SHORT REVIEW: PS4 VERSION
Shadow of the Nostalgic? Giant Shoes? Titanic Sods?
Shadow of the Colossus meets 2D Zelda with a magic arrow and a smattering of pixel art. Everyone loves those games! What could go wrong?
I’m tempted to answer this in a one word answer, but that wouldn’t be any fun would it.
I was disappointed.
Wait.. I can explain why. In detail, if you want? Don’t leave. I’ll make you a funny picture at the end or somethin’.*
Even I’m not immune to wild industry mutterings. I heard you all, speaking in hushed tones about this “Titans Souls”. Previewing the fuck outta it, bigging-up the one arrow gimmick. But no. I didn’t rush out to acquire the game on release. I sat in my special chair, content to grow my fingernails. Tapping away on my desk until it finally appeared as a free PSN game. Oh, how I laughed… Yes, how I laughed.
When does the homage cross the line? No, this isn’t a poorly constructed chicken/road joke… When homage doesn’t improve on the original concept in any way. Plagiarism in lieu of something better.
You wander around a Zelda map hunting down the Colossus, should that be Colossi? Oh wait.. I should call them “Titans”. You fire your single arrow into their weak spot with the ability to recall the arrow with the very same button. How delightful. You can run an’ dodge and THAT IS ALL. So far, so demake.
Does the 2D design bring anything clever to the table? Nah. Any tricks we haven’t seen before? Nah. Is the world breathtaking? Nah. Does it capture the scale of the Colossus? Nah. Is it thrilling? Hmm… I’d say, tense.
What does this game do better than it’s inspiration?
It must be pure gameplay! Right?
You know boss battles right? Learn the pattern, strike when you can. Patience and decisive action. A single hit to the bosses weak spot can end it all. No lifebars and one perfect shot, it’s a pretty good idea. Of course, this could lead to instant unsatisfying wins, or even bosses that felt like they were beaten by luck rather than any real skill. Why luck, I hear you ask? Some bosses move off camera, or in such a way you can’t see your own incredibly tiny character. Which means you can’t aim your arrow when required, which is a huge pain in the arse. The timeframes when hitting a weak spots excitedly small, as you would expect. So between the tiny graphics, speed and shitty camera, battles have the capacity to genuinely feel like a one in million shot. Is this music to your ears? Then this is the game for you sir! Chance and perseverance isn’t what I signed up for and I became frustrated. Not all the bosses suffer this issue, if they did you’d finish the game in a single sitting… maybe….
…if the map wasn’t oversized. The large Zelda map is redundant. It’s one thing to steal Shadow of the Colossus boss battles, that makes sense. It’s another to steal the sense of world scale for no other reason then being “inspired” by the source material. I do enjoy a bit of world building and lore, but nothing here grabs me. If you want a large exploratory map with secrets, excitement and boss battles, may I refer you to Hyper Light Drifter. Now that’s some sweet, sweet homage.
When I’m this tiny, an’ the map this large… How is the action off screen?
When I do hit the golden shot, sometimes after just a couple of attempts, it inspired a shrug. I didn’t clamber around a Colossus in an epic duel, to observe chinks in its armour. I didn’t use a boomerang in an unorthodox manner, using my wits and huge Link balls. It didn’t bring me any joy.
A personal disappointment and I hope that’s a sentiment you don’t share. It’s a well made game, with a decent idea and I hope Titan Souls thrills and excites you, I really do.
It’s not you… It’s me, we can’t see each other again. Goodbye.