2005’s Shadow of the colossus was released as the prequel to ICO on the playstation 2. upon release it was heralded as one of the most visually creative and impressive games ever made and it still holds up today.
The premise of the game is simple, you play as a boy called Wander who enters a forbidden land. Wander must travel across a vast expanse on horseback and defeat sixteen massive beings, known simply as colossi, in order to restore the life of a girl named Mono. The game is unusual within the action-adventure genre in that there are no towns or dungeons to explore, no characters with which to interact, and no enemies to defeat other than the colossi. Shadow of the Colossus has been described as a puzzle game, as each colossus’ weakness must be identified and exploited before it can be defeated.
Wikipedia states that shadow of the colossus is cited as an influential title in the video game industry, Shadow of the Colossus is often regarded as an important example of video games as art due to its minimalist landscape designs, immersive gameplay and emotional journey. It received wide critical acclaim by the media and was met with strong sales compared to Ico, due in part to a larger marketing campaign. The soundtrack was also widely praised. The game won several awards for its audio, design, and overall quality. Today, the game is widely regarded as one of the greatest video games of all time. Shadow of the Colossus is also referenced numerous times in debates regarding the art quality and emotional perspectives of video games.
And thats all fine but why?
Well, it’s probably because it was so ahead of its time. The game itself wasn’t particularly long or difficult but it aimed to be so striking
In fact in terms of actual gameplay or story it’s nothing special (not that it needed to be.) It gives of the illusion of doing so as the basic concepts of gameplay and story are just blown up to eleven. But the size of the game really had a statement on the gaming community, essentially saying: this is what games can do now, in a similar way to what Final Fantasy 6 & 7 did in terms of gameplay. That has since been interpreted in many ways and regardless of what it has since created, you cannot argue that it was quintessential in doing so.
Games such as Portal, and Bio shock, took those ideals from Shadow of the colossus and moulded them to fit their ideals. And both are heralded as amazing creations.
We’ll just have to see if The last guardian does the same.