Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian

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Triggerhappytel
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Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian

Post by Triggerhappytel » Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:50 am

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With The Last Guardian expected to release some time later this year (although I think it will slip into 2012) and Ico/SotC getting a HD Collection before then, having a proper topic on this 'series' and Team Ico generally is long overdue.

They're some of the most divisive critical darlings of the last few years, so what do you think about these games? Personally, I think they're fantastic, and games like Ico/SotC restore my faith in gaming among all of the FPSs and sweary trying-too-hard violent games out there. I cannot wait for The Last Guardian even though secretly I know Team Ico and its lead Fumito Ueda will do something at the end to break its players' hearts (cat-gryphon has to kill the boy? Vice versa?!). I'm also really looking forward to re-playing Ico and SotC, which I believe are far more imaginative and beautiful (visually and thematically) than almost all games so far this generation.

Anyone else a fan of this series? Or not; please let me know and I'll send around a couple of priests with some rosemary and holy water.
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Re: Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian

Post by DifferentClass » Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:53 am

I really like Ico; it's a genuinely magical game. The huge architecture combined with the wide camera angles would dwarf you, making you feel escaping in an impossible task. Communicating everything really effectively through body language a nice touch, too. It wasn't a bad puzzle game to boot.

But in all honesty I can sort of take or leave SotC. I enjoyed what I played of it (which is most, didn't have the patience for the last colossus) but it's not there amongst my favourite games which Ico probably counts itself in. I just didn't really connect with it. The colossi are wonderfully designed but I wasn't overly fussed about taking them out. S'good though, I can see why people dig it so much.

So when it comes to The Last Guardian I'm quietly looking forward to it, it seems more Ico than SotC from what I've seen so I think I'll be more enthusiastic about this one.

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Re: Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian

Post by Bob Syko » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:21 pm

RECKLESS SPOILERS FOR ICO AND SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS NOW!!!

I am also looking forward to the Last Guardian. Should be good but I'm not sure why people think it is going to have such a sad ending. Maybe I need to play Ico again or maybe it was one of those shitty 'dream' endings because no one believes that it could actually have a happy ending. But didn't the kid wash ashore and then they both chowed the fuck down on some watermelon? As I understand it the PAL ending was different but that doesn't mean it should be ignored.

I loved Ico anyway, bought the re-release and completed it three times over a couple of days. Had so much charm and tension, the combat wasn't great but they managed to take the worst aspect of pretty much every game ever made (the escort mission) and not only make it fun but make you want more of it. The puzzles were far too simple at times, so simple in fact that they went right back round to difficult as I searched for the most complex way possible to solve them. Only to find I had to push a block one square to the right. I think I had just been playing a puzzle game at the time that had really obtuse puzzles in it so my mind was making everything much more complicated than it needed to be.

Shadow of the Colossus I loved when I first played it. There was one in the water with four platforms around it that took me about three hours but other than that I thought they were all really well designed. The ending was very sad although for me it was mainly because of the poor limping horse but you know, I still almost cried like a sissy boy. I have tried to play it again four or five times since though and I just can't. It is so unbelievably dull and after a few Colossi in you have to go a really really long way round to get to the next one, I always get lost and then save it intending to try again later. Then when I pick it up next I will load my game to find myself at some random shrine and I have no idea what I am meant to be doing.

I understand why they made it so big and empty and the first time when I was hunting newts or whatever they are and shooting stuff off trees it wasn't so bad because I was distracted. It does work, you do feel very isolated and it builds quite a strong bond with the horse because it's the only living creature around that you don't want to murder. In general I think the use of gameplay to build the story is fantastic and I can't think of a better example of it. However, that doesn't stop me from finding it too dull to actually play and appreciate.

I will be picking up the HD collection when it comes out even if it's just for Ico. Maybe the new visuals and newt hunting will make SotC interesting again since I do think it's an important game. Just one that I don't currently enjoy.
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Re: Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian

Post by Fly_Me_Friendly » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:46 pm

Despite their limited output, Team Ico are my favorite developer these days. I love their attitude towards games and gaming - telling great stories through gameplay rather than endless cut scenes. I also find the layered, sublime worlds they create the most engaging I have ever experienced in gaming. Can't wait for the Last Guardian - don't think i've ever been so excited about a game that i've seen so little of.

Ico is an excellent game which I enjoyed from start to finish. With regards to atmosphere and gameplay (go from point A, to point B, in order to open point C) it reminded me so much of the old Amiga platformers - Prince of Persia and Another World. Was delighted when I read that Ueda declared those particular games to be Ico's main influences.

I possibly like SOTC even more despite it's problems. I always think that as a game SOTC is faulted, but as an experience it's fantasic and one that everyone should witness. Just the sheer scale of it is absolutely sublime and the world you inhabit is so vast and layered that it actually feels like a real place. Many didn't like the vast emptiness of the gameplay in between colossi, but I thought that was the genius of it. You'll explore a forest clearing, for example, and find a load of ruins or a spectacular waterfall. There is no point (gameplay wise) for those things being there, but I wanted to explore and find them purely for the joy of looking. A true work of art imo.

Still own both of these on PS2 but will be buying the Collection as a mark of respect.
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Re: Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian

Post by Triggerhappytel » Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:10 pm

I understand why people don't gel with SotC, as it can be a very isolating and even dull game. However, for me this was a positive - it really felt like I was transported into this forsaken, otherworldly realm where no-one had been in hundreds of years. That, and the colossi themselves were amazing beasts (and contrary to popular opinion most of them do attack on sight) and the whole thing just felt so unique and imaginative and left me awestruck. I also really enjoyed exploring the gameworld even though there wasn't much content, and there was a little forest-y glade with a river through it (about 1-2 o'clock as you look at the map, if the bridge in is 6 o'clock) that was just a wonderful little area to be in and had an amazing view over a huge gorge and valley.

I also think that had there been, for instance, smaller enemies or monsters to battle between the colossi (I know no-one's suggesting this, but I have seen it mentioned previously) that it would have diminished the purity of battling the colossi; the fights themselves were like vast puzzley rewards for making your way through the environment to the beasts, and I think having other enemies would have been out of context with the rest of the game. I mean, it can get a bit tiresome having a long horse ride between battles and perhaps getting lost, but again I think this adds to the feeling of a vast unforgiving land and a journey that Wanda is undertaking.


EDIT - great post FMF; I totally agree. I concur that SotC is a flawed game, but as an experience and something which moves the medium forward it is an incredible and thought-provoking example. It's also one of the only games where you're cast as the 'bad guy'; i.e. Wanda is doing something which is driven by totally selfish means, and he doesn't care about the consequences. The moralistic angle is much more mature and interesting than in something like Fable or BioShock, or the like. I also like how we're never explicitly told what the backstory is, nor who Wanda or Mono or Emon are. Wanda says at one point (to Dormin) that Mono had a cursed existence, and I wonder whether she was the Dark Queen from Ico; a fate she ultimately could not escape except through death. Apparently from one of the coastlines you could see in the distance a structure which may have been Ico's castle, although I never saw it and don't know if it was a wind-up.

Also, Agro is the best sidekick ever.
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Re: Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian

Post by Pious the chosen » Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:11 pm

Easily my favourite Sony based series thus far (Sorry Kratos). Simply sublime pieces of gaming from start to finish. Now although i'd heard of Ico I eventually only purchased and played it after SoTC, as such my preference or reverence is given more to the latter. To date I have played through and completed SoTC 4 times and Ico twice (although only one Ico playthrough was 100% complete) I found I had minor niggles with the interface of Ico in comparison to SoTC which I did find a little jarring in my first playthrough, although I did persevere through them eventually.

To me SoTC is a 10/10 game, without doubt or question, its rare that a game has so completely resonated with me in every way possible. The setting, the plot, the challenge of toppling virtual giants using nothing more than a sword and bow was all so utterly inspired. Its tone I find akin to Metroid with its themes of isolation, exploration and menace. The twists that followed Colossi 16 were both amazing and completely surprising.
Ico on the other hand, took some getting used to. Chiefly was the games heavier reliance on combat which I don't always like (EG Uncharted 2) The story again was really compelling although told in a more obvious, straight forward manner and although Yorda was a pain initially by end game I did hope they both managed to escape. Personally I found both endings bittersweet yet not outright bad as Ico/Wanda & Mono/Yorda are still alive by the end sequence albeit either trapped or doomed, as is the case with Wanda.
I am eagerly waiting for The Last Guardian, if for no other reason than to see how the amazing Team Ico will tie this one into the overall storyline.

Triggerhappytel wrote:I concur that SotC is a flawed game.
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Re: Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian

Post by PlatinumSpectre » Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:15 pm

Never tried Ico, but I didn't enjoy Shadow of the Colossus. I thought it was very boring going around killing boss after boss with literally nothing else too do. I got bored after about the 4th giant. I think I didn't get on with it because I was playing with a RUBBISH TV that honestly made the game look disgusting. It seriously put me off.

But, Im willing to give it another shot when this comes out.
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Re: Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian

Post by Mr Marvellous » Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:20 pm

Ico has to be my most replayed game in the last 15 years.

Just love the tranquil setting the haunting music and the sheer scale of the environment . Love it how you can look back and identify previously visited areas in the Castle which just makes it seem a real place rather than xones your just passing through.
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Re: Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian

Post by sleepery jeem » Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:16 pm

I was fortunate enough to come to ICO blind (hadn't read any reviews at the time),i picked it up purely on the strength of the box art.

It's definitely in my top five games of all time,that first time you jumped the broken bridge and yorda needed help :oops: i actually lunged at the t.v. so absorbed was I.As for a favorite spot in the game probably the windmill with the pond i would just watch yorda play (not in a creepy way you understand,just so sweet),and as for the worst definitely the watermill despite playing it four times i would always f#ck it up.

As for colossus yet more gaming perfection marred only by a cheap end boss...energy blast's :roll: i mean come on.

Still got both games (cardboard boxes :roll: ) with the art cards,have done the watermelon ICO scene but have yet to go to the secret garden on colossus.
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Re: Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian

Post by Triggerhappytel » Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:41 pm

Pious the chosen wrote:
Triggerhappytel wrote:I concur that SotC is a flawed game.
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But it is. Some of the biggest fights have disruptive frame rate issues and camera angles which hinder more than they help. I think although they got a hell of a lot of performance out of the ol' PS2, its ambitions ultimately outstripped its hardware.

On PS3 they're apparently going for a solid 30fps, although I doubt anything else will be tweaked (like some of those aforementioned camera angles). Blue Point games are doing the ports, who previously did the GoW Collection.
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Re: Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian

Post by Pious the chosen » Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:25 pm

^^ I found Ico had more camera issues than I even noticed in SoTC, in particular when certain Shadow's grabbed Yorda and knocked Ico flying the camera didn't really help in navigating the landscape back to her.. as for all the frame rate stuff, i've never understood what people are talking about. maybe its a technical PC related problem but unless it refers to game lag (as seen in Mega Man 2 for example) I don't really notice anything other than that.
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Re: Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian

Post by Fly_Me_Friendly » Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:29 pm

Yeah, it's flawed as a game imo. The aforementioned camera was an issue for me and I found the control of Wander to be a little sluggish at times. I also have issue with the unresponsivness of Agro which, although apparently a conscious decision by the designers (they wanted to give him personality as a companion in an otherwise baron world), was annoying at times from a purely gameplay perspective. These are faults that would never normally be ignored in other games and I don't think they should be here. I think they are certainly forgivable though as when you look at the scale of the thing and, as TriggerHappy said, the hardware was really being maxed out to bring the vision to life.

With regards to the lack of action inbetween colossi fights I think peoples criticisms are valid. It was a stylistic decision by the developers and it's clear that some liked it and some didn't. I personally loved it. I think the gentle, empty and isolated journey time worked in brilliant contrast with the epic and intence colossus battles. It made them much more powerful events. It also helped build brilliant tension leading up to them. The mixed feelings of anticipation/fear/excitement just before meeting a new colossus for the first time is something that I have never felt so intensely in a video game before or since.
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Re: Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian

Post by Pious the chosen » Tue Mar 22, 2011 9:35 am

Fly_Me_Friendly wrote: as TriggerHappy said, the hardware was really being maxed out to bring the vision to life.
You could really notice this is some places. I remember once trying 60hz mode (remember that??) and although my new TV could handle it, the PS2 definately struggled, especially as I was fighting one of the Water based Colossi and it was all a bit much for the console which led to the game crashing just as the Colossi soul hit me.
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Re: Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian

Post by DifferentClass » Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:59 am

Fly_Me_Friendly wrote:With regards to the lack of action inbetween colossi fights I think peoples criticisms are valid. It was a stylistic decision by the developers and it's clear that some liked it and some didn't. I personally loved it. I think the gentle, empty and isolated journey time worked in brilliant contrast with the epic and intence colossus battles. It made them much more powerful events. It also helped build brilliant tension leading up to them. The mixed feelings of anticipation/fear/excitement just before meeting a new colossus for the first time is something that I have never felt so intensely in a video game before or since.
Yeah, while I said I wasn't that into SotC I don't think I'd demand it to be any other way, I see what they were going for with the game; It just didn't do a lot for me. But that's not to say I expect every game to pander to my own styles of play, you can argue whether games are art until the cows come home but I do truly believe they are a form of expression, SotC and Ico are fine examples of that. The technical issues of the games were never a big enough issue to me to sway my thoughts on them.

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Re: Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian

Post by Mooglepies » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:01 pm

Never played Ico. SotC is wonderful in its own way, it would really benefit from not running at a framerate that makes it nearly unplayable though.

I liked how you only ever had control over the hero; even when you're on Agro's back, you only ever control where the Hero wants him to go. It felt much more organic than, say, Zelda OoT or even Red Dead Redemption to a certain extent.
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