Shadow of the Colossus on Playstation 3 Review
Shadow of the Colossus was originally released on Playstation 2 in October 2005 in the USA and February 2006 in the EU. As a sixteen year old girl who loved video games, I got stuck right into it. As it was later released on Playstation 3, I played it again, and enjoyed it just as much. This review reflects the game's plotline, gameplay, controls and more.
As with most Japanese video games, Shadow of the Colossus had an appealing, and later heartbreaking storyline. The protagonist, Wander, travels to the forbidden land to take on a 'ritual' - slaying sixteen huge monsters called colossi - to bring his dead lover back to life.
Not much is said about the characters or the storyline until later in the game. Another character later confirms that the sword used to slay the beasts was stolen, and that riders from Wander's land have chased him down to stop him performing the ritual.
I liked this storyline a lot - though fairly simple, it was good grounds for a game that wasn't just about slaying monsters and being the hero, but risking everything to save the woman he loves. It made the game awesome, cool and exciting, but also touching and made me really care about the characters.
Controlling the main character, Wander, is fairly simplistic, although the controls for riding the horse, Agro, are unusual, but easy to get used to. Aiming the bow and arrow was difficult; with a sensitive control stick and often 'backwards' aim, it took some practice. However, in the Options settings you can change the horizontal controls as well as the vertical controls. I didn't know this when I was younger, and just got used to it. This time round, I could change the settings to how I wanted. The rest was part of the normal gaming process - getting used to it, and getting good at it.
The camera angle was unconventional at best, horrible at worst. Particularly when riding the horse, the camera had a mind of its own. However, this is another thing the player just gets used to. One really neat thing about the camera is that whilst battling a colossus you can press L1, and the camera will move to the monster you're battling. Extremely useful for keeping an eye on colossi who can sometimes hide themselves from view.
I believe that music is important in a video game - particularly a video game with a heart-wrenching storyline. Shadow of the Colossus' soundtrack has been described as 'breathtaking' and 'widely praised', and is available in CD format. I absolutely loved the orchestral soundtrack for this game. It was powerful, beautiful, sad, romantic and enticing, and fit the action of the gameplay as well as the storyline very well. Check out the music here. There are no lyrics, so easy to listen to whilst reading this.
The game is adventure and also strategy - there are only sixteen battles, but working out how to defeat them is the biggest challenge. Each colossus has weak points in various parts of their bodies; sometimes the player must use the surrounding environments to reach parts of the monsters, such as by climbing buildings or using the colossus' attacks to reach certain areas.
Once I played the game again, I could remember almost all of the strategies. Some of the colossi attack the player on sight, which adds threat to the player that some of the monsters don't give.
All in all, it's not a difficult game to finish, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. The battles are challenging and fun, and sometimes frustrating - the perfect mix for satisfying gameplay.
The game doesn't have any side quests; the player is transported to the Shrine of Worship after each battle, and has to find the next monster by refecting light from his sword, to know which way to go.
There are various smaller shrines around the world where white-tailed lizards crawl around; by shooting a lizard with an arrow and eating the tail, you increase Wander's maximum energy, which is important when scaling the colossi monsters. Additionally, there are trees bearing fruit; shooting these down will increase Wander's maximum health gauge.
Aside from these, there are no side quests or side monsters to battle. However, having completed the game once, there is an option to continue onto Time Attack mode, where you can get new weapons and items by defeating the monsters within the given time limit. Finishing the game once opens up opportunities for the player.
In conclusion, the game is fantastic. It had a storyline which stuck with me (which to me is very important), a wonderful soundtrack, and engaging gameplay. Above all, the game was nothing short of beautiful. With the artwork, the music and the fact that the beasts ar really majestic, it gave the game a feel of real art. I'm proud to award Shadow of the Colossus five stars out of five.