Shadow of the Colossus

Following the trend, Shadow came out in 2005 as the followup to the critically acclaimed and oft-overlooked ICO. It’s a bit of a departure from its predecessor, but the one thing that stands out with both is how distinctly unique they play and feel.

Never has a game had such a strong narrative and plot-driven story without ever really speaking a word. You are Wander and all you know when you step into this world is that you’ve brung this girl to an ominous temple in an attempt to revive her.  Your goal is to travel to the far reaches of this desolate, empty world and single-handedly take down the colossi who inhabit it.  The sheer scope and scale of the battles are horrifying and exciting.

Ultimately all the colossi battles are big puzzles. You approach a towering giant with just a sword and bow on horseback, how can you possibly take it down? Well, all the colossi are different but they all consist of you waiting for your chance to climb up them, find their weak point and exploit it.  They can be pretty tough, but in the end if you trial and error enough you’ll figure it out. After each battle you absorb the colossi’s soul, pass out and appear back at the temple noticeably worn out. Witnessing the process take it’s toll on Wander throughout the game really drives home the yearning nature of his plight. Not only with Wander, but in a strange way the game eventually makes you start to feel bad for the colossi aswell.

Get off my plains...

Finally, the soundtrack perfectly captures the  atmospheric adventure of standing toe to toe with the impossible and taking it head on. If there’s any one game to throw out there in any argument on whether or not games can be ‘art’ this is it.



The upcoming sequel, The Last Guardian