There has been so much hype during the release of Shadow of the Colossus that there’s really nothing I could say that hasn’t already been said a million times. Now with that out of the way, lets talk about this fan-f*cking-tastic title, shall we?
The game plops you and your trusty steed Agro in the middle of nowhere, at an ancient monument, with the girl of your dreams laying unconscious on a large stone slab. Not a good place for you to wake up, but these things happen, right? You soon realize that the huge statues that line the monument are actually symbolizing the monsters that reside within this world… monsters that you must defeat. You play as a rather ambiguous character known only as “Wanderer”. Wanderer is aided by a kindly, amalgamous entity that speaks to you from a large hole in the top of your new home. It is easy to assume that this being is the Almighty, but you will soon realize that it might be just the opposite. The strange deity offers to revive your lady friend in exchange for your help in defeating the huge monsters that roam this world.
The gameplay is one of the most defining factors of the game. Instead of throwing your character through mazes, endless droves of repetitive enemies, and tedious puzzles, you jump right into the boss battles. That’s right, you won’t fight a single creature that isn’t a boss. This might sound like a super-simple concept, and it is, but it’s also so much more. Without having to worry about the programming of multiple adversaries, the developers instead present you with 16 completely unique and challenging enemies.
The design of the colossi is also something to behold. The structure and presentation of these beasts is truly a remarkable achievement for the PS2 and has yet to be matched, in terms of scale, on even the current-gen hardware. The environments in which you fight these creatures is also extremely crucial to your success or failure. Each of the colossi inhabit a specific portion of the huge world before you and these settings will get increasingly complex, and sometimes confusingly so, as your adventure continues.
Once you’ve hunted down the stomping grounds (Colossus humor…) of your next foe, you’re likely to hear them before you see them. Once the creature appears, you have to try to memorize its patterns in order to formulate a plan on how to mount them — you’ll be riding your enemy for most of the battle. Once aboard, you’ll have to hunt down their weak spots by crawling, jumping, swinging, and hanging on for your dear life.
There’s really no way for me to describe how satisfying it is to take down and adversary that is literally hundreds of times your size, and making away relatively unscathed. I highly suggest hunting this title down and experiencing it for yourself. I warn you though, once you’ve played this game you might find yourself frustrated with the repetitive enemies in many other titles you play. But trust me, it’s worth it.