Shadow of the Colossus, much like its game developer’s cult hit Ico, presents itself in a unique and artistic manner that is truly lacking in the gaming world. The story begins with you, Wander, a man that has journeyed to forgotten lands on a quest to revive his lifeless lover. Armed with a bow, sword and your trusty horse, Agro, you must journey across the forgotten lands to slay 16 massive colossi.
To find each Colossus Wander must raise his sword, and in a Gandalf-esque manner, a light beam originating from the sword reveals the next Colossus' placement. When you arrive at the Colossus' area, the battle will either begin when the Colossus spots you (pending his hostility) or you must initiate the battle. To slay the Colossus, you must utilize your light beam sword once again. Doing so will reveal the Colossus weakness; this is where you must focus your sword attacks. Each Colossus is slayed in essentially the same manner; that is, stabbing the weak spot. However, every Colossus has idiosyncrasies that differentiate each battle. For instance, some Colossi can only be reached by utilizing your unique surroundings, while others can simply be reached by jumping up and holding onto their hair. When your massive enemy has been defeated, you wake up at the temple where you are guided by a mysterious voice that informs you of your next Colossus.
There’s a certain bitter sweetness to each victorious encounter. The colossi are truly majestic creatures that have done no wrong, yet, for your lady to survive, they must die. You inevitably feel a sense of sorrow and guilt when you slay these beautiful goliaths, but it must be done (or so you tell yourself).
Shadow of the Colossus presents itself with astonishing graphics and a unique environment. However, with such large scale battles and beautiful graphics, other aspects inevitably suffer. The framerate often slows down significantly during your epic battles with the colossi which, at times, take away the epic-ness of it. Fortunately the game is backed with stunning orchestral music that most certainly adds a dramatic effect that the framerate often ruins. Another issue is the poor camera angles during the fights. Considering the unfathomable size of your enemies, it’s understandable that poor camera angles are inevitable, yet they are still utterly annoying. It’s hard enough to climb up a 100 metre giant when you don’t have to compete with your vision!
Negating these few issues, Shadow of the Colossus is a nearly flawless game that presents itself in a truly unique manner and in a gaming market saturated with sequels, sports games and mundane concepts, it's certainly relieving to see some originality. It is games like these that keep gaming fresh, new and irresistible.