Sunday, February 28, 2010

PS3 phat: worldwide woes.

Well, not nothing. It can still watch movies and browse the internet and play MP3s - but it's having issues with the whole "playing PS3 games thing" right now.

Worldwide, non-Slim PS3 units aren't allowing folks to play trophy-enabled games. Sony says they're "narrowing down the issue and continue to work to restore service to all. Update as soon as possible." NeoGAF, of course, already has a pretty plausible-sounding theory, which I'd like to believe mostly because it suggests all will be well by this time tomorrow night.

Until then, however, if you want to play Heavy Rain or any other PS3 game with trophies on (most, but not all) old fat PS3 units, you're fresh out of luck.

Fortunately, I spent most of my shift at work tonight thinking it would be really nice to invest a little time in Eternal Sonata - and, as luck would have it, it's never had trophies. Valkyria Chronicles either. Looks like an RPG kinda' night.

I think I forgot to mention...

So that PSP Go I bought at the beginning of the month had a stuck pixel.

There's a difference between a stuck pixel and a dead pixel. Dead pixels are dead - they don't light up, they don't do shit - they just sit there, black as night. Stuck pixels are pixels that will only represent a certain colour - they are stuck that way, and won't change.

I had one stuck pixel. Singular. It was blue, in the lower-right corner of the screen.

Drove me nuts, particularly in the flaming lava-swathed levels of Chains of Olympus. After getting such a good deal at Best Buy, I didn't much want to take it back, so I tried what's called a pixel fixer video.

See, stuck pixels aren't unique to PSPs - any LCD screen has the potential for 'em - and Best Buy has this video. It flashes red, yellow and blue at a seizure-inducing frequency. The idea is you set up the TV (or in my case, PSP) to run the video on a loop and let it go for like ten hours. There's a chance - but no guarantee - that the stimulation will knock the stuck pixel out of its stupor and back into the game.

I ran the video on my Go for about two days.

Then I tried to just live with the pixel.

Then I remembered how easygoing Best Buy was about exchanging my TV, since it was within thirty days of purchase.

So they took it back and got me a new one, which is working perfectly. Horaay for juggernauts of retail! No way in hell an EB would've replaced it.


Now that I have your attention, there's a sex scene in Heavy Rain.

I suppose it's more appropriate to call it a foreplay scene - the player is in control of whether or not two characters make out and get their tops off. Very hot. Sorta'. Ish. Hot-ish.

Okay it approaches hot, but it's not quite hot. Or romantic. Right before planting the first kiss, one of the characters says "the only thing that matters right now is (a life-or-death situation that's assuredly not kissing)." So I guess the director thought it obvious that the next thing the character would do is start making out with a relative stranger.


At the same time, it's a better attempt than BioWare's work in Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect. It's only in the past few years that mainstream games have even attempted The Love Scene, and while animation plays no small part in the matter, I have to say Heavy Rain's stands a little higher on the Podium of Authentic Video Game Sex thanks to voice work.

Or, more accurately, breath work. It's hard to describe without coming off as supremely creepy, but the result is a more intimate experience than the scenes in BioWare's RPG epics. When you're watching two video game characters trying to emulate the supple movements of lovemaking set to music (BioWare), it's much easier to focus on the fact that this looks an awful lot like a video game version of smacking a Ken doll against Barbie.

When you throw in audio that reflects two humans getting it on, for a moment it's able to squeeze past the wary, cynical part of your brain that wants to dislike such scenes. Now it's not just watching video game characters bumping against each other like plastic toys - it's watching and hearing it, which manages to have a pretty huge impact on how believable the scene becomes.

Heavy Rain tries really, really hard to be a game for adults. Adult subject matter, adult themes, relationships that only adults can fully understand - and the love scene is part of Quantic Dreams' attempt to legitimize truly mature video game entertainment - but the industry (and Quantic Dreams) still have quite a ways to go.

I have to think this is another example of Heavy Rain being a little too heavy-handed - with its drama, dialogue, and yes, romance. As mentioned in the review, less is very often more - particularly when it comes to narrative - and the love scene in Heavy Rain would have been just as impactful with a lot less.

Have them kiss twice. Take off their tops. Fade to black.

Don't give us time to focus on how unnatural it looks to see two video game characters' geometry fumbling against each other's like unyielding plastic toys. Hit us with the emotional value of the action and leave us with that impression, instead of how wrong it still looks and feels when video games attempt The Love Scene.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

REVIEW - Heavy Rain.

There is nothing out there like Heavy Rain. Well, nothing except Quantic Dreams' last game, Fahrenheit - but let's focus on the current-gen title. It's unique, ambitious, emotionally engaging, exceedingly good-looking and, unfortunately, not quite as smart as it hopes to be.

Despite a few rather significant flaws, Heavy Rain is still one of the most important games to come along in some time - mostly because it has a much higher profile in the collective gamer consciousness than Fahrenheit. Nobody else is even attempting to make games that are anything like this - it's so damned different. It proclaims itself to be "interactive drama" - which is hardly a proven formula, and the production values required to engage audiences in a reality-based narrative like this make such a risky endeavor prohibitively expensive.

It is possible that Heavy Rain will be the next step in an entirely new genre of video games. It's also highly unlikely, but even a glimmer of such a hope is very exciting.

The fact that the game is so singular is also one of its major strengths: it's unlikely you've danced this dance before. Most all video games these days fall into well-defined, well-worn categories. We've seen hundreds of different-by-degrees iterations on the first person shooter, the third-person action game, the role playing game. We've played those games, in one form or another, for the past twenty years - and it's still nice to slip into a well-executed title that does its genre proud or propels it to new heights - but even the best FPS you'll ever play will be, in one way or another, a remix of that same old song.

Which makes Heavy Rain an absolute breath of fresh air. You have not played this before. One could argue it's not all that unique - in a lot of ways, it's a very streamlined and open-ended adventure game. A little like the old point-and-click titles from Sierra we used to play in the early 90s - but that's selling it more than a bit short.

It makes no bones about its main ambition - it wants to lead the player through unique, emotional experiences. It's unfortunate that the title's target emotions are uniformly negative - there is only one scene that even attempts to foster mainly positive feelings - and thanks to survival horror and its various genre hybrids, we've played games that have driven us to greater depths of panic and terror.

Where Heavy Rain succeeds in its mandate is how well the player is able to empathize with the characters. This is mostly due to the (above-par, but not standard-setting) facial and physical performances of the actors and (also above-par, but also not standard-setting) voice work.

It's also, in no small part, thanks to the control scheme and the amount of choice placed in the hands of the player. The controls are perfectly simple to anyone familiar with a DualShock - but calling them glorified quicktime events is doing the title a huge disservice. It's clear someone had the job of choosing how every single action in the game would be carried out, and designed the prompts to best reflect the amount of effort and concentration required by the player character. Opening a door is a simple, second-nature flick of the analog stick, but the most nerve-wracking, intense actions have you gripping the controller at a wholly unnatural angles, and - having run out of fingers - I once pressed the final button with my tongue. The controls replicate the feeling of the actions.

Of course, a brilliant use of context and controls are only part of the "interactive drama" equation. Heavy Rain takes itself very, very seriously - and for its audience to even approach it on such a level requires the title to be gushingly attractive. In order to suspend disbelief to the degree necessary to emotionally engage with the experience, we have to believe the characters and their world - and this game is absolutely bloody gorgeous.

There is a staggering attention to detail, from incredible outdoor scenes to extreme close-ups of the characters - where flaws are the name of the game. Tiny wrinkles, uneven teeth, reflections in glistening eyes and ugly snarls sweep us through the uncanny valley to a place where we can connect with such incredibly well-realized characters. The minutiae of the facial animations are excellent, but unfortunately not as standard-setting as the work of Andy Serkis's studio in Heavenly Sword.

Still, it more than gets the job done of engaging the player in the characters and their world - and selling us on that is half the battle.

The other half is the writing, direction and voice work. Here's where it starts to go downhill.

The supporting cast is filled with all sorts of interesting folks, but three of the four central characters are disappointingly two-dimensional archetypes. Beyond their extraordinary circumstances, any degree of depth they possess is inferred (or directed) by the player. For the most part, though, the writing is good (rarely great) and the voice acting is great (with the occasional distraction of European actors trying to master an American accent).

The single best plot thread is easily Scott Shelby and his relationship with Lauren Winters. Shelby is mysterious, kind, polite, thoughtful and tough as nails - and carried by the excellent, controlled voice work of Sam Douglas - perhaps the greatest flaw in the game is that more time is not spent exploring him.

No, that's not true. The game's greatest flaw is the showcased inexperience of writer/director David Cage. Cage really should have pulled a Naughty Dog and brought in some theatre-trained directors and writers to deal with his script and actors, because Cage simply tries too hard and is begging for an editor. He doesn't seem to realize that often the most powerful words are the ones never spoken. You don't just have your characters say what they're feeling - that makes me angry!

It's infinitely more impactful when we aren't told. As an auteur David Cage simply lacks the experience (or perhaps the courageous editor) required to reel himself - and his actors - in. A lot of stuff in Heavy Rain needed to be more subtle, to reach its full potential.

Still... I have to think the only reason it stands out so much is because the game is clearly trying so hard to achieve such a high concept. In most games, we wouldn't even blink at issues like these.

That said, despite the flaws that hold Heavy Rain back from mastering its ambition - plot holes, over-acting, extraneous writing - it also gets so much right. I love how much of an impact player's decision have (mostly in the latter half of the game), and the rather intimidating multitude of possible endings. It makes me feel things no game has ever attempted before. When it slows down, when it's not trying so hard, it's brilliant. In its quiet moments. In the things that aren't said.

Sitting in a tiny, shitty house. Wishing my distant, sad-eyed son would confide in me.

Caring for someone I know I have no right to care for. Guilt.

Heavy Rain's stumbling blocks are not minor concerns, but neither are they the final impression the game leaves. It's so incredibly strange compared to anything else - and while it may not be your cup of tea, chances are good it is unlike any cup of tea you've ever tried before.

-unlike any other game
-moving and engaging
-unique, immersive controls
-incredible graphics
-excellent animation
-an involving story
-Scott Shelby, Lauren Winters and some supporting characters are great
-Sam Douglas and Leon Ockenden in particular give great performances
-the game install screen taught me to make a little origami figure

-dear David Cage: you need an editor with training and experience
-P.S.: and a director with training and experience
-a few plot holes that don't bother me in the least
-rarely, the controls lead to a few fumbles

Ambitious, imperfect, incredible. It may not be for everyone, but if you're tired of the same-old same-old, this is a breath of fresh air.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Have you checked out the new GoWIII media?

The above image is not new media. It's an old screenie from that year-old E3 demo.

If you're prepared for some early-game and weapons spoilers, though, I really hope you checked out last night's episode of GameTrailers TV. Tons of incredible new videos of God of War III, and interviews with the devs.

Again - early game and weapons spoilers - but the stuff on show is just amazing. Check it out, if you're so inclined. As for me, I am officially going into media blackout on this sucker. I'm a little disappointed with myself that I now know what "the leviathan" is. If you would spare yourself such pre-release knowledge, see no evil, hear no evil, and click no link.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nice PSN update today.

Here's the full list of today's PSN updates, but there are some particular highlights I feel a need to point out.

First off, we've got demos for Darksiders and God of War III. Both of these are worthy of attention - Darksiders is an all-around great title, and the offered demo is a remarkably large slice of the game. There is an entire dungeon, complete with puzzles, demon hordes to slaughter, mini-bosses to defeat and the final confrontation with the hideous bat-queen Tiamat.

God of War III, on the other hand is, God of War III. Sure, it's a very old build of the game - the same demo they've been showing the press since E3 2009 - and via various purchase and pre-order bonuses has been in the hands of gamers since last November, but that doesn't stop it from being incredible nonetheless. If you haven't played it yet, I can assure you it is more than worth the time and hard drive space.

There's some nice new DLC for Uncharted 2 which provides me the multiplayer skin I've desired since day one: classic Elena. This pack required a purchase for no other reason than that my elder brother loves the Uncharted 2 multiplayer component, and I love my brother. A multiplayer skin I will likely never use is just an added bonus.

For me, though, this update was worth investing in a twenty dollar PSN card for one reason: new Valkyria Chronicles DLC. With the change left over on the card, I snagged myself a copy of Resident Evil 2 - which has been weighing heavily on my mind ever since I got the PSP.

/sigh. Almost three weeks 'till God of War III.

But lots to play 'till then!

Heavy Rain beat'd. And about that BioShock 2 review...

Overall? Pretty God-damned incredible. Ambitious and original and inspired and all sorts of lovely things.

Its problems seem to stem from all that ambition not being reigned in by a more experienced agent provocateur - there are lots of lines of dialogue that should have been cut, and come across as rather juvenile storytelling. There are some lines that are over-acted, which are attempts to put extra weight on certain sections but end up coming across as simply trying too hard. The script and direction would have definitely benefited from a director or dramaturge with a reasonable amount of training and experience.

I'll get into that later, but the negatives of the experience never came close to knocking Heavy Rain off the pedestal it has claimed in my mind. Once again: ambitious, original, inspired, and pretty God-damned incredible.

I want more games like this.

* * *

About that BioShock 2 review. Y'know what? I think that's the single worst review I've ever written. It's not like I've change my mind on any of the points made, but just re-reading it - I don't like that review.

I may reexamine it at some point in the future, but for now Heavy Rain requires additional attention.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Very, very busy today - so here's a lazy-ass cosplay post.

I love this Raiden cos. And, for a touch more Metal Gear Solid...

"This scar is proof I am a mother."

Worst. Cesarean. Ever.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Three quick things about Heavy Rain.

(1) I would recommend not opening any online articles or hitting message boards about it. Folks in comment sections and forums seem to be going out of their way to spoil the identity of the killer. Assholes.

(2) It has the best damn opening credit sequence since MGS2. Got me totally hyped to play the game.

(3) I'm four scenes deep in the game right now, and this is a totally refreshing experience. After countless subtle variations on the RPG standards, the third-person action standards or the first-person shooter standards, this is something wholly unique.

Loving it.

(4) And it is really, really good-looking. All the screenshots and the demos and game journos telling me how pretty this game is did not prepare me for how incredibly pretty this game is. Weird. [/update]

So F.E.A.R. kinda really sucks.

It's probably my mistake for hopping into the sub-par port of a five year old FPS after gleefully romping through BioShock 2, but years ago I was so impressed with the demo for F.E.A.R, I couldn't contain my enthusiasm and gave it a go last night.

What, that's it? You just shoot guns at guys? There's a little bit of melee and the ability to slow time, but all you do is shoot people. With guns. Traditional guns, even. Very boring, after Bio2.

It's also ugly. Ugly to the point that it really makes one appreciate how far the current gen has come - but I like to think those graphics woulda' been pretty unacceptable even when the PS3 version released in 2007.

I'll give it another go at some point in the future, no doubt, but for now F.E.A.R. is a prime trade-in candidate.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How to beat any enemy in BioShock 2.

But first! A comic about audio diaries.

This is a handy-dandy strategy guide, for anyone having trouble with the rougher sections of the game. The formula for success is pretty complicated, but I have boiled it down to its essentials and present it to you here in mathematical pictograph format:

This formula applies to every fight in the game. Multiple enemies, Big Daddies, Big Sisters, and any variation or combination thereof. It is, in a word, overpowered.

I really need to go back and play through the game with a different strategy. I heard you can keep Big Daddies frozen for an entire fight with certain tonics, and you just stand there revving the drill into them. I've also heard great things about the Decoy plasmid.

...I can't believe I'm about to go start up a third run through BioShock 2, but there it is.

REVIEW - BioShock 2.

Alternate title: Comparing BioShock 2 To The Original For Twenty-Six Paragraphs.

It has come to pass. BioShock, which was such a singular game it needed no sequel, is now a franchise. It's rather difficult to make a sequel to something that was a commentary and indictment of its medium without becoming the very object the original poked such brilliant fun at - a challenge which BioShock 2 doesn't even attempt to overcome.

It is, in all ways, a better game than the original. But is it a better experience?

Hard to say. BioShock 2 excels in areas its predecessor lacked, and falls a little short in others. A balance materializes between what is lost and gained, and if BioShock 2 is a lesser experience than the first, it is only because it didn't have the good fortune to be our first visit to Rapture.

"Who can forget their first view of the city?" - Bill McDonagh

Everything must be weighed and measured against the original's imposing place in our adoring minds, so let's begin there. On the bright side, there's really only one major thing to complain about - the variation of the levels.

The seedy, dirty docks of Port Neptune. The ruined glamor of Fort Frolick, the stunning colors of Arcadia - each level promised some new wonder to gape at, and in comparison BioShock 2's offerings seem pretty samey. There are attempts made to be as impressive, here and there - Dionysus Park is clearly reaching towards the same heights as the original, but it too falls just short of the unleashed creativity on display in 2007's critical darling.

On the other hand, there is a bit of a tradeoff here. While the levels fail, individually, to impress on the same level, they also form a much more cohesive whole than the original. Rapture is less wondrous, but it feels much more real, more lived-in, more feasible than on our first visit - and maintains the same eerily beautiful atmosphere.

Characters are a balance of improvements and disappointments. It takes the obvious rout here and there: new antagonist Sophia Lamb is the philosophical antithesis of Andrew Ryan, but is no less ruthless and hypocritical blah blah blah. In addition, while none of Lamb's Lieutenants live up to the standard set by Sander Cohen, they are also of a uniformly higher quality than Dr. Steinman or... what was the name of the dude who ran Port Neptune? I forget. Which is the point - going on averages, it's an improvement.

Like the original, there are lots of little sides stories, told through audio tapes and the environment. Even as someone who did not follow Take 2's voluminous teaser campaign prior to release, the story of Mark Meltzer in particular is excellent, and these additional flourishes to the legacy of Rapture are part of the reason we love the city.

But how does the central narrative hold up, measured against the original's famous second-act shocker? Like the original, there are a few plot holes to nit-pick over, and it's more than a little ham-handed in how it draws you along - often telling you what you should be feeling and why.

Still, the ex-writer in me has to admit, it's better.

It's also simpler. There are no shocking revelations or clever twists, unless you count the winking, wonderful variations on the Act 3 activities of the original. The story trucks along on a somewhat regular course, often pausing to offer a further sliver of insight into the world and its people. Come Act 3, however, it gets awesome.

Remember the final third of the original? It sucked. BioShock's story peaked in Andrew Ryan's office, at the end of a golf club - but the game shambled along for another two hours.

Around the same point in BioShock 2, the certainly-good-enough narrative suddenly shifts into sixth gear, and I was powerless to put the game away for the night. I tore through the last two levels in a frenzy, ignoring unexplored corners and un-pilfered loot - and I had no more choice in the matter than a flailing infant caught in a riptide. This is where BioShock 2 begins to outpace its predecessor. The ending is spectacular, as opposed to the original's spectacular disappointment.

Beyond the fantastic twists on the original's switch-ups - which manage to both honor the series' past and massively improve on it - the final scene feels like the one we've been waiting for since the end of the first game (or at least, it did in my Good Daddy run).

I've often made mention to games that can make me well up (Okami, Heavenly Sword), but BioShock 2's ending legitimately made me cry.

I'm not kidding. Maybe I was just tired at the time, but let's not try to discount it: that shit happened.

Sure I'm disappointed that one of BioShock's major personalities only appears for a cameo, but the rest of it is so damn strong, by the end I didn't mind. The entirely-forced relationship with Delta's Little Sister - which at first strains at the bonds of reasonable exposition - feels entirely legitimate by the finale. It may not have the cutting wit of the original, but it's a sleeker, deeply touching experience.

It also neatly outstrips the original in the gameplay department. More variation, more options, more enemies and more choice. One is absolutely spoiled for choice in BioShock 2, but it also allows greater specialization and greater rewards.

Improvements are made to everything from the research camera (which is now a video device, rewarding experimentation and variety) to the rather intimidating number of style-altering gene tonics you can equip. If you want to concentrate on being a master of arms, slinging lead at every opportunity, BioShock 2 wants to let you. For my money, I found I could not escape the brutal, visceral efficiency of drill specialization.

Lightning in one hand, a drill in the other. This is all you need to beat the game on the hardest difficulty.

Of course, you don't have to play that way. Sure, I love yanking a live splicer towards me with telekinesis and revving the drill into them while they dangle helplessly, but I wouldn't mind trying a run as the Lord of Rapture Security Systems. Or an elementalist. Or a master of misdirection.

There are so many ways to play the game, one of them has to be your way.

Throwing down with Big Daddies is still the intimidating thrill it was three years ago, and the addition of sequences where you protect your adopted Little Sister are much, much improved over its ill-received iteration in the original. You can often choose where to harvest, you always choose when, and that gives you time to pause, observe, and strategize.

Of course, once you have a master strategy and have learned to effectively implement it, the game suffers from the same catch-twenty-two of the original: the further you get into BioShock 2, the easier it becomes. The challenge drops off around the midpoint of the game, and while it offers a wonderful sense of progression and power, it doesn't rise to meet your new-found abilities with a creative new foe or tactic - not that I mind all that much. It's just so damned fun to play.

BioShock 2's greatest failing is that it was not our first visit to Rapture. We could never be as entranced by the city at the bottom of the sea as we were when we first glimpsed it through the porthole of a bathysphere - but that doesn't stop it from being a wonderful game.

BioShock is a modern classic, and one of the best titles of the past decade. It's a unique, gorgeous, inventive monster of a game that almost demanded Rapture never be revisited - for no pleasure could compare to exploring that place for the first time - and once having played the original, one would never be able to newly discover that mystery again.

BioShock 2 is a worthy sequel to the game that did not require one, and not just because it gives us the opportunity to once more explore Rapture for the first time. It steps out of the shadow of its progenitor and becomes its own wonderful, beautiful beast - valuable and vital in its own right - not merely due to its exceptional heritage.

-see Rapture for the first time, again
-a much, much better final third than the original
-a more even narrative, and better pacing
-more options, more enemies, more fun
-Rapture feels more cohesive and believable
-same great atmosphere
-a very moving experience
-lots of extra touches and stories to find
-a few excellent variations on some of the original's defining moments
-the comments of your adopted Little Sister as you kill splicers are awesome

-the environments aren't as memorable as the original's
-nothing to compare to The Golf Club scene
-wonderful sense of progression ends with being totally overpowered
-where's my Survivor difficulty and New Game+? Ugh, they're going to may us pay for those, aren't they

BioShock 2 is the sequel BioShock deserved, and an excellent game in its own right.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Some guy at Valve thinks they may develop for the PSsszzzZZzz....

God, I'm so bored with these Valve vs the PS3 stories.

I'm not ripping on Valve, here. I'm just a little tired of the whole will they/won't they develop on PS3 thing. Their spiel is they won't touch the PS3 again until they can deliver and support a product like they can on the 360 and PC - which is admirable.

At the same time, if the only way you can play Portal and Half Life 2 is via EA's sub-par port of The Orange Box, that's still a trillion times better than never playing Portal at all.

I feel the same way towards Valve as I do to BioWare - would I like to play Mass Effect 2? You bet your ass. Am I going to go out and buy a new console for it and Valve's contributions to the 360's library? Hells no.

Anyway - a new quote! This time it's Chet Faliszek, a writer at Valve who told Edge
"Before we do anything on the PS3 we need to be able to support it in the right way. But we'll look at it, and I'm sure down the road we'll do it."

Get back to me when Episode 3 comes out.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Darksiders 2 won't be like Zelda.

You're likely already aware that Darksiders 2 is in the works - THQ lists it among the products they intend to release in 2012, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it earlier. Anyway, Kotaku's Stephen Totilo was at the Interactive Achievement Awards yesterday, and he paraphrases a snippet of his conversation with Vigil Games' David Adams and Tim Campbell.
"Me: What are you working on now?

Them: Darksiders 2.

Me: Oh? The first one was like Zelda. What game is this one going to be like?

Them: Darksiders."


Yay! New Valkyria Chronicles DLC next week.

The Challenges of the Edy Detachment are finally hitting the North American PSN store next week, and the price should be around five bones. That's a definite purchase.

Word is the DLC will feature six new missions, each one built around the skills of a particular class (Shock Trooper, Scout, Engineer, Lancer, Sniper and tank). Really, I couldn't care less what the deal with the new Valkyria Chronicles DLC is, as long as it is more Valkyria Chronicles.

Colossus-Tans exist.

And here they all are.

The internet became aware of these images months ago, but at the time only two of them were available and I didn't feel two images were blogworthy. The painstaking sexualization of every single one of Shadow of the Colossus's bosses, on the other hand, is worth momentarily discussing.

It's worth discussion because these images beg the question: "Would Shadow of the Colossus be a better game if, instead of discovering, climbing, and killing ancient beasts of mythological power and haunting beauty, you did the same to oversized women with oversized racks?"

The answer is no.

Still, fan artist Shigatake clearly put a great deal of work into them. It's nice that he didn't just turn the colossi into doujin girls, but tried to throw in some of their personality as well. The flying desert colossus, for example, has a mournful, sad look in her eye (and turning the air sacs into her boobs was a clever adaptation of the character to his purposes,) and the swordsman is clearly conscious of what a badass her character is.

So while these still fall pretty neatly into the "do not want" bin, it's still worth a gawk, a nod and a shake of the head. This obviously took a lot of time and dedication - and it's also worth pointing out that I couldn't draw this well in a million years.

Upon further reflection, it occurs to me that if SotC were a PC game, and these colossi were made available as, say, a mod for the game...

I would play that. At least once.

[update] Upon yet further reflection, it seems to me that the lascivious thrill of scaling rather-unclothed, chesty women would be ruined by having to kill them afterward. That would be infinitely more disturbing than the original designs. [/update]