Last Generation Gamer: The cost of love and friendship in Shadow of the Colossus

Last Generation Gamer is Seed Sings way of reflecting on the greatest video games that were released before the current gen systems.  These are not necessarily reviews.  Let's look at these thoughts as a walk down memory lane.  If you have any ideas for Last Generation Gamer contact us

So you know there are SPOILERS of the plot to Shadow of the Colossus in this article.

If you truly love someone, is there anything you would not do for them.  Absolute love knows no danger.  You would make a deal with the Devil himself for true love. Right?

Shadow of the Colossus (Playstation 2, 2005) allows you to see the consequences of making a deal with the devil for true love. The game is extremely minimal in its design, story, and game play, yet it is one of the most beautiful, thought provoking, and rewarding games ever made. You play as Wander who is equipped with a sword (never to be upgraded) a bow and your trusty horse Argo. The landscape is desolate and dotted with crumbling structures from a long dead civilization.  The only living inhabitants are the 16 mostly peaceful and isolated colossi. There is no grinding for experience and gear to get ready for the fights. The player uses skill and strategy (plus trial and error) to defeat the colossus and move on to the next. It is apparant very early that the Wander's goal (having the girl Mono revived) is not without spiritual danger. The deaths of the colossi are mournful and the effect on Wander start to become demonic. There is a very heavy price Wander must pay to bring Mono back.

There is never any question to Wander's task.  He never stops to ask anyone (Argo?) if his soul is worth bringing another one back.  I think Wander knew the cost to bring the one he loves back. I know there is a question to what Mono is to Wander, in my game she was his love. His conviction made him carry out the task without regret and with full focused dedication.

Wander only brought one friend on his journey. The horse Argo is more than a tool, he was a partner in this deadly quest. Wander could not survive the wasteland without Argo.  That is not to mean Argo is strategically needed, he was psychologically necessary.  Wander went on the quest knowing he may never return.  It is made clear what Wander did before the game starts is forbidden by his people. Wander had no way to go back, yet  Argo was never meant to be sacrificed to the task.  Before the final colossus the loss of Argo elicits the most shock and sadness from Wander.  Mono was gone, Argo was alive with Wander on this cursed quest. During the end credits when Argo comes limping on the screen with an assist from Mono, I had a true sense of joy. The inclusion of Argo in the game not only added new strategies for the colossi fights, it added a needed friend in the wasteland of the forbidden land. One cannot enter danger alone.  Even in defiance and death, we need a friend.

Shadow of the Colossus is truly a game without equal.  In the ten years since its release, no game has come close to melding video game art with truly unique game play (we will see how The Last Gaurdian stacks up).  Outside of the basic metrics video games are judged on, the thing that sets Shadow of the Colossus apart is how it honors the ideas of love, friendship, and sacrifice.  There are people (and horses) worth any sacrifice. There are things worth more to someone than their own souls.

RD Kulik

RD is the Head Editor for Seed Sing. He has never bought a horse because none will stack up to Argo. He does need you to write for Seed Sing.