For decades now, RPG fans around the world have demanded their fantasies in one form or another. The Final Fantasy series exploded onto the gaming scene in the late 1980s and in many ways revolutionizing the industry. Among the most well-known and respected franchises in gaming history (most noteworthy is its flagship seventh installment, released in 1997), the Final Fantasy saga endures to this day, with a number of promising works currently in development at Square Enix.
In 2004, the online world was rocked by the massive multiplayer phenomenon World of Warcraft, featuring extensive interaction among fellow gamers around the globe. Through the godsend of worldwide communications, U.S. gamers soon found themselves thrust into battle with giants from Fiji, dwarves from India, and wood nymphs from Nicaragua. Players could choose from a plethora of fantastic races and journey through a seemingly endless virtual realm.
Though the lands featured in these grand tales may differ and the magic within them may vary, the overall focal point remains steady and unchanging: scope. At the heart of every role playing game is an epic scope. Fans in this genus of gaming wish, above all else, to be swept up into the realms of an impossible world, to lose themselves in the conflicts of an age unknown. With the 2005 production Shadow of the Colossus, these sentiments materialized in the forms of 16 moss-ridden colossi, wandering the ruins of an inestimably ancient land.
The plot to this game was wonderfully simplistic -- in the hopes of reviving a beautiful young girl, a wanderer seeks out the god of an antiquated temple. His request is met with an ultimatum: for the girl to reawaken, the young wanderer must first find and destroy the 16 colossal creatures roaming the empty landscape.
Directly opposing the conventions of mainstream videogaming, Shadow of the Colossus presented a revolutionizing concept to the medium: an experience exclusively of boss battles. At last, the gamer could forego the monotony of superfluous melee with uninteresting underlings and cut straight to the soul of the genre. In place of fighting a thousand trivial skirmishes, the wanderer must travel to the ends of this world to rouse each magnificent giant from its slumber. This alteration in game layout was very refreshing.
However, introducing such a novel element is far from this production’s finest triumph. Helmed by Fumito Ueda (director of the 2001 videogame Ico), Shadow of the Colossus is arguably the greatest cry in support of artistic consideration for the videogaming medium to date.