Shadow of the Colossus (2018 Remaster): Complete

Over the weekend I put some more time into this classic title and was finally able to complete it last night. All in all it wasn’t a very difficult game, but for its time it would have been a tad more difficult, only because we weren’t as apt to Google game walkthroughs. For the most part I was able to figure out the puzzle of each colossi, but there were a couple tricky ones (particularly the last boss) that required some research to complete. One thing I forgot to show off the last time I posted about the game was the fact that there is a gallery of comparison shots and it really shows off how much better this version of the game looks. Hearing this from someone is one thing, seeing for yourself is another:

Such a huge difference when the pictures are put side by side! It’s night and day, really. The remainder of the bosses I had to defeat continued to ramp up in difficulty, but as I said it wasn’t anything too terrible. I don’t think I had to take a break and come back later save for on the final boss, as in most cases I quickly dispatched the colossus and moved onto the next. Here are most of them, falling in battle, along with some other generally nice looking screens:

Spoiler alert, your horse falls into a chasm helping you get to the final colossus, and a moment of silence was had for its loss. After the final colossus falls, there is a long drawn out epilogue that is half watched and half played. If you haven’t completed the game yet, I’d avoid the rest of this post.

If you’re still here, I’ll explain what’s happening in the pictures above. Basically there is a group of shamans or druids or something like that which were revealed a couple of fights prior to the last boss in a short cutscene. They are travelling to the shrine where you began your journey, but its not clear at that time what they are planning to do. After defeating the last colossus you aren’t immediately teleported back to the shrine. These folks arrive first, find the dead girl on the altar, and start mumbling about things when you do finally teleport back. When you arrive it’s clear that something isn’t quite right; the shadowy figures you’ve seen throughout the game are also appearing now to everyone else. You rise like a zombie and move in to attack the priests. A fight ensues, you’re stabbed, it doesn’t kill you, then you are covered with the shadowy substance and it is revealed that an evil demon was broken into 16 shards and those shards placed within the colossi, and now he’s possessed the character you’ve played the whole game. You briefly get to control him and attack the people, but they end up escaping across the bridge and destroying it on their way out. Of course, now that you’re dead, your lady friend has awoken. More happy news, your horse didn’t die, but it clearly broke its leg and is now hanging out with your friend. Roll credits.

A strange ending to say the least, and not really much of a wrap up. The priests sealed this temple with some sort of spell to keep the demon locked away, but now this chick and your horse are left behind with no other people in sight. Seems like you cursed her to a doomed existence. I guess we’ll never really know.

You can get a copy of this title for $40 right now if you’re interested in trying it yourself. I’d recommend it.

Mini-Impressions: Crash Bandicoot and Shadow of the Colossus Remasters

Recently I wrote about moving on from gaming experiences that I just wasn’t feeling. Monster Hunter World was one of those games that was surrounded by hype and many people were enjoying so I took a risk and bought it for full price. Apparently the game isn’t for everyone though, as I ended up not really caring for it. As such, I traded it in at Gamestop and picked up copies of two older games that have been remastered on the PS4: Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy and Shadow of the Colossus. In both cases I have already played through a bit and can report that I’m thoroughly enjoying these titles much more than the game I traded in. The former title is nothing like MHW, though the latter could draw some comparisons, only because you are hunting down Colossi, which are still much larger than the “monsters” I saw in MHW. Either way, I’m a happy camper with this decision, and wanted to share my thoughts on these games.

I already mentioned that I had prior history with both of these games, but I hadn’t completed any of them. I only played the original Crash Bandicoot sparsely, and never touched the sequels and I only personally played the PS3 remastered version of Shadow of the Colossus. Crash is instantly recognizable, and I love the intro loading screen that shows the original Crash use a machine to turn from his low-poly form to his newly updated version. I distinctly remember levels off of the original and they look much better with the updated visuals. The core gameplay remains the same, it’s a unique platformer (for the time) that uses varying points of view that would later become trivial in game design but was something new during the era. Details that I maybe didn’t take in on my first try during the PSOne days are clearly visible, and there is room for replay given the differing collections and unlockable areas. It clearly was the Playstation’s answer to Mario and Sonic, and to a degree I think it was a great series and definitely provided new challenges for the genre. The only think I think would make this collection even better is if they were to remaster Crash Team Racing. I would literally play the shit out of some CTR particularly if you could have online functionality for the racing and the battle mode! Was my favorite game of the series (and one of my favorite PSOne games of all time!).

Shadow of the Colossus is similar to the above title in that it is a remaster, but it’s also a game that has been remastered twice. Originally released for the Playstation 2, it became a cult classic. This is the same game, only much better looking. I have seen the original in action as I used to watch my old roommate play it when we lived together. I recognize and understand how to beat some of the early colossi because I’ve seen it done. I also purchased the first remaster of the game for PS3, and though I think it did look better than the PS2 version (at the time my memory of the two would have been more recent) this new remaster takes the cake. Having already paid for the last remaster (that should only count as upping the resolution because it’s still night and day different), playing through this game should count as clearing something else from the backlog. For those of you who already purchased this the last time and didn’t ever complete it I’d say you should pick it up as well, and if you’ve never played one of the other versions definitely give this a whirl.

The story is simple enough: You are trying to bring a loved one back to life, so you travel to this temple and place her on an altar. You are met by a celestial voice that says that you can bring her back to life if you are to defeat the 15 colossi in this land, but that it will come at great cost to you. After that it’s not much dialogue, you’ll use your special sword to use the reflection of the sun to direct you to your prey. From there you’ll open up new areas and find more to take down. Fighting the colossi is interesting and varied. Typically there will be some sort of weak point that you can damage to bring the beast down and then you’ll climb onto it and stab at another weak point (or more) to kill the beast. You have a stamina gauge when climbing however, so you have to do things quickly and wisely to finish the task at hand. There’s a pretty awesome photo mode included where you can get some awesome screen shots and I appreciate that as a blogger. Each time you kill a colossi, you’re filled with this black smoke/goo that is shooting out of their weak points and then teleported back to the original temple. Your body will lie there until you gain consciousness, you’ll be surrounded by dark figures that I assume represent those that you killed, and the idol of the slain colossus will crumble. I have a feeling those dark souls are part of the “great cost” I’ll be paying to bring my loved one back to life. At this point I’ve taken down the first three colossi and discovered the fourth.

I’ll report back once I’ve struck these games from the list.

Batman: Episode 5

Despite finishing up my playthrough of this title last week, it’s been fun spending some time going back over the events in my mind this week. I love being able to share gaming experiences whether they are bad or good, and in the case of this game, they were pretty good! Let’s run through my choices for the final episode, shall we?

As the episode opens, it seems that Penguin has set a trap for Batman, but I end up going as Bruce Wayne. At Cobblepot Park, we meet the masked menace again, but this time he’s got a trap set and Gotham police are taking the brunt of it. Gordon can’t seem to get close enough to make an arrest, so I offer to go in. Unarmed, I approach Penguin and start up a conversation trying to make a distraction for Gordon, apparently I failed at this, but it didn’t seem all that detrimental to the plot.

Later, there is some exposition between Bruce and Alfred, and he is expressing his regret for not pushing Bruce’s father into a better life, and not telling Bruce the truth earlier, etc. I reassured Alfred, and said that none of that matters, that we have to save Gotham. A very Batman like thing to do I suppose.

Selina is leaving town, but not before stealing some Wayne Tech from me. I confront her, she gives it back, we have a little moment where I tell her she’s more than just a thief, and she rides off into the sunset. Not much of a happy ending there.

During the final confrontation with the leader of the Children of Arkham, down below the building itself in some hidden chapel, Alfred has been captured and is being tortured. In order to set him free I reveal my true identity and remove my mask. The villain would have left with this information but ends up being smashed by falling debris before my secret could get out.

Gordon is now the interim Commissioner, and at the end of the day he is giving an address to the city and I have a choice to go as Bruce or Batman. Given the fact that Bruce’s reputation was shit on this whole series, I went unmasked to try and raise that reputation again.

I’m curious to see how these choices might tie into the new season. I will likely pick that up at some time, but I’m not in any rush. It’ll probably go on sale sooner or later (maybe by Summer?). If I do, you know I’ll have more to share and will do so here. Stay tuned.

Batman: Episode 4

The fourth episode of Telltale’s Batman series really started to heat up. Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted the screenshot from my flash drive and then had already uninstalled the game, so going back to take another one seemed silly. I managed to remember what the choices were that I made, so I can at least discuss them before moving on to the last episode. As the episode opens, you’re in Arkham Asylum, presumably because the last thing you remember is attacking Oswald during his acceptance speech taking your job as CEO of Wayne Enterprises. To top things off, sleeping with Selina pissed off Harvey Dent, so he’s the one who has you committed. This all comes to light as the episode plays out.

*I owe Joker a favor once he’s “on the outside”* – The first choice that I had to make was with the Joker. He was clearly not the same guy that we’ve known through the years, but still obviously the Joker, so there’s something he’s plotting nonetheless. He basically said that he could make a distraction so I could use the phone, but that I would have to promise him a favor once he’s on the outside of Arkham. I said sure. Why not, what harm could come from that?

*I used the phone* – He ended up making the distraction as promised, but then there was a choice between using the phone or helping out the guards of the Asylum. I chose the former, called Gordon and he pulls me out of Arkham.

*I paid off Harvey’s Security at a Blockade* – After leaving the Asylum, it’s clear that Harvey has “upped security” in that he’s now go Children of Arkham goons barricading areas of the city. They stop me and Alfred and go about harrassing us, but at the same time people on the street are recognizing me and start throwing things (Bruce isn’t doing so hot in the public eye at present). I end up paying them off rather than ramming the barricade.

*I went as Batman to confront Harvey Dent* – Clearly Harvey needs to be stopped, but I had the choice to go and talk to him as either Bruce or Batman. I know he still likes Batman, and he’s clearly upset with Bruce so I chose to go as Batman. That didn’t go so hot either, as he bombs a supply of drugs that the Children of Arkham were planning on using, but kills a bunch of innocents along the way.

*I chose to stop Two-Face at Wayne Manor (saving Alfred) rather than picking Wayne Industries to stop Penguin from hacking into all of my Wayne Tech* – This was a tough choice. I didn’t want to lose my gadgets, but I also didn’t want anything happening the Alfred or the Manor. No one needs to discover Batman’s secret identity! This culminates in a fight with Harvey and his goods, and at one point he ends up getting burnt up pretty bad. Apparently in one of the earlier episodes if I would have chosen to save Selina, he would have had his trademark Two-face look, but because I saved him he only gets burnt on one side of his body but his face looks normal. Clearly he’s Two-face either way, but I thought that was interesting. I’m not up to speed on his original origin story, but I also know that the Penguin looked nothing like the Danny Devito or Cartoon versions of the character either. It’s safe to say that this is its own thing and I shouldn’t put too much thought into it.

So that was that. Episode 5 is where everything comes to a head. I’ll be back with that post soon!

Batman: Episode 3

We’re back today with another look at one of the episodes of the Batman Telltale series. Spoilers, I beat the game already but I’m still going to break it up into posts because that’s how I’ve always done it and it’s blog fodder if nothing else. I have been steadily increasing my output here on the blog over the last few months and posts like these help, even if they aren’t the longest (or most entertaining?). I have to say that I actually ended up enjoying the series — enough so that I’m contemplating picking up the latest chapter Batman: The Enemy Within. I suppose this one just took longer to get going, but being able to binge the whole season without waiting a couple months between episodes is akin to binging a Netflix show over a weekend — things stay fresh in your mind and it keeps you hooked because you know there’s more to play through. Here are my choices for Episode 3:

Montoya was suspended due to some things that happened that I won’t spoil, but went after a lead on her own (going rogue) but Harvey was being attacked by the Children of Arkham and I had to choose where to go first — I stuck with Harvey.

I can’t really discuss some of these other points without spoilers, but I guess since the game is pretty old it shouldn’t matter. Basically, Bruce gets voted off the board and his position as CEO of Wayne Enterprises and somehow Oswald is put in his place. He provokes you in the process but I was able to keep my cool.

Lucius was impacted as well, wanted to leave and work for me at the manor, but I convinced him to be my inside guy at the Tower. This ended up being a boon later.

Finally some action came my way via Catwoman, and I was unable to refuse her charms. I spent the night which included some extra curriculars.

Lastly, we got busted by Harvey. I tried to hide out in Selina’s room, but the damn cat wouldn’t leave me be so Harvey saw me and flips out. His “two-faced” nature starts to show, but I still didn’t attack him. He ended up leaving a shattered man.

Things were starting to heat up in this episode, but it really starts to get crazy as we head towards the climax. I’ll have these posts finished up by the end of the week so we can share the conclusion!