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02/07/2011 15:37:18 •••

An Aesthetic Accomplishment with Good Gameplay - I'd like to see more games like this

I like this game, and especially its artistic direction. The animations, graphics, sounds and lighting effects are highly detailed and nuanced, working well with each other, and I would gladly play more games like this.

The colossus battles are clearly the main attractions, and they are diverse and thrilling, each one a test of personal ingenuity. On my first playthrough, most of the thrill was in developing strategies, picking up clues from the surroundings and watching the colossus' movements. This thrill is partially lost in replays, but fortunately there is enough extra material to keep the game interesting after completion - the Time Attack Mode, Hard Mode, Reminiscence Mode, and other discoveries. It is, however, the sheer detail of each colossus design and attack pattern, and the exciting battles, which draw the most attention - and rightly so, for they are the meat of the game's entertainment.

The simple story behind the game was beautifully and elegantly portrayed, though the climax felt pretty weak compared with the rest of the game's features. Interacting with Agro was delightful, especially when riding across open terrain and arches of stone. The platforming sections of the game, though brief, sometimes encouraged creative thinking, especially during battles against Kuromuri, Cenobia and Argus. Cutscenes are directed with the same lavish care as the gameplay experience. After a while, you start to notice repetitions in some colossus A Is and musical scores, though these do not detract from the originality of the boss fights themselves and are easily excused. Wander's own animations are convincing, his characterisation fascinating, and his controls only occasionally unwieldy.

The game's problems are trivial compared with these successes, but after a while they can't be ignored. Controlling the camera often became a frustrating task, especially while fighting Avion, Dirge and Phalanx. Riding through the vast, empty landscape may have been atmospheric initially, but it soon became tedious. Sub-missions involving lizards and fruits, while surprising novelties at first, are unentertaining. You can't help feeling that a lot of the game's detailed environment just goes to waste.

On balance, though, I would recommend this game. If a sequel was released including sixteen more colossus battles, I would definitely buy it.

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