Tag Archives: Fumito Ueda

Ico (2001)

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Man likes well-regarded game; footage at eleven.

How does one end a game like Shadow of the Colossus with any semblance of hope? The story climaxes in a catastrophe caused entirely by your character‘s actions, not only eternally sealing off your now-demonic person but abandoning the woman you swore to save in a desolate valley with little hope of escape. It’s a gut punch of a finale, and its inevitability does not detract from its mournful and sour taste. Yet Fumito Ueda and his team are too smart and too human to believe you can end a masterstroke with a one-note, soul-stomping dirge, and as the credits roll, we can’t help but feel a shred of hope for the world they created. Perhaps it’s as simple as the mood set by Kow Otani’s score, or that we are grateful to spend a few more minutes gawking at the game’s lush scenery. But for fans of Ueda’s previous title, there is one overriding reason we believe all might not be lost: he reincarnated Wander as a boy with horns. Continue reading

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Shadow of the Colossus (2005)

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 A deserving masterpiece is at once subversive and straightforward, a fable about not always trusting fables.

Shadow of the Colossus is, at least in part, the story of a man’s hubris flying in the face of natural order. I take this to heart while writing this, because talking about any other “important” videogame before it feels like going against the grain just for the sake of it. How can you discuss this medium without first tackling the game that explicitly asks what’s so damn appealing about killing things in an expensive-looking simulator? And yet, I fear that by writing about Shadow of the Colossus too early, I’ll have nowhere to go but down.

For a game laced with both heady and popular influences (let’s get Moby-Dick, Miyazaki, the loneliest bits of Zelda, and the Troy McClure classic David Versus Super-Goliath out of the way), Shadow of the Colossus never feels like mere pop-culture amalgamation or a round of post-modern spot-the-references. It’s almost suspiciously pure, so stripped-down in storytelling and aesthetic that it feels more likely to have sprung from Greek myth or Bible stories than the powerful processors of a mid-aughts Sony Entertainment. Amazingly, the game maintains the familiarly repetitive, objective-based structure of most action-adventure titles, but not once alters course or complicates it with new elements; hell, even Ico had you improve your weapon a few times. If there’s one Fumito Ueda lesson I’m glad to see rippling through the industry, it’s that words like “complication,” “backstory,” and “length” are not at all synonymous with “depth” or “feeling.” Continue reading

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