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15 colossi da affrontare
LOS ANGELES--One of the games that drew our attention for a good, long time at this year's G-Phoria awards event was Shadow of the Colossus, a cinematic PS2 action adventure game from the makers of 2001's memorable ICO. Like its predecessor, Shadow features some truly breathtaking environments and a keen attention to artistic detail and subtle storytelling. Unlike its predecessor, Shadow is very action-packed, focusing on dramatic confrontations with more than 15 different behemoths, each one more intimidating than the last. We got a chance to play the latest build of the game, which featured improved visuals and three different colossi battles, and came away with fingers crossed more tightly than ever in hopes that Shadow will live up to its enormous potential.
In the game, you play as a young boy on a quest to restore his love back to life. The only way to do this is to undertake a quest to rid the world of monstrous colossi that can be found roaming the environments. These enigmatic creatures do not immediately seem threatening, but defend themselves ferociously against their tiny assailant. Armed only with a magic sword and a bow, you must identify each colossus' weak points and figure out a way to strike at them until your foe is slain.
Shadow of the Colossus features a good amount of Prince of Persia-style platforming and exploration, but the gameplay will be focused on epic battles between you and your gigantic foes. The colossi look incredible. This time we got to see the minotaur and the knight colossi in action. You've seen these guys in the screenshots, but squaring off against them is something else. Their bodies move with unnatural grace and mass--Shadow of the Colossus does an absolutely stupendous job of rendering an appropriate sense of scale between you and your towering foes. The battle against the knight colossus was especially impressive and challenging. Bits of rubble stream off of the enormous creature as it winds up for massive, crushing swings with its sword-arm. These cause the whole screen to shudder violently, and leave huge craters in the ground.
The battles in Shadow of the Colossus are puzzle-like in nature, since you need to use your sword's magical beacon effect to first identify your foes' weak points and then to figure out a way to get up there. But there's plenty of pure reflex-driven action, too, as you struggle to keep your balance during the fight. A visual indicator shows how close you are to losing your grip. You need to rest up a little in order to attack and climb with your full strength, but as you recover your strength, the colossus might very well knock you off of its body and try to crush you.
The game isn't quite as punishing as it may seem. Long drops and crushing blows from thousand-ton stone swords don't actually prove fatal, and you restart the fight should you actually perish. Still, it's quite amazing and exhilarating to watch these battles pan out, since the animations just look so good. All the while, your character seems barely able to keep his grip, using his every ounce of strength and determination to assail his foe.
We noted some new and improved motion blur, particle, and filter effects in this version of the game, which gave Shadow of the Colossus the appearance of a fantasy film. In fact, we've never seen a game capture the look of celluloid quite like this one does. For good measure, we reconfirmed that the game will feature support for widescreen progressive-scan displays and surround-sound audio, which ought to ensure a stunning presentation. We also got a good earful of the game's symphonic score, which seemed to match the tone of the experience just right.
Shadow of the Colossus is scheduled for release in October, and we hope and expect it will be much more than just a collection of boss fights by the time it finally ships. The producer on the project left us with some tantalizing details: that a 30-minute ending sequence, along with a truly extraordinary (and extraordinarily long) battle leading up to it, should make for a satisfying conclusion, but that Shadow will also include unlockable extras, subtle connections to ICO, and other hidden secrets. Check out our gameplay videos if you haven't already to see why Shadow of the Colossus is worth getting excited about.