Shadow of the Colossus Review

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As the title of this game prophetically and appropriately suggests, Shadow of the Colossus is now a colossal name in the gaming industry; both boldly standing up against any of the latest action/adventure games whilst also inspiring modern work in turn. The shadow it has cast over many of the games and consoles that have followed it is a dark, haunting and penetratingly memorable one. Released back in 2005/6 for the PS2, Shadow of the Colossus was Team Ico and Sony Computer Entertainment’s second game after they put themselves firmly on the map with the equally superb, eponymously titled, Ico. Critical acclaim was thrown at the game back when it was released, now nearly ten year ago, from audiences and critics alike. It’s in its simple and austere game formula, vast landscapes and gorgeously cinematic tone that this game stands apart from pretty much every game that’s preceded it.
The game opens with you playing as an unidentified young man arriving at a temple with an equally unidentified young girl who appears to be either mortally ill or actually dead. A deep, rumbling Japanese voice announces that to save the girl you must venture out of the temple and defeat the 16 colossi that roam the lands. That is genuinely the entire plot of the game, while you may think initially that this sounds sparse it is in fact the minimalist nature of the plot that is the enduring strength of the game for this writer. The game play essentially plays out in the form of 16 increasingly difficult boss fights, interspersed with tracking down and finding the next colossus once you’ve defeated the previous. Some are harder to find than others and they’re often situated atop sequestered peaks or found lurking in huge caverns, fortunately the scenery is absolutely stunning so the search for them is never anything short of delightful.
What’s fantastic about the game is that each colossus provides a genuinely unique and engaging challenge. The tactics for defeating each will all be entirely different. Ranging from gigantic lumbering turtle’s that fire balls of flames at you to huge winged sea monsters; the creatures all pose unique challenges but share the same feature- they’re genuinely colossal. Each and every colossus is superbly designed, they look as if they are as ancient and spiritual as the land which they occupy. I’m not sure if it’s just me but I felt genuinely quite moved whenever I successfully managed to take down one of them; rarely does a game ever have the audacity to create a connection or bond between you and foes and this is just one of the many ways in which Shadow of the Colossus is not just a behemoth in name, but in nature also.
Recently Shadow of the Colossus and Ico were both released for PS3 in HD, at the time I didn’t have a PS3 but I decided to move hell and high water to ensure I did. I genuinely decided to sell my xbox 360 and sell wii games I no longer really used to afford this expenditure and boy oh boy was it worth it. The game looks fantastic rendered in HD and I’d recommend it to absolutely anyone who considers themselves a gamer. You truly haven’t played a proper game until you’ve set your hands around this beauty.