Shadow of the Colossus Review

Developer: SCEI Publisher: SCEA
Release Date: October 18, 2005 Also On: None

Few games these days provide a narrative worth your time or attention. Even fewer tell a story that will even gain your interest. Shadow of the Colossus is a game that officially removes the myth that games are not a compelling medium for which you can tell a story. If you are looking for an epic experience, look no further than Sony’s latest instant-classic for the PlayStation 2, Shadow of the Colossus.

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I came into Shadow of the Colossus believing strongly that Sony was over-ambitious with their concept of an open world environment, like the one that was pulled off. The end result is a living-breathing world of dense forests, deep valleys, and great plains. True, a lot of the areas are largely barren, with little but grass, trees, or a few animals here and there, but the entirety of this massive world is great.

The enormous scale of this game, with absolutely no load times, immediately brings to mind the words “PlayStation 3 launch title�. Obviously, this is not the case; Sony has managed to release a PS3-sized world on the PS2 without load times. Surprisingly, they’ve done so without pushing the processing power of the unit to such limits that it catches fire.

If you find yourself still wondering what Shadow of the Colossus is, basically it’s a large-scale action-adventure game with no levels, no objectives, and only one opponent to face at a time. Shadow of the Colossus is really a game like no other. Games like this are a refreshing diversion from the never-ending stampede of mindless shooters that saturate the market today.

You play as a young man set out to restore life to a mysterious woman. In order to do this, you must defeat creatures known as Colossi. Instead of playing against low-level foes, you enter a battle with gigantic stone monstrosities known as Colossi. Each Colossus is a large stone statue that represents a different organism: lizard, turtle, water-serpent, you name it. There are a total of 16 different Colossi that you’ll fight across the land.

These boss fights involve literally climbing, grabbing, and gliding on or with the Colossus. Depending on the situation, you’ll either be on land, water, or air. Once you’re on the Colossus, you’ll need to find its weak spot, and then stab it multiple times. Many Colossi have more than one, or even two, weak spots that you’ll have to exploit before you can defeat them.

So what exactly is in-between these boss sequences? Honestly, not a whole hell of a lot. Basically you ride your horse around the open-world environment to find the next Colossus that you’ll need to fight. A sword guides your way using a beam of light to the Colossus that you’ll need to fight. There are a few platforming bits here and there, mixed in for good measure, but nothing major, and nothing that consumes all that much time.

If you’re wondering how Zelda: Twilight Princess’ horse-riding will be like, this may be an indicator, minus the enemies-on-horseback. The only problem with this is, ironically, like the last Zelda game (Wind Waker), you’ll travel long distances to get from one place to the other. Oftentimes, you’ll get lost and not know where you’re supposed to end up with little assistance from the pointless map that’s been included.

Some of you will probably scream “BLASPHEMY!� from me saying this, but I’ve never cared much for Ico. This, the spiritual successor so to speak, is a game that I can find a much deeper personal connection to and not find myself bored to tears. True, neither of these games are meant for the mainstream; only hardcore gamers need apply. But Shadow of the Colossus seems a lot friendlier in the action department than Ico. While there might only be seven or eight hours of gameplay here, you’ll still be able to replay levels in Time Attack, and replay the entire game in Hard mode.

Overall, Shadow of the Colossus is one of the best PlayStation 2 releases of 2005. This is probably not better than Resident Evil 4, and definitely not better than God of War, but still, for this type of game, I’d go so far as to say that this is the best on the PS2. If you’re looking for an epic, emotionally moving game (I know Andrew was mad by the ending), Shadow of the Colossus is the one game of 2005 that you must own.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 9.5
Creativity: 10
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 9.3
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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