Shadow of the Colossus takes place nearing the edge of the known world, in an area known only as "The Forbidden Land". It is here that a demon (or god of sorts), known as Dormin, resides. Dormin, having the power to bring back the dead, is approached by the protagonist, Wander, who makes a deal with the entity. If Wander slays sixteen colossi who roam the lands, Dormin will revive a girl, known as Mono, whose body Wander carries with him.
However, these colossi are living mountains, for the most part. In fact, several are literally hundreds of feet tall. Faced with these sorts of foes, Wander seems almost destined to lose horribly. At least, that would be the case if the colossi did not have one major weakness: their seals. Ancient seals are carved in to the flesh of these creatures, which, if stabbed with the blessed sword that Wander carries, serve as their Achilles Heel. The goal is simple: climb the colossi, locate their seals, and slay them, one-by-one.
Released state-side in Fall of 2005, Shadow of the Colossus was met with great, widespread acclaim (unlike its predecessor, Ico). This was the result of strong domestic marketing, which Ico lacked. Touching on the marketing campaign (which was pretty freaking awesome), check out this blog and read this for more info. A tad bit of colossus spoiler stuff, so if you've never played this, read 'em later.
The games by "Team ICO" are typically upheld as works of art, so to speak. In the realms of presentation, artwork, and musical score, it is polished to a nice sheen. Its overall atmosphere is fantastic, to put it simply. The Forbidden Land itself is devoid of most life (a few lizards, birds, and tiny critters are around, just to show that they simply didn't "forget" to include creatures). There are no other monsters or regular enemies. Wander will only face sixteen opponents: the colossi. Additionally, the musical cues (background music, transitions, etc) only appear in cutscenes or when you are nearing a colossus. The long stretches leading in to the colossi battles were seen by some as boring, but they actually do a very nice job of building tension, as well as suspense. Additionally, the game's story is very sparse. Outside of the few cutscenes, the storyline and themes are up for discussion and interpretation. The creator, Fumito Ueda, even confirmed that this was his goal. Much like Ico, there is a general idea that the creators had in mind, but they remove lots of indicators, and leave hints to more subtle things on the side. In spite of all this jargon, the storyline is very straightforward. Filling in the gaps, though, is quite interesting, in my opinion
The main complaint that people had with Colossus was the occasional slow-down (caused by PS2 hardware limitations). Thankfully, the colossi encounters, for the most part, tend to be devoid of these snags. Although, there have been rumors of a re-release of Ico & Colossus for Q1 of 2011 for the PS3 (a la God of War), so this could very well be addressed.
The LP's Structure -
The gameplay I show is going to be on Hard mode. Each encounter with a colossus will be fleshed out to a certain degree, and I'll try to highlight what's going on (as well as why I'm doing the crazy stuff I am). Rather than making it look like a rehearsed speed run, I'll try to make the progression seem natural (but I'll be careful not to stall). For those who don't like my commentary (or just want to see a fight without interruption), I'm also uploading a non-commentary video for every colossus. This will consist of largely the same video with no commentary whatsoever. Episodes will be on a one-colossus-at-a-time sort of basis, but I plan on having at least three or four bonus episodes in the end (showing off unlockable stuff, maybe some general exploration for the folks who enjoy the scenery, etc).
Accompanying every update will be general info/trivia on said colossus (in spoiler text), plus some screen shots and artbook pics in case I didn't get a perfect angle on the big fella. Also, throughout the LP, I'll also be touching on a few points that people tend to miss out on, or try to make sense of some details. Given the storyline's structure, though, I'll be pulling my punches on some neater, spoilerific stuff (symbolism, strong references, etc) until after the ending is done. I'd also like for folks to chime in or offer their opinion on something, if ya'll feel willing
On the subject of spoilers: once it's been covered in a video, it's fair game to chat about in the open. I'd rather not turn this topic in to one massive block of blacked-out spoiler text, though, so let's try to avoid terribly rampant spoilering, if possible. Sounds vague, I realize, but there's a big difference between a two-line spoiler and a page-long block of black lines. I won't flag down staff or anything of the sort; just be courteous
I know that Blip says "NO SUBTITLED LPs", but folks have mentioned that they aren't terribly active in cracking down on this. Let's hope they don't notice If they do, then Youtube ho!
The information or random info that I plan on spouting off has a mix of sources. There didn't seem to be any one site in particular that had EVERYTHING on-hand. Every major site that panned up on Google had some different angle covered. My goal is to blend together this stuff as best as possible (the random facts/trivia, my interpretation, common interpretations, symbolism, etc). Anyhow, the nitty-gritty won't kick in until we're quite a ways in to the game.
On another note, I shamelessly stole the following divider from the Team Ico Wikia But it looks pretty slick, so there.
Map of The Forbidden Land -
In-game, the map itself is largely obscured by clouds until you explore the covered region. However, I don't feel it is spoiling anything to post the fully-revealed map right here. In every episode, I will include a picture showing where we are headed in the region, along with coordinates. Our starting point in every episode will be the Shrine of Worship, F-4.
Table of Contents
- 01: Introduction/Tutorial
- 02: Valus, the First Colossus (Bad videos. No cropping)
- 03: Quadratus, the Second Colossus
- 04: Gaius, the Third Colossus
- 05: Phaedra, the Fourth Colossus
- 06: Exploration -- The First Four
- 07: Avion, the Fifth Colossus
- 08: Barba, the Sixth Colossus
- 09: Hydrus, the Seventh Colossus
- 10: Kuromori, the Eighth Colossus
- 11: Basaran, the Ninth Colossus
- 12: Dirge, the Tenth Colossus
- 13: Exploration -- The Fifth through Tenth
- 14: Celosia, the Eleventh Colossus
- 15: Pelagia, the Twelfth Colossus
- 16: Phalanx, the Thirteenth Colossus
- 17: Cenobia, the Fourteenth Colossus
- 18: Argus, the Fifteenth Colossus
- 19: Malus, the Last Colossus
- 20: The Ritual
- 21: Extras