One of the things that has made the Sony Playstation 2 such a resounding successful in the past five years are the steady amount of great first party games that have been released for the console. This year we have already seen great games like God of War and Sly 3, which have proved the Sony is still moving strong with their somewhat older technology. Well just when we thought the PS2 was on its last leg, the developers of Ico come out with their latest game. Let’s just say it’s very different from any other game that has come out on the console yet. It’s Shadow of Colossus and it has the potential to be the best action game the PS2 has seen yet. Is it? Read our full review to find out!
Right from the opening cut scene, you are introduced to a young man who is riding a truly beautiful horse. Now you are never really introduced to this character by name, but just know him as a young boy who is really good at riding his horse. Well during the opening scene you are also introduced to either an unconscious or a deceased girl who you are taking to a temple of sorts. From here you are off to your mission, which is different than any other action game I have ever played.
So what separates Shadow of Colossus from other action adventure games that have already come out in recent years? Well, instead of having to go from dungeon to dungeon trying to go through countless enemies and find keys and what not, the game takes a totally new aspect of gameplay. Rather than bore you with fodders, Shadow of Colossus decides that it just wants you to focus solely on boss battles. That is correct, boss battles, and there are a total of 16 of them to go through. Now you might be saying, what is the big deal about boss battles? Well let’s just say you have never seen boss battles like this.
You start out each boss battle by pointing your sword to the sky and then watching where the sunlight hits the environment. That is where you should be headed off to for your next Colossi battle. Before I get into the actual gameplay, let me just say you can take the title literally, as you will be in the "shadow of the colossus". When you look at just the shear size difference between your character and the Colossi, it just seems impossible to take these big guys down. But the size is exactly where all of the strategy and the complexity of this game comes from.
So you start out by riding horseback to your next mission, which is actually made extremely well. The controls are extremely smooth and work really well. The developers did a fantastic job of making the controls intuitive with the horse, and this is a good thing because you are going to be riding horseback quite a bit throughout the entire adventure.
The actual boss battles themselves start out rather easy, and really don’t give a whole lot of challenge. As time progresses and you get through your first four Colossi, things get really difficult. The boss battles at first are quite clear cut, you simply jump on the colossi and work your way to more vulnerable points of the Colossi, which more often then not is the head and then try to take them out. Now this is not easy, because first, you have to actually get on the big beast, and this varies throughout the game. As the game progresses so does the difficulty and this is really where the game really excels.
I have to say that I was extremely impressed with Shadow of Colossus. Sure it does have some camera issues, but to be honest all the minor problems are overshadowed by the amazing gameplay. There has just never been a game like this before, and right from the beginning when you jump on the first Colossi, it is just a truly amazing experience.
Visually Shadow of Colossus is by far one of the most gorgeous games ever to make its way onto the PlayStation 2. What is so surprising about this game is that just when you thought you’ve seen all that the console can offer, the developers raised the bar again superbly. The centerpiece here would certainly be the Colossi, which are gigantic, in every sense of the word.
The rest of the game’s visuals are just as amazing, with some of the most detailed and well made environments to ever grace the Playstation 2 as well. The developers did a great job with two things. First off the lighting effects, which are very important to the game and really look absolutely stunning. But not only do they look fantastic, but so do all the smaller touches, the little details that this game does perfectly. I can honestly say this is the best looking PlayStation 2 game I have played thus far.
Shadow of Colossus is one of those games that can really become frustrating at times, it becomes more difficult as you progress further. So at first sure you might out saying wow what a game this is and just be taken away by all the amazing accomplishments that this game possesses. And then as that begins to slowly wear off, then comes some frustration, and that is just because this game does a great job of making you think about how to take down this gigantic Colossi. The game still is an extremely fun game to play, and although frustrating at times the whole experience for me was extremely enjoyable.
In the end, Shadow of Colossus is one of the best games to make it onto the Playstation 2 not only in 2005, but in the whole console’s lifespan. I was just so impressed with how well this game managed to make the Colossi feel so much bigger, and to mix up how to take them down. It is truly 16 battles of David vs. Goliath that has never been done better then what the developers have accomplished with Shadow of Colossus.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.