Welcome to The TPS Report, home to video game blogs, mix sets and even the odd piece o' 3D art.

Broke arse student, freelance games reviewer and rambling obsessive that I am, I currently seek work in mags and web sites throughout the world. If you're in a position to make that happen - and like what you see around here - let me know. I've published work with the likes of IGN and Gaming Steve.

-Matt/Diggler

Old Entries
First time visiting? Be sure to flip through the archives. I've been writing for friggin' ever, and you never know what you might have missed.

Score Breakdown
Just what those wee numbers mean exactly.

Visit the Forum
Multi-platform gaming chit chat, along with whatever interesting news and downloads I happen to stumble across amidst the interpipes.

TPS approved custom
built gaming PCs

Future Plans For the Site
28/7/2012 22:31

Preview Time! Games to Look Out For in 2011
8/1/2011 5:54

2010's Games of Shame
6/1/2011 22:47

My Fave Games of 2010!
6/1/2011 20:12

StarCraft II Review - Dig Loveth the RTS!?
7/11/2010 12:48

10 Must-Have iPhone Games
2/6/2010 18:09

A Little Hotlink to An Article I Stuck Up On GiantBomb
21/4/2010 15:01

Aliens Vs Predator is Here! Woo! Oh, Hang On...
6/3/2010 20:58

iPhone Games!
6/3/2010 20:40

WTF? Dig's Getting Hitched!
18/2/2010 23:39

More...

If interested in discussing writing opportunities for on or offline gaming publications - either UK based or abroad - please contact me via E-Mail. Sparkling CV available on request

 

 

Bold Statements About Shadow of the Colossus For the PS2
Posted by Diggler - 22/10/2005 14:36

The colossi dwarf anything you've seen before in a game
Shadow of the Colossus is the follow up to PS2 classic Ico. Ico was one of those games that defined a system, like Doom on the PC or Halo on the Xbox, and rightly so; the game was truly something special. Shadow of the Colossus - out this past week state-side - is technically not a sequel, but it does take place in that same mythical universe, and follows a near identical look and art style.

It also fucking blows Ico out the water, and although not due in Europe for months, I just can't keep myself contained over this game. Behold these bullet-points for the full low-down;

Shadow is Brilliant in its Design Simplicity

There really is very little to this game. Controls are pretty basic, there's barely a hud and the total in-game dialogue is probably less than a page in all. Instead Colossus plays out in eerie, wordless silence for the most part, while you carry out your refreshingly simple objective and nothing else. What is that objective? You must slay 16 colossi.

These range from troll like beasts, to underwater monsters, to flying dragon things. And that is literally it. There's no henchmen to wade through, no evil rats to kill, no collectibles, no power-ups, no mini-games and no levelling up. The entire game is simply you versus 16 creatures of immense power.

Of course, you have to find them first...

It Has the Biggest Enemies of All Time

Did I not mention? These colossi are freakin' huge! Some hundreds and hundreds of feet tall! Battles subsequently become ridiculously under balanced David vs. Goliath style confrontations that put more traditional boss battles to shame. In fact they are so damn big that climbing and jumping around on their bodies in search of weak spots are - quite literally - entire levels in and of themselves.

Imagine Prince of Persia, except those platforms you're jumping around and shimmying along are in fact small rivets on the armour of a humungous living, breathing creature...one buckling like crazy and simultaneously trying like hell to throw you off.

I was so blown away by some of these fights, I even video taped one and posted it in the forums
There's a strong puzzle element involved due to this, for instance one (absolutely massive) walking colossus can only be scaled by waiting him for him to pound you to death with his club (which alone is about the size of a bus), before diving out of the way and finally clinging onto the side of said club during the few seconds it's buried in the ground.

These are genuine mano a mano showdowns too; there's little use of the environment most of the time, so when you drop that 50 story giant, you do it by the power of your sword.

The tactics and skills differ from boss to boss; some you'll need to scale, some you'll need to pop arrows at and some "high flyers" will - at the risk of minor spoilers - require you jump on board their wings as they swoop down to the ground.

The kineticism and ferocity of these battles are so stunning you literally can't believe what you're seeing half the time. More importantly, you can't believe you're in control of it all. You just know the scope and size of this thing is impressive when it starts dating every single thing you saw in Lord of the Rings.

At the end of the day, this game significantly raises the bar of both what's capable, and what we should expect from boss fights...if not games in general. I'm sorry, but it renders pretty much all previous and more traditional "end of level" battles redundant. Even Resi 4's.

The World is Magnificent

SotC' gameworld is vivid, gorgeous and bizarrely eerie. Yes, it looks that good
The boss battles are stunning, epic struggles that can easily last over an hour, but the other primary selling point of this game is the travelling between those battles. This travelling - or more to the point, exploring - takes up a significant portion of the game, and provides some much needed calmness before the storm.

You know what though? Such segments were some of the greatest parts for me, and it's all down to this incredible world. Shadow's universe looks so god damn stunning...so picture perfect...so real...one has to ask why a PS2 is succeeding where most MMOs so regularly fail? Why is this most ancient of consoles conjuring up a world that the average PC could only dream of?

The universe is one of beauty, but also one of solitude. It's an immaculately presented place just ripe for screenshots...yet at the same time showing you some of the prettier sights would spoil 'em for you.

It's the Purest Example of Gaming as Art

There is visual flair to this game we've never come close to seeing before
With that in mind, Colossus comes across as something you look at, just as much as play. I don't mean that in the Metal Gear Solid sense of watching hours upon hours of dreadful cut-scenes, I mean it literally stops you dead in your tracks to stop and stare at the amazing sites all around you. You could frame this game and put it on a wall.

Whether it be the relaxing intro with its panoramic vistas (which at first I couldn't discern from CGI), or the miles of mammoth countryside, epic mountains and misty forests, the sites are quite clearly not the work of number crunching programmers, but true artists, talents and visionaries.

This thing just feels so god damn huge, it really is the most epic game I've ever laid eyes on. Those endless views that reach as far as the eye can see, can all be reached and seen up close, and with best of all, no load screens whatsoever.

There's no villages to be seen here, and very little sign of life in general, instead SotC is all about exploring the cusp of civilisation. It all adds up to create this incredibly vast sensation of space and size, that's just as pretty as it is humongous.

Never before has a game married art and interactive entertainment in such a memorising way. Calling it a "video game" feels derogatory.

Shadow is One of the Best Sounding Games Ever

From the first haunting string onwards, it has you. True, there's very little sound other than the music, with not much more than the ominous wind keeping you company on your travels, but it all adds to the amazing atmosphere that this game conjures up, and more to the point, it works so freaking well.

Ico used a similar technique of unnerving silence as its primary soundtrack, and it similarly works wonders here. Still, when that music does kick in (usually during the fights), it just supersedes all but the very best film scores. Even better, it pleasingly alters as the battles progress.

Remarkable, and affecting.

It's an Oddly Emotional Experience

Your horse runs the risk of being misunderstood by many. This is no Warthog you drive around, it's a living creature
This isn't done through traditional means for the most part either, Shadow is emotional by the sheer force of its atmosphere alone. More specifically, there's an odd sadness that runs through this game. With few signs of life and stretches of the land often appearing dead and barren, there's an oddly apocalyptic feeling to the whole thing that I've just never felt in a game before.

You also feel twinges of guilt from downing some of these colossi, who although immense beings of sheer force, aren't portrayed as particularly evil, and are pretty much just minding their own business until you come along (one even sleeping).

You also become overly attached to your horse, Agro. He's the closest thing you have to a friend backing you up in this haunted world, and his animation and overall look are so realistic as to border on creepy.

Riding your horse doesn't handle perfectly by any means, but I say this positively. It's not like driving a car, it's like, well...riding a horse. He's sloppy, slow to turn and takes a bit of a kick to get going, but the game captures that rickety high speed feeling of being up in a saddle perfectly. He genuinely feels like a living creature too, buckling at cliff edges, running off when scared and even leading you around by himself at times.

He is arguably the best implementation of a pet that I've seen in a game - if you can call him that - and I only wish he was used in the boss battles to a greater extent. Instead, he tends to sit the fights out (or run around screaming).

This is Dig's Fave PS2 Game By a Long Mile

Yeah, I talk some smack about the PS2 from time to time, but credit where credit's due, because this game is an excuse for every single person reading this to import an American machine immediately.

I don't care if you hate the PS2, hate all consoles or just hate games in general. A PlayStation can be picked up for under 100 sheets these days, and it's easily worth it for Colossus. It's gonna be a long wait for a PAL release...don't put yourself through that.

As I said, this is no mere game...it's art.

And Yet, It's a Missed Opportunity

Would a PC incarnation of Colossus blow this one away? We'll never know...
Look, colossus literally pulls off feats with the PS2 that aren't possible. I have no idea how, but here's a game that renders miles upon miles of terrain with full screen motion blur, depth of field, stunning particle effects and HDR lighting that puts even Day of Defeat to shame. We've never seen all this stuff piled on together on any system, let alone one five years old.

So I just wonder...what if these magicians of game creation known as Sony were using a more powerful machine at its core? Wouldn't this miracle of miracles be even better? To get so much out of a machine with so little...well it just boggles the mind what they could have pulled off without those restrictions.

Driving this point home more are some technical niggles here, such as choppy frame-rates, some horrible jaggies, the odd bit of pop-up, plus the fact your strangely androgynous warrior can often appear jerky. To be completely honest though, these are all oddly invisible problems; the unanimous beauty of the game - both visually and figuratively - literally mask any such shortcomings. It's a truly odd phenomenon.

One thing's for sure, when we see these chaps developing on PS3 hardware...forget about it. I'm on the edge of my fucking seat.

This Could Well Be the Game of the Year

I shit ye not.

(Pictures courtesy of Shadow of the Colossus)

Untitled Document

The Polynomial. Like playing a rave

Untitled Document

Game
Fallout 3

Enjoying a fully modded out re-visit. Wow

Film
The Road

Pretty much due to the above

Show
Breaking Bad

Already shaping up to be the best season yet

Tune
Explosions in the Sky

Easing the pain of living in a post-Friday Night Lights world

Untitled Document

Forums

The TPS Forum
Official boards for the site

RLLMUK Forum
The old Edge forums gone independent. The busiest and most interesting gaming board around, worthy of multiple visits a day

NTSC-UK Forum
Another exceptional gaming forum, featuring one of the friendliest communities on the net, and up to the minute news

NeoGAF
A more US-centric gaming board, with huge piles of traffic and even the odd famous face

Gaming Shows

The 1up Radio Network
1up.com's collection of weekly gaming podcasts, the pick of which would have to be ListenUP, full of juicy rumors and interesting banter week in, week out

Area 5
Formerly The 1up Show, since losing their jobs the old video editing team have continued doing what they do best, in an independent internet-based TV show, covering whatever upcoming games they can get their hands on, and various other bits and pieces

Fully Ramblomatic
A hysterical gaming blogger posting what he calls "zero punctuation" video reviews that have to be seen - and heard - to be believed

A Life Well Wasted
Freelance journalist Robert Ashley's internet radio show, with a far more interesting and professional demeanor than your typical podcast. Interviews, fast-paced editing and catchy tunes abound

On the Spot
The humongous gaming site known as Gamespot broadcasts a video show each week, in which upcoming games are demoed live on air, and viewers are invited to send in questions to find out more

The Hotspot
Gamespot's audio-based companion to On the Spot, in which site editors cover the week's news while simultaneously poking fun at all that is gaming

Gaming Steve
A more mature podcast, hosted by a long-time games industry professional armed with a ton of insider info and loads of interesting opinions. The Dig's been known to post articles and stories on here from time to time

Consolevania
Quick-fire internet-based TV show with console reviews and comedy sketches. Funny as hell

Major Nelson
An interesting "blogcast" hosted by a Microsoft employee, featuring stacks of exclusive behind the scenes news and interviews relating to all things Xbox 360

The Kojima Productions Report
Official podcast from the team of Hideo Kojima, creator of the much-loved Metal Gear franchise. Full of news and interviews relating to all things Metal Gear, it's probably one for die-hard fans only

Pure Pwnage
Mockumentary series on the life of a pro gamer. Episode five is possibly the funniest thing on the internet

Other Sites

Kotaku
What you could call gaming's homepage. Constantly updated news and links on the entire industry, from minute breaking headlines, to funny arse viral vids

Game Trailers
Easy to use multimedia-rich web site offering official trailers, video demos and sneak peaks at all the upcoming releases

Game Videos
Sister site to 1up.com, focusing on game trailers, video interviews and even the odd documentary

Gamespot
The Gamespot front-end, and the gaming equivalent of the Internet Movie Database. Includes detailed reviews and extensive video features on pretty much all systems and games ever made

Giant Bomb
Speaking of Gamespot, the controversial "letting go" of editor Jeff Gerstmann resulted in him starting up this new venture with fellow former writers of the site. Great podcast in particular

1up.com
Discounting the audio and video shows mentioned earlier, 1up's main site is also worth a visit in its own right. Not only bustling with quality gaming articles and extensive developers' blogs, it also doubles up as a massive friends network, ideal for meeting fellow gamers and joining like-minded communities

Live Marketplace Feed
The most up to date and reliable way to keep track of all the new Xbox Live Marketplace content, from new weapons and map packs, to movie trailers and game demos

Xbox Reloaded
360 backwards compatibility can be a minefield. This blog attempts to shed some light on the issue by playing original Xbox games for you and reporting back the results

GameFAQs
The ultimate resource for walkthroughs and cheats

Disposable Media
A wonderful (and free) E-zine, full of reviews and articles on gaming, movies, music and TV. Puts most high street mags to shame

X-Fire
A must-have for all PC gamers, X-Fire is a buddy list and communications tool that keeps constant tabs on what games both you and all your mates are playing, on or offline

Steam
A contender to the X-Fire throne that has pretty much overtaken it straight out of the gate. Valve's Steam client contains friends lists, downloadable games, Live-style achievements and plenty more to sink your teeth into

MyGamerCard.net
Convert your Xbox Live gamercard into an image, for use on forums and web sites for free. That's mine further down

Ain't it Cool News
The latest news, gossip and spy reports from the world of movies, TV and (occasionally) video games

Smodcast
Writer, director and actor Kevin Smith - he of Clerks fame - records a monthly podcast in which he and fellow pals discuss everything from trying to felate oneself, to the time his dog got covered in ejaculate. Riveting stuff

 

Matt Robinson, 2011

Please do not use anything on this site without credit
X-Fire Profile
Feel free to add me to X-Fire, Xbox Live or any of the other apps to the right
Xbox Live:
Diggler26
Wii Friend Code:
1224 7821 4721 8136
Playstation Network:
Diggler
Steam:
Diggler26
Twitter