Gaming Backlog: Shadow of the Colossus

This is the first entry in a series where I will talk about a game that for some reason or another (or some excuse or another) has managed to fall into the doldrums of my gaming library. Be they untouched, barely played or sitting at an endgame save (I had Final Fantasy X at an endgame save for about two years), I will highlight some of the great games (or possibly awful ones) that I have failed to complete. Hopefully revisiting these games in text will open the door to discussion as well as checking it off a long list of unfinished games.

Today’s entry into the Backlog is the PlayStation 2 classic (and prime example of “art” that Roger Ebert will supposedly attempt) Shadow of the Colossus.

Shadow of the Colossus HD

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I got the game originally in the first month or so of its release in 2005 and was absolutely blown away. Similarly to Team Ico’s first hit (and another backlog member) Ico, Shadow of the Colossus introduces the game with practically no setup and there is no HUD to speak of. All you know is you’re a young warrior, you have a horse, and you need to save a maiden’s life by killing 16 colossi.

From the first battle I was hooked, you are absolutely microscopic compared to the colossus as you use your bow to stun the giant beast so you can leap from your horse to its ankle and begin your upward climb. Climbing and clinging to nooks and tufts of hair were amazing, especially on the PS2’s weaker graphics core. As you climbed the colossus, you need to keep a lookout for weak points where you can stab your sword into the beast in order to defeat it. The experience was absolutely exhilarating and I remember marathoning through the first five colossi. Each colossus was different from the next and all required a slightly different strategy.

Odds are that I didn’t lose interest in the game as such, because it has always been one of those games that I dearly want to finish on my PS2, but more that I was distracted by the Xbox 360 at that time. Fortunately, the game will be getting an HD re-release this year in tandem with the aforementioned Ico. Much like the re-releases of God of War I & II and the Sly Cooper collection, the games will be enhanced graphically to take advantage of HD displays and the PS3’s hardware.

Maybe I’ll revisit Shadow of the Colossus prior to the HD re-release, but one thing is for certain: this is an incredible experience of a game that should not be passed up.

IGN – Shadow of the Colossus Review

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