Shadow of the Colossus Reader Review

And so we finally get Shadow of the Colossus...

...and for a short while it enjoys a bit of chart success, gets plenty of favourable critical press coverage, and gamers whisper in hushed tones about "which colossus they're stuck on". Alas, seemingly this has been a fleeting affair with SOTC's greatness. Something that makes me want to stand out in the street buck naked and shout through a megaphone "What the HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU ALL?"

Shadow of the Colossus is from Fumito Oueda's "Ico" team, and if you didn't get on with Ico, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out, off you toddle.

SOTC doesn't aim to be the fastest polygon-mashing FPS on the block, it doesn't aim to do the same dreary old racing round a circuit thing but this year with added police chases and dodgy physics. Shadow of the Colossus is a true behemoth of a game that pits you, the gamer, against seemingly insurmountable odds, and allows you the luxury of triumphing over the giants therein. BUT it does ask for a little perseverance. Something that it seems a lot of "popcorn gamers" don't posess.

The game has a fairy-tale setting involving a hero's quest to wake his sleeping princess. SOTC doesn't aim to bore you to death with a long drawn out introductory blurb, it does very little to set the scene for you. It doesn't need to. You have the girl, the hero, his moody fat-arsed old horse and the colossii. You don't need to know anything else, other than you need to take every single last one of them down to succeed.

The game may seem quite bare at first, the huge temple has the same architectural grandeur present in Ico, but you could be forgiven for thinking the surrounding landscape is barren and featureless. Guess again. The more you travel SOTC's plains, the more hidden little gems you discover tucked away.

And what about the colossii themselves? You could be wholly forgiven for thinking this game just sounds like an endless round of boss battles. Fair comment but if game bosses were like these suckers, I think fewer people would be bored to death with them. The colossii are huge (well duh!) and they are not exactly happy about you turning up, shinning up their legs, and stabbing them in their most sensitive spots. Alas, this is what you've got to do so each colossus becomes a mental puzzle needing to be solved. Where to start? Shin up the leg? Hide somewhere and coax it over to you until it bows down enough for you to leap into its beard? Swim with it until it gets knackered out then stab it to death quickly? These are just some of the methods for dispatching the beasts, and there are many more but I guarantee you that if you've got any semblance of a soul left, your first glance of each of the colossus will cause you to make a nervous little "ee-ouk" noise at the back of your throat.

Our hero's quest is as huge as this game. In 30 years time when you're an old toothless bore (I speak for myself here), and your kids or grandkids ask you "What games did you play when you were younger?" I think unless you're soulless, Shadow of the Colossus will get a mention. Stop buying that racing / FPS crap and put your money into something far more worthwhile.


9 / 10

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