When I first heard about Shadow of the Colossus it immediately caught my eye as something different. One of those few games that dared to do something different in this increasing world of sequels. I kept my eye on it, watching for screenshots and being awed as various shots of the Colossi appeared.
When the game itself was released, I had one problem - I didn't own a PS2. I had played ICO slightly at a friend's and so I knew this would be some quality game. The temptation was too much - I traded in a load of Xbox and Gamecube games and bought myself a PS2 with Shadow of the Colossus and you know what? I've never looked back.
From the moment you watch the intro sequence, the fact that you and your horse are alone in this land hits you right in the face. You feel the need to seek out company - even if the company is about 60 feet tall and capable of crushing you in a single blow.
The Colossi themselves are also something else altogether. Not since the screen-filling bosses of games like Super Aleste on the SNES have I been so taken aback by a game entity and, in some cases, even afraid to face them. The creatures themselves seem to bear quite a docile expression on their faces, making it seem as if they don't really want to hurt you, but you've come running up to them brandishing a sword so they have to defend themselves. Couple that with the saddening music that plays as each one collapses to the groud at the end of each fight can't help but make you feel that you're the bad guy here, not the hero.
Oh, apart from the final Colossus. I don't want to give too much away, but it's quite possibly the best boss in any videogame ever. Big, powerful and deliciously evil-looking. This is partly due to the amazing visuals that the PS2 can produce here. The amazingly life-like Colossi look only a little short of non-HD 360 graphics. If this is how far a console can advance in a few years, I can't wait to see what the PS3 can do.
I rate this game 10 out of 10 because it's that good. I know people say that giving a game a perfect score means that no game can ever better it. I see it that giving a game perfect score means that it's perfect for what it is. In time a game may come along that will better it but I wouldn't change a single bit of Shadow of the Colossus. It's perfect for what it is.
This game is easily worth buying a PS2 for. It's truly original. It dared to take on an idea which many thought would be boring (Ride to boss, kill boss, ride to next boss, etc) and has pulled it of with substantial panache. Anything like this that comes now will just be an obvious imitation. If Nintendo can put bosses on the same scale into Twilight Princess, we could well have the best Zelda game off all time on our hands. I never thought I would say that Zelda could learn from something, but here it is - take heed, Mr. Myamoto, these are bosses.
10 / 10