In this log post about Shadow of the Colossus, I would like to explore the battles with Colossi. There is a gradual regression in positive feedback with each death of the Colossi. The satisfaction I felt before is disappearing, and after playing ICO it is safe to assume this is quite intentional.
Since I have never played this game before, I did not realize how easy it would be to forget about the story and skip to killing monsters. After resuming, I put the bits and pieces together to remember that I am slaying Colossi for a woman. Wander’s quest, which had me psyched when I thought about it in conjunction with the ICO quest line, became a lame motivation for my character. The gripping function that I described before, however, made me rethink how I felt about the Colossi.
For example, when I first played, I was excited about fighting large creatures and slaying monsters. But after some time away, the battles are noticeably more difficult and the victories are progressively less satisfying. After killing so many Colossi, I notice how tragic it was to end their existences. They do not seem to be doing any harm to people or the player outright. They are too far away from communities to do any real harm.
What is the objective here then? Wander attacks these beasts for the woman he presumably loves as a deity demands, but it does not feel right. This heroic slaying of Colossi feels more like a slaughter of innocent, giant creatures. Also, the dark energy that enters Wander’s body concerns me as it hearkens to the dark magic associated with Yorda’s Mother and the shadow entities from ICO. In a way, Shadow of the Colossus is warning players about illogical killing.
If Ian Bogost were using Shadow of the Colossus in his book, I think he would say this has something to do with education about mortality and taking orders. Simply put, this game is informing players not to do as an authority tells them to simply because it is an order. The Milgram experiments from my AP Psychology class is coming back, telling me to rebel against this entity. But since this is a game, I seem to have no choice if I want to progress further through the game.