The one good thing about Shadow of the Colossus

It seems that a HD-port of both ICO and Shadow of the Colossus for PlayStation 3 is in the making. Whoever hasn´t played ICO, yet, should take this chance to experience one of the finest PS2-games. It successor isn´t that much of a “must play”, but there´s one thing about Shadow of the Colossus that was great and, oddly enough, has not yet been copied by dozens and hundreds of newer games. Of course, I´m talking about its climbing mechanic.

The player´s main goal in Shadow of the Colossus was to climb up on each and every monster´s back and stab it to death. However, the way this climbing was done was creative and immersive. Where in about every other video game you see a climbing spot and then simply push the analog stick upwards, maybe combined with pressing buttons to active an interactive spot within the environment, it is a much more believable and enjoyable thing to do in that PS2-game. Basically, by pressing one of the shoulder-buttons, your character holds onto the ledge in front of or near him. However, should you release the shoulder-button, your character would also release his grip and fall down. This is combined to an on-screen stamina-graphic that indicates the weakening grip of your ingame character. All the while you yourself feel pressured by having to keep pressing the shoulder-button. The mechanic greatly simulated climbing surfaces while immersing the player into doing kind of the same thing.

Additionally, the game featured very precise and varied options to climb walls and surfaces, which made it feel all the more interactive since you didn´t feel like having to follow a certain path (even if that´s what it came down to). More modern games that are known for their climbing-style gameplay would be Assassin´s Creed and Prince of Persia, but both these games featured very automated mechanics that didn´t keep the player involved at all. It is a pitty that this gameplay-element of Shadow of the Colossus hasn´t found its way into a lot of other games as it would be a great way to give the player a more advanced level of interaction with the game. But apparently, this interaction-focused style of gaming doesn´t get along well with the Hollywood-style games of today´s. And when climbing is hardly different from a QTE-sequence as can be “experienced” in Uncharted for PS3, or all these super-linear shooters, whe climbing doesn´t even exist anymore, it´s showing where this industry is going and what kind of games we´ll see more of.

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