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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Failure of the Colossus

I'm on the last giant in Shadow of the Colossus, and I've got some complaints to voice. If you haven't gotten this far in the game, stop reading. Don't stop playing - the game is completely worth it up to this point. But right now I'm getting a very God of War feeling for disappointing ending.

The main problem with this giant is it's circular design. But it's not design which is making this so frustrating ... it's mechanics. Everything up to this game has balanced it's overly complicated control setup with a fairly fluid set of mechanics which allows players to actually getter better at distinct tasks like climbing up specific parts of fur or legs. So once you've figured out part of a fight, it generally gets easier.

I'll foreshadow my problem by saying it took me a half hour to get across the bridge. Why? Because thee camera kept circuling around and I was trying to keep the horse straight. An impossible task and the horse knew it. I finally just tried letting the horse guide itself ... and voila. Question is ... why didnt the designers realize what the camera would do to the controls?

Apparently they kept ignoring it. Having a level which has large parts going around a radius and a camera which attempts, often poorly, to follow that radius ... while the player is trying to use an analog stick to maintain a couple directions at once? Ouch. Seriously, seriously ouch. Especially when I'm in this giant's mitt and it's rotating it's arm, it's hand and the camera is going around as well? Half the time I can't even see the character and the other half the character is futilely climbing against the grain ... and often it's both.

Bad show. It's this kind of failed mechanics that makes me hate nearly every jumping puzzle in nearly any game. I understand what you want me to do. I can do it 99% of the time. You force me to repeat it over and over. And if I fail once ....

I get to start all over again. You want me to be precise in my actions? Fine ... give me precision controls.

I definately need to see this game through to the end, but I feel it ending on a downer now.

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