Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Monsters and pets

It would be a shame if I didn't post anything on here in a whole month (midterms, lack of willpower), so I'm going to try to post a little something every day for the next few days.

Right now I want you to look at the new game from the studio that made Ico (appropriately named Team Ico) and Shadow of the Colossus. Ico is a puzzle solving game about a boy with horns. Because having horns is frowned upon, the boy is locked away in a fortress. The boy finds a princess living in the fortress and the pair try to puzzle-solve their way out of the place. That's about all I know, other than that the game is supposed to be wonderful, and that I am a total poseur for not having played it yet.

I know a little more about Shadow of the Colossus. This is one of the main games that I talk about when I want to give someone an idea of what I consider to be a near-perfect game. The premise is simple enough: a young man (with a horse!) brings a dead or dying girl to a big talking temple. The temple says, with the speech patterns of a Japanese person learning English at a Rennaissance Faire, "Thou must vanquish some giant things to save thy chica." Without hesitation, you then take your chunky horse and a sword, climb around on big living statues, and stab them in the head. The visuals are dustry, the soundtrack is pretty and orchestral, and the game tosses your floppy, skinny character all over the place. All of these things make for an epic experience that has a standard plot but feels the opposite of most epic adventure stories. It is rare for a game (or any media for that matter) to successfully and purposefully make you feel tiny.
The soundtrack, in addition to being very epic, is also pretty haunting. The feel of the game in general is melancholy in a way that is a refreshing change from that of most games. There are also subtle ques that alter the way that you feel about defeating one of the colossi. You would think that it would be a triumph to take down one of these things, but sometimes you just feel bad because they look like cute animals. He just wants to play!

Also, when you kill one of these guys some black tentacles fly out of their corpse, skewer you, and cause you to collapse while a horrible crackling sound and a vibrating controller harass you. The pairing of success in the game's mission with negative emotional reinforcement is interesting, especially when you get to the end of the game only to find out that the Renn-Faire temple has tricked you and you have been doing its evil bidding the whole time (mua ha ha).

Oh, I initially planned on talking about the new game that stylin'-ass Team Ico is working on. So far there is just this leaked trailer that was supposed to be revealed at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) next month. Since I ended up loving on Shadow of the Colossus for so long, I'll just show you the trailer and talk about it later: