I have to start out this review by admitting something. I hate boss battles. I remember being shocked when I started hanging out in online gaming forums and finding out that most gamers love them. I had been so sure that they were universally despised that I had hoped to rally enough people to convince game makers to stop using them altogether. Shadow of the Colossus was one of the most disappointing games I’d ever purchased for that reason. I’ve never been about high scores or challenge, but rather about wish fulfillment. What did a game let me do that I couldn’t do in real life? With Frogger on the Atari 2600 it was enough that I could move a frog on the TV. That was unbelievable to me. With Mario it was that I could shoot fire balls. Sonic could run fast. You get the point. I also liked to beat the game because that’s how you got to see the best cutscene, something I’m sure most gamers reading this are cringing about right now, but it was never about conquering the game.
Children of Colossus should be a game that I loathe then. On top of being nothing but boss battles, the graphics aren’t fantastic and the gameplay is very simple and repetitive. But I don’t hate it. I actually really enjoyed this game. It definitely has its problems, but I was able to overlook them in order to just enjoy myself.
On the title screen we are given a bit of story. I actually wish there was none because it’s not a very good story. The Colossi used to care for us puny humans, protecting us from all sorts of dangers. But then we grew stronger and decided we no longer needed them and they stood in between us and precious resources. So we did what we do, and we destroyed them all. Or, at least, that’s what you’re going to do.
On the level selection screen you pick up a sword and a wand. These are your weapons for the entire game. You then select the first colossus and begin. This is where one of the problems pops up. There is a narrator who is telling you about the weapons but when you pick them up he starts saying something, but I don’t know what that is because the two vocal tracks play over top of each other and it just becomes a jumbled mess. It has nothing to do with the gameplay, but it does make the product feel unpolished, if not unfinished.
Once you’ve chosen your stage you are brought right to the Colossus. There is no level to play before hand. At the start of the game the narrator is there to tell you exactly what to do. He tells you to step to the left or right to avoid getting hit and there is a red mark on the ground showing the danger zone. Later the narrator does be quiet and let you figure it out for yourself but if you die too many times he comes back to hold your hand.
To hurt the colossus you have to fire magic bolts at a weak spot usually on it’s head, but sometimes it’s other places like a shoulder or tail. The spot is marked with a circle that is divided into segments. Some have three segments some have five segments and each time you hit it the circle one of the segments turns red. If you turn the entire circle red then when the colossus attacks you it will have a weak spot on it’s hand or foot that you have to attack with your sword after dodging. The colossus will attack whether you fill in the head circle or not, but you will only get the extra attack chance if you do.
And unfortunately this is where another of the problems rears it’s ugly head. Hit detection on the weak spot is iffy at times. You can often fire more bolts than you need to fill the circle and they will all hit, but not all be detected. This is more of an annoyance than a big problem though since once you get the pattern of the colossus there isn’t much chance that you will die. But the bolts are limited by a magic meter and if you get too low you can’t fire a bolt. There are potions that fall from the sky which partially refill your meter if you hit them with a bolt, but they are less plentiful on some of the colossi and seem to never be around when you really need one. The meter does slowly refill on it’s own though so you may just be stuck dodging attacks until you have enough or you see a potion coming down.
What made the game so fun for me was the size of the colossi. They are massive and the feel massive. Having to watch for their attacks, the circles that indicate weak spots and falling potions means that you’re pretty active for the entire game. And once in a while the colossi will launch a special move that means you have to duck or move farther than you normally would. In spite of all the rough spots, the main game is still good fun, albeit short.
An important point that I almost forgot to mention is that there were a number of times when attacking a colossus with my sword that the spot I was attacking was outside of my guardian boundaries and one time I actually hit my controller against my desk. It was never impossible to get a hit without leaving the bounds because the end of my sword was far enough from my hand that it could connect outside the guardian but it’s still something to consider if your guardian boundaries are right up against a physical object or surface.
If the game were more expensive I would say skip it. There are better experiences to be had if you’re going to drop real money on a game. But it’s only a little more than a cup or two of coffee and will keep you busy for anywhere from half an hour to a couple of hours depending on how well you do and that’s fine because the formula might get old if it were much longer than that. If you’re bored or just looking for something new to play and taking down some huge monsters sounds like it would cure what ails yeh, then give it a go.
- Comfort Level 95%
- Graphics 50%
- Sound 65%
- Difficulty 50%
- Fun Factor 75%
- Overall 60%
Daryle Henry | Dads And Dragons