Shadow of the Colossus is a spiritual successor to a relatively unknown game called Ico. Like Ico, it relies are intense lighting visuals and the daunting tasks you must complete to tell an unforgettable story.
SOTC uses some very intense lighting effects. The game game is very bright when it is bright, and when it is dark, it is just the right shade so that things are still easily visible, while still conveying the fact that it is dark. Textures are well done though some look a bit jaggy when examined close up, and Wander, the game's protagonist animates well, as does Aggro, your trusty steed. An the colossi you're going to be taking down are simply amazing. When you first see one, you will feel so tiny, so helpless and be in such awe, you will never forget it.
A boy names Wander travels across a stone bridge into "The Forbidden Land" and lays an unconscious(or dead?) girl named Mono on the temple alter. Mono is the victim of a tribes sacrificial rituals, and using a sword he stole from Lord Emon, the tribe's elder, Wander plans to restore life to her veins. The voice of something named Dormon tells Wander that he must slay the 16 collosi to restore Mono...but that he will have to pay a great price. Not caring what he must surrender, Wander begins his quest.
When I first began playing this game, I hated the controls. i felt like the were too touch, especially the horse controls, but as you play, you become used to them and they will not bother you. The X button serves two purposes. you can call for your horse, or whistle to catch the attention of a colossi, and draw him near to you. It may seem strange, but triangle is the jump button, as well as the mount button for Aggro. Holding down the circle button will raise your sword, shining a beam of light in the direction of the collossi so you know where to go. This also shows the collossi's weak points. Square is use your equipped item, be that your sword, bow, etc. The R1 button also serves multiple purposes. it how you grab and hold surfaces, crouch, and when combined with the triangle button, roll.
The game has it's own little formula you will be repeating. Use your sowrd to find the collossus, make your way to him, and defeat him. after defeating each collossi, it's darkness will flow into Wander, and he will fall unconscious, awakening back at the temple, where you will repeat the process. There is no combat in the game except for the colossi. sound boring? far from. It really immerses you in this world, and makes you feel alone in a forbidden land, seeking out and destroying the massive beasts. Aggro is your only friend. Getting to the collosi involves lots of exploration and eviromental challenges. you will do lots of scaling walls and shimmying broken columns. Fighting the collossi is where the game really shine. The collossi truly make you feel helpless. Remember when you were a kid, and you knelt over the ant hills in your yard? the ants would flee from you in terror, carrying whatever they had into their home fearfully. This is how you will feel. The collossi themselves are levels. they are like mountains you must climb, and each must be defeated a different way. If you aren't in the mood for combat, or are stuck, you can roam the vast world in search of lizards and fruit. Yes, lizards and fruit. Eating forbidden fruit increases your health, and killing the lizards for their tails gives you extra grip. This is one of the most fun, immersive experiences on the PS2.
The only word spoken in this game you will understand without reading it is Wander calling out "Aggro!". The rest of the words are spoken in an imaginary language that will just sound like gibberish, and msut be read. This really adds to the games lore, however, establishing that they are a different people no longer in existence. The collossi have their own little noises, like moans and screams that suit them all quite well. As for music, you will mostly only hear music in the presence on a collossi itself, or during cutscenes. the music always fits the situation, be in unnerving, calming, dramatic or sad. The sound track blew me away. It may not have the catchy tunes games like Zelda has, but it has a track full of orchestrated numbers that will draw even more into this immersive experience.
If you own this PS2 and do not own this game, your library has a gaping hole the likes of which only this game can fill. it simply must be experienced by all gamers everywhere. It is the most graphically impressive PS2 game, and is one of the greatest PS2 games period, if not one of the greatest games ever. You owe it to yourself to experience this game. nt play, experience. The whole time you will be saying "wow". You may have noticed I didn't use any images depicting a collossus in this review. Simply put, I don't want to spoil for you just how big they really are.