Thursday, May 18, 2006


OK, so I promised a review of Shadow of the Colossus, less known as "ICO 2".

Good stuff:
YAY for horsey. I loved the horse animations, riding a horse in a game is a lovely pleasure, especially since it's got different speeds, and it really has a lot of character. Love the fact that it steers like a real horse too. ;)

The fights take about half an hour each, which is just long enough to keep my interest without becoming tedious. Once a boss is done, you get a lot of satisfaction in seeing the damn thing fall. You also know exactly how far you've got to go.

The variations of the colossi... damn those guys are creative. A lot is gleaned from real-life mingled creatures. So there're flying, swimming, crawling, jumping etc colossi. But it's so well done! My favourite has to be one that was actually insanely difficult.

*Spoilers follow*

It involved jumping on your trusty steed, galloping at full speed with 1 x chasing colossus, then shooting the damn thing in its giant eye, so that it would hit the side of the cavern. This involved keeping the horse going, aiming at the colossus (so you were pointed backwards) and hoping your horse wasn't about to run into a wall. Oh, and try not to get eaten by the huge sand snake colossus chasing you. :) There was sheer adrenalin pumping in my veins by the end of that. Very intense thrill.

*End of Spoiler*

Bad stuff:
Some of the bosses are exasperatingly difficult. And walkthroughs don't help. :P Just the thought of going back to try kill the flying thingy makes me ill. I'm stuck at the 4th to last creature, and it's driving me nuts. Make sure you've got a partner to assist you with this - a collegue said that he and his girlfriend got through this by taking over when the other got too frustrated to play.

Yes, it eventually becomes a "Gotta finish playing this stupid f-ing game so I can carry on with my life in peace." Does this make it a bad game? Does the absolutely breathtaking visuals, that keep on stunning me (unlike Oblivion, which quickly grew old), make up for the frustration? Do the heart-stoppingly large colossi that literally shake the ground upon which you stand, ease the pain of having to climb up several times, only to fall off because you lost strength?

I think it depends on the player. For 90% of the game, I enjoyed it thoroughly, the solutions were pretty straight forward, and a bit of timing and luck took me the rest of the way. Now I just have to work up the courage to take on those last few bosses....


The case against Starf****

Yes, Starf**** is a swear word, and I'd rather wash my mouth out with soap than utter it's dirty name on my lips. It creeps insidiously onto your computer with the legal purchase of a rather pricey game, and relegates your DVD drive to a stone age hack. My fairly new DVD-CDWriter combo has now got the capacity of a 4x CDRom (at least, I think so, I got bored of timing how long it takes to copy a CD after an hour. Yes, an hour. No, not a DVD, a CD.

So I uninstalled the drivers, using a very handy little app from some hackers. Thank god for them, who else would we turn to? I don't think my Drive has recovered fully yet. I suspect only a clean install of my machine will wipe the scourge completely off my beloved.

So now I use this name as a swear word... and avoid like the plague any game that comes with it. Hey, it actually is helping with piracy - I won't even pirate a game with its protection. How fantastic is that? I'm sure the publishers are thrilled that using Starf**** results in loss of sales AND piracy. What a solution.

What brought on this tirade? I sat down this evening to enjoy a few demos that I got with PC Format. I thought I'd start with Spellforce 2, and move onto X3:Reunion. Spellforce wants me to install Starforce. Ah ha, ah ha, ah ha ha. Copy protection.... for a DEMO. (Damnit, another coin in the swear-jar.) I didn't even bother with X3. Stuff that, let me go and play Heroes4 a bit more.