Why Shadow of the Colossus is the Most Overrated Game of All Time - Will Sora Layton Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Why Shadow of the Colossus is the Most Overrated Game of All Time

SPOILERS

Some of you just read that statement, and probably are already in a "NOPE, WRONG DUDE" attitude. Some of you may spam this blog with "HOW COULD YOU THINK THAT!?" and such. Even though I do think there are other games that are very overrated, like Mass Effect 2, the love I see for Shadow of the Colossus everywhere is something that just, boggles me. I can understand how some of you may love this game, but let me break the ice: this is one of the most disappointing and overrated games I have ever played.

Time to start the hate.

Let's start with some disclaimers-I did not play this game at released: I played it for the first time at Christmas in 2011, when I got 2 copies for it Christmas after asking for it...two people gave it to me...so yeah, that's how that started. Prior to getting the game, I had always been very interested in the game, after seeing all the love for it online, and it was very eager to try it out. I'd seen screenshots of the great art style the game employs, and was excited at the idea of a game being like a whole bunch of more complex Zelda bosses. 

So, I started up the game in the PS2 I'd gotten for playing through the Kingdom Hearts games, and steeled myself for that  was sure to be a great, adrenaline-pumping experience. Instead, dropping into the shoes of Wander, I found myself in one of the worst controlling games I'd ever played. Immediately, moving around Wander, I cringed a but about how he moved. It may be that I'm so used to controlling Link, Mario, and other characters who move quickly and lightly, but other people I've seen here on GIO like both Zelda and this game, so it may just be me. In any case, the protagonist's heavy footing and awkward movement was an immediate flag to me. I brushed it off though, because I thought it was just going to be a one time thing.

Going up to Agro to ride to the first Colossi, I climbed on, and was immediately granted with more frustration. While, in other games like Zelda and Assassins' Creed, I controlled a horse with the analog stick and used a button simply to boost speed, Shadow of the Colossus requires you to constantly mash a button to keep Agro moving, and it's just tedious. You can say I'm complaining about just pressing a button over and over, but when it's going for over a minute to get to where the Colossi are...that's annoying, and a problem in my book. This also works to get me to not like Agro, since he's so cumbersome and unhelpful to me while playing, acting almost as a hindrance instead of a helper, since I become more and more frustrated with using him.

Your controls are pretty bad Agro...can I import Epona?

After that trouble was dealt with, I made my way to the first Colossus, who's bipedal. On the way though, the player needs to climb up some rocks in order to get into the valley that the first Colossus is in. I knew beforehand that all the Colossi involve climbing onto and around it in some shape or form, which was a really awesome concept I thought, after doing similar things in Super Mario Galaxy, Zelda, and other similar titles. However, on this rock wall that needs to be scaled-I started, and was immediately put off. The control scheme was awkward, and, coupled with the faulty camera angles, made it so I fell a couple times. Dusting myself off, I told myself that things were going to get better, and that this was the experience I was hoping for, and it would be that experience when I got to the Colossus.

Getting to the aforementioned boss, I looked up at his grand figure, and saw how awesome his design was, coupled with the crumbling rock walls and vines around the valley. I moved towards him, and after a bit of puzzle solving, managed to climb up onto him so I could climb up to the top of his head to draw out some blood. While climbing up, I experienced more difficulty in moving from spot to spot, and fell at least once. Finally, I dispatched him, and had the whole weird black tentacles cutscene that happens with every other Colossus. At this point, I was a little wary of the future, but was optimistic at playing through the game, hoping I would adjust to all the issues I have previously mentioned.

For the rest of the Colossi, I had mixed experiences, though overall, they were mildly negative. A couple of them, such as the two flying ones, I enjoyed, despite the hardships associated with moving around on them during the flight. Some others, which were mainly the bipedal ones similar to the first Colossus, I had similar feelings akin to the first one. I got used to Agro some more, but in some cases, like when he had to be used in battle, I was still frustrated, and every time I turned on the PS2, I only would get one or two Colossi done, and would be too frustrated to continue to trudge my way through the game. Finally, after several months of frustration, I reached the final Colossi.

I really, REALLY, hate you.

Coming into this guy, I was relieved to be nearing the end, even though I had had some fun with the game. One thing prior to fighting the final Colossus is that Agro, Wander's horse, dies(though is later revealed to have survived) from throwing Wander off a collapsing bridge. This moment did not really get tons of emotional anxiety out of me, because of how frustrating the controls had been up to this point with him. A main thing with me is that I actually care a lot about most characters in games-even Larry from The Walking Dead, who I tried to be friends with. Not Agro though, because he ultimately was just there as a necessity-I didn't feel an emotional connection. And this is coming from the guy who cried at Pokemon Mystery Dungeon's stories. 

Finally starting the final battle, I realized that the game didn't close out with a bang: it did so with the most frustrating Colossi of the game, so much so, that I still haven't gotten the motivation to defeat him, even though I got to him several months ago. There are a couple things I really hate about this boss, which pretty much sum up my problems with the game as a whole. The first is the initial part of the battle, where Wander needs to hind behind cover to reach him and avoid his all-powerful lasers. These lasers, if the radius of their explosion comes close enough, take a toll on the player's health, and also cause Wander to be uncontrollable for over five seconds. Sure, someone could say that's realistic, but to me, I was incredibly frustrated by these moments, especially when I would get up and another laser would be heading my way almost immediately. After toiling away at this part a couple times, I got to where one begins to climb him, and this is a real mess in itself.

Climbing up the final Colossus requires some odd jumps, and basically results in death if you fall off. Once you get to this head, all you have to do is stab him a few times in his seal, just like all the other Colossi. However, there's one small problem: he is 95% of the time shaking his head to get you off, and gives you a very small window for attacking. I'm patient with some things, but this wasn't one of them, and I was super frustrated by what was happening. I have died at this point twice, and in the months since my last attempt, I still haven't gone back to attempt again. It simply tests how long you can play without getting frustrated enough to turn off the console.

So, all this culminates in my opinion: this game is very, very overrated. Despite how majestic the Colossi are, and how much the story makes you think...I can't marvel in their beauty, or ponder my actions, when I'm shutting off the console for the fortieth time because I can't take how bad the controls are. My patience was simply tested over and over and over, and I can't justify this being a must-play game in any respect, unless you want to look around the world a bit. The awful controls and occasionally shoddy camera distracted me from the great art style the game does employ. As for the story...well, again, you need to make me care about the characters...and I didn't.

While there are some old titles I've played for the first time and never really been captured by that everyone else seems to have been, this game is the stand-out: it is, I feel, one of the most overrated games of all time, and was a major, major disappointment in my opinion. People can love it all they want, but as for me, I will never look back at this game fondly. It is simply a hassle to play. Maybe I'll finally finish it someday, but it will be with reluctance, and simply to finally get it off my backlog.

Now this looks good. :P I couldn't find anything else...

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