Comment: Is It Wrong To Hate Shadow Of The Colossus?

Kotaku chose to highlight a comment from earlier on this month.  The thrust of it being:

So yeah, my buddy is all annoyed that I didn’t like his precious Team Ico game. And I tried it again this morning and felt the same feeling. The game is really cool but the controls just ruin it for me and I don’t want to play, nor do I feel compelled to finish.

Firstly, I don’t think it’s uncommon for people to ruin games for their friends by pushing them really hard to play them.  They claim to be encouraging you to play a game, but they may be more likely pushing you to experience a game their way.  Having set your expectations, you are now playing that game through their eyes.  It’s easily “ruined” since you can’t dissociate that person from the game, and no two people play a game the same way.  You will be expecting to be knocked off your feet, while your friend was knocked off his feet precisely because s/he wasn’t expecting anything.

Next, Shadow of the Colossus is not a perfect game.  I echo the commenter’s sentiment about the game’s controls: “The amount of frustration I felt because the guy on screen wasn’t doing what I needed him to do was ridiculous.”  When I had originally rated the game, I put it at 3/4 (actually, a 4/5 at the time) precisely because of the controls.  I even rated the game’s time attack mode separately in order to vent frustration with the controls.  I eventually revised my rating for the game up to 4/4 for the strength of its high level ideas and how they shined through a less than optimal control scheme, but I can’t really blame anyone for getting fed up with it.  For the time, I’m not sure how else the game could have been designed, it’s just a matter of how much you are willing to put up with while playing.

This brings me to another Kotaku comment, highlighted this time by Critical Distance.  In defending Roger Ebert’s right to “not give a shit about video games” as art, the commenter makes this point about games (like Shadow of the Colossus) that are used as “proof” that games are art (emphasis mine):

In almost every game suggested (Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Flower, Katamari Damacy, even Braid), part of what makes them so special is how they interact with our existing vocabulary as gamers. Not in the way of language, but in the way of interaction. Games such as Shadow of the Colossus are so interesting to us because they transcend our expectations.

The complexity of the controls in SotC is a real deal breaker in appreciating it as being artistic.  And while it’s still artistic, even if only appealing to a limited audience, I think the gaming community is interested in games (as an idea at least) receiving wider acceptance as part of the larger zeitgeist.  So giving criticism to a game like Shadow of the Colossus can be very valuable, especially when it comes to controls.  These are things than can be improved about the game without compromising its spirit.

So yes: it is more than OK to hate Shadow of the Colossus if done so critically.  It could possibly help to make the game more accessible to more people should the game be revised and re-released (as the console game industry is so fond of doing.)


0 Responses to “Comment: Is It Wrong To Hate Shadow Of The Colossus?”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Posts filed under…


My Twitter

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.


%d bloggers like this: