Hello once again!
This is just a (relatively) quick post to placate the few readers who are still subscribed: no, this blog is not dead. Yes, I will endeavour to post more frequently (i.e. more than once per calendar quarter). But something has just happened that I wanted to scream from the rooftops in joy, and I figured this is as good an excuse as any to start posting again.
But first… what have I been up to?
Well, since you (by which I mean me) asked, I started the New Year by tackling one of the games on my Resolutions: Shadow of the Colossus. I’d already completed this game on the PS2 way back when, and couldn’t actually remember much of the process, so I figured I could knock it off relatively quickly in January. Of course, I’d neglected to take into account the hundred-ish posts I had to write for my other blog in January, so I managed to push my way through the game on Normal… but in doing so, the memories came flooding back.
Colossus is not a particularly difficult game to finish; even the Hard difficulty is not particularly tricky. But when it comes to completion – or, in the PS3’s case, the complete set of Trophies – the Time Attack mode is the killer. In particular, Hard Time Attack (HTA). With the memories came the sense of time and practise required to clear HTA; another reason why I abandoned Colossus mid-January.
But I still felt obliged to complete something in January, so I picked up The Unfinished Swan off PSN. It’s an easy game to wrap up, looks and sounds absolutely gorgeous, and performs some absolutely wonderful storytelling. If you’re PS3-friendly, it’s well worth picking up for something a little different; even the trickiest Trophy is an absolute delight.
Back to the Resolutions I went; February and March, which host my beloved Festivals, are always “short” months, so I tried to find something that I could finish; with only one Achievement left to obtain, Geometry Wars Evolved^2 seemed to be a reasonable choice. The missing Achievement, Smile, required about eight minutes of perfect play… which I was not able to master before the start of my Festivities, leaving February barren.
My Fringing and Festivalling was amazingly fun – friends made and re-made, some amazing performances (including one of the best dance pieces I’ve ever seen), and way too much fun. Unfortunately, the last four days were marred by a premature bout of Fringe Flu… well, more like Man Flu, but it made the closing days physically draining… and caused me to collapse immediately following the close of activities.
But, once back in front of the consoles, I returned to Geometry Wars Evolved^2 – another thirty-or-so hours of practise saw me Achieve my goal (after one heartbreaking attempt that saw me fluff the very final level). At that point I decided to return to Shadow of the Colossus; Normal Time Attack was a little tricky, but – in between squeezing in twenty(!) movies at the French Film Festival (yes, another festival!) – I managed to scrape through those Attacks with only a couple of problems.
A quick query of Google reveals that most people have problems with Colossi 3 and 15; I’ve also had massive issues with 13, and only managed to scrape through that on Normal Time Attack when a chance physics glitch worked in my favour. And, true to form, Colossus 15 was really tough; three hours saw it sorted.
Then came Hard Time Attack.
I remembered Colossus 3 being particularly tough, and Google once again revealed that most PS3 colossi slayers struggle to get anywhere near the five minute mark. Apparently there’s been a few changes in the physics handling between from NTSC PS2 version that frustrate the majority – the PAL version was the basis for the port – and so much of the grumbling was due to that; I, on the other hand, was buoyed by the fact that I knew that I’d managed this once before. I seem to remember that I relied on a sword jump to claw enough time back; I’ll just do that again, I thought.
But could I reproduce those skills? Could I fuck.
I struggled. I really struggled. I figured I could do one HTA per day and – whilst the first two colossi took maybe an hour of practise each – I figured that was relatively doable. The third one, though…
I checked all the online tutorials I could – there’s still lots of sword jumps, but also mystical discussion of Perfect Grip (which I am convinced is a myth) and a few other tricks… but none of them worked for me. But then I found this video, and practised and practised and swore and practised and shut off the PS3 in disgust and practised and…
…I just beat that fucker. With fifteen seconds up my sleeve.
So I’m pretty bloody happy right now. I know that I’ve still got Colossi 13 and 15 to go, but I’m hoping that I’m over the hump.
And with that… well, I’m back. You’re up-to-date. You don’t need to know what I think about the PS4 or anything – there’s more thoughts on the next-gen that I’d like to collate first. And, hopefully, I’ll write that sometime soon… but first, I’ve got another seven Colossi to kill.