on my third playthrough of Shadow of the Colossus.
The ironic part is that after my first playthrough around a year ago, while I certainly appreciated this game, I didn’t think I’d ever want to play it again. Now here I am, having just finished it on hard mode where the game was already hard enough; I mean, you don’t want to hear the sounds that come out of my mouth at every playthrough.
What surprised me, however, was how little the difficulty was ramped up. Sure, some colossi had extra weak points, and some seemed to attack more fiercely, but some didn’t seem to be any different at all. There was one colossus, however, that had me half-jokingly saying as I saw its corroding body during an end-credits montage, “You better rot.”
I said in my now-defunct review on Catholic Wannabe Critic: “…I do have a problem with how the symbolic devil that Wander makes a deal with has powers too godlike…” This time around, my biggest problem with the story is that the unjust sacrifice that sets off the protagonistic Wander’s journey isn’t paid for in the end, or at least not in a way that would dissuade the criminals, who seem to be religious authorities, from committing this injustice again.
I can’t say this makes the story entirely anti-religious as these authorities are proven quite right to warn people not to set foot in the forbidden land Wander sets off to. Not to mention, it’s not clear whether or not such a sacrifice they’ve committed is a usual occurrence. What the story is clear about is that Wander is wrong in the way he combats this crime.
The ultimate message is that there are consequences for doing the wrong things even for the right reasons, and that there’s always a second chance. Even then, I have mixed feelings about how Wander is given this second chance.
The game may be pretty self-important, so much so that my siblings couldn’t help but make fun of it, but its self-importance works due to how visual its storytelling is. It’s fun to play, and its boss battles are awesome in every sense of the word, but there’s a gravity to its violence. Heck, the musical score, whether it’s somber or exciting, gives a mythic gravity to the whole thing. It feels reductive to call Shadow of the Colossus a game, yet as a fable, it wouldn’t work in any other medium without getting repetitive.
There’s a reason why many claim it to be one of gaming’s masterpieces, and it’s so far the biggest reason why I don’t regret buying a PS3 outside of the Blu-ray function.