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Shadow of the Colossus (2018) review
Exceptional
by Cynthia

This cult classic changed the way I view everything around me, and got itself a great place in my heart. This new perspective of the game makes me want to spend an eternity just listening to the ambience sounds and the mare's soothing trot.
«Blew my mind»
«Can’t stop playing»
«Time-tested»
«Underrated»
«That ending!»
«Beaten more than once»
«OST on repeat»

Other reviews5

I can see why people would have been impressed way back when it was originally released because of the large scale to the game. I never played it back then. I do not get why this remaster deserves such high reviews. The controls aren’t good and the game is boring. I didn’t finish it. I did probably 8 or so bosses. The boss fights weren’t that clever. I didn’t think they were good puzzles. I saw so many posts on Reddit from people praising this game. I think they are just hopping on a bandwagon saying they liked it because they heard it was a good game or they are blinded by nostalgia. It’s not good. Not worth your time.

Final Score: B-
A slow burning, brooding game that leaves you time to think about who you are, what you're doing, and why you're doing it.

In 2020, when nearly every game I play (with an exception to a few) are immediately and urgently occupied with giving you a laundry list of things to do and see. Shadow of the Colossus instead leaves you with a few words and a light to follow. There is no one shouting commands at you, no constant objective on your display. It is a beautiful and strange wasteland where saving a unnamed girl brings you to align yourself with the epic task of slaying a band of Colossus's. 

The Story & Setting

You play as a young boy who is trying to save his... Sister? Friend? Girlfriend? It doesn't matter, really. Because that serves as the blank slate for you to get engaged with the story. The girl serves as a conduit for the player to place their own loved one, an initial push to take on your first Colossus. 

Although it isn't until about two thirds into the game where things start to shake up from the usual formula of slaying variously shaped Collosus's. The setting of the game overtakes as the primary force for engaging with the story, wanting to know which Collosus is next, what they look like, how they act, what habitat they have chosen. All of this shrouded in a delicate and cunning mystery, a sense that all of the places you go and things you interact with in the game world could end up being nothing like you expected. 

As you traverse the barren wasteland no music plays, you are simply left with the sound of rustling trees, waving grassland and the panting of your horse and yourself. It allows the player to ponder on all of the above, and that's what makes this game so good. It's so simple, but in it's simplicity opens your mind to dozens of questions and reflections on this world. Debates and thoughts which come internally, which are projected from yourself onto this landscape. 

The Gameplay

Again, the gameplay is super simple. But I will say it can be awkward and cumbersome at times. There were a few key moments where I wanted to throw my controller out the window, and one or two occasions where if not for the help of guides, I wouldn't have been able to progress for the game hadn't laid out the mechanic which I needed to engage with in order to. (The use of the flame torch against the first Bull Colossus & jumping the bridge with Argo for the final Colossus.)

However, plummeting your sword into a Colossus for that final kill, with the accompanying excellent sound design was a satisfying feeling. And seeing these behemoths fall at your, in comparison, tiny feet, made you feel like a flare of might in a man. 

The Colossus fights themselves were all delightfully different, with only a couple finding their way into the 'overly frustrating' category. Shout outs to the Flying Sand Colossus, The Raging Bull Colossus and the Sea Serpent Colossus. All exceptional fights. 

Tech Ranks

Graphics - 4/5 - Exceptional scale and array of landscapes. True feeling of a Forgotten Land, but some sections were overwhelmingly dark to the point where I had to turn my brightness to maximum. 

Animation - 5/5 - While some of climbing was awkward at times. Grabbing onto the hairs of a giant Colossus and being swung from side to side as it tries to shake you looked and felt incredible. A lot of the 'giant' feeling from these beasts was done through the balance of the player being flung around featherweight style and the Colossus taking humongous thundering motions. 

Art - 5/5 - Cohesive and beautiful, the world felt like an alien planet via mythos and legend. Accompanied the metaphorical mulling of the story extremely well. 
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Feels amazing to take down Colossus
8/10

+ Incredible scale of boss fights
+ Intriguing story told subtlety
+ "games as art"
+ Remake preserved atmosphere/feel of original while adding gorgeous visuals

- Camera is very frustrating
- Finding Colossi is annoying in empty world