The good: Beautiful and breathtaking environments and bosses. Excellent gameplay
The bad: Some bosses are very hard to find.
Doing a review of the story of this game is a bit awkward. On one hand the bulk of the story is explained in the beginning cinematic. There is a land said to be cursed and forbidden; within this land lies an ancient power that can bring back the souls of the dead. Which is precisely why you’re here. The main character (Wander) goes to the only building in the middle of this large area, and places the dead body of a woman on an alter. He is then confronted by an enigmatic voice that says this land is forbidden; Wander then informs the voice his desire to bring back the girl and that he has some ancient sword capable of slaying colossi. The voice then says is may not be impossible to do so, giving a sense it may not work. Mr. Voice then explains that the consequences may be too great, to which Wander says he does not care. Who the woman is, is never explained and you want to advance in the game to find out exactly who these people are. Who is this woman? Why is she so important to Wander? What happened to her? It’s good at drawing you in and making you want more.
This aspect again is very awkward; the gameplay consists of 2 main things. Finding a colossus, and killing it. It sounds repetitive, and it is to a point. The land surrounding the center temple is nice and varied, though it doesn’t seem forced like in a lot of games. The terrain seems to flow and has a sense that someplace like this could really be out there. There isn’t one forest section and one desert section and one plain section. It’s all evenly panned out, and for a PS2 game it looks really good, like a little too god for its time. Once you find a colossus the fun begins, Most (actually every) colossus battle boils down to 2 things. Climb onto it, find weak spot, stab it till it dies. Later in the game you’ll have to find ways to climb and reveal the weak points. You’ll have to use the surrounding environment in your favor to attempt to grab onto the colossus. You’ll think the first battle was insane and challenging, by the time you’re halfway through the game you’ll experience colossi that bring it to shame. This game differs from many other games in that you never get new equipment or powers, you only have your sword, a bow and your horse; that’s all you need. You have a health meter and a strength meter, the strength meter is a circle that the longer you hold on to something (ledge, colossus fur) it decreases. If the circle runs out you fall off, and probably get hurt. While holding onto a colossus you press the attack button to charge up your stab, the longer you charge the more it hurts, though if you charge too long you run the risk of the colossus thrashing forcing you to flail around and lose your charge. As I mentioned before you get a horse, Agro. The horse is the only thing accompanying you on your journey, and you really get attacked to him. He’s a friend that’s been there with you through thick and thin. You really depend on him to get to the colossi and in some cases to help kill them. But even with Agro with you, you still get a sense of loneliness and isolation. In this land it’s just you, your horse and the various colossi that you want dead.
The graphics in this game are nothing short of amazing, more so in fact when you take into account how old the game is. The landscape is detailed and the game will seem like a cinematic at times as you scale the colossi and plunge your hot blade into their rocky bodies.
The music for the game matches what is going on at the time. Fast paced frantic music is playing as you battle colossi, and semi-calming music as you’re riding agro around the environment. The voice acting is good, but it’s also in a made up language that sounds like some kind of Scandinavian and grunt hybrid.
Shadow of the colossus is very odd and takes many risks. There are no enemies except for 16 bosses, the obvious gamble they took payed off so well it’s incredible. A must play for anyone who’s picked up a controller; if you don’t love this game you must have taken a drill to the center of your brain that recognizes greatness.