8.5

After hearing so many good things about this game and being pushed to play it by my cousin, here are my thoughts...

This game really is worth playing. It's a great game that seems to be loved by all gamers, and it is for a good reason. Probably one of the best console games that I've played in a while. With that being said, there are a few problems that Shadow of the Colossus can work on. Nothing too major, but it would still be really nice if they were fixed. Now don't get me wrong, because this game is not even close to being bad by any means; there are just some faults that should have been looked at by the developers before being released so the experience could be that much better. Trust me, it makes a huge difference.

The graphics, coupled with the overall artwork and design, are clearly the best I have seen on the PS2, and probably the best I've ever seen on consoles, as it still holds up pretty well graphically to this day(in my opinion). The scenery in the game is impressive and relaxing to look at. Imagine looking at a painting, or watching a fantasy movie, and that is what the graphics are like in this game. Now that I've got that out of the way, I have noticed and had some issues with the technical aspect of this game, such as the framerate. The framerate runs pretty slow even for a console game, and the game can run like a slideshow at times. It gets really choppy and that can get annoying, especially if you're about to die or something, as it is much harder to move at a fluent pace and see what you're doing. The camera, though not as big of a problem, also needs fixing, because way too many times I would be trying to move around and the camera would zoom in into a dead end or a specific angle that made it hard to see what I'm doing.

The controls are not the worst I have seen in a video game, but they feel sloppy, not to mention stiff. The riding controls are complicated to use. It takes a bit too long to stop your horse, it's a pain in the ass to turn around if you reach a dead end, and in general the controls don't always do what you want to do, making them unresponsive at times. Jumping in this game is also tricky, since you have to hold the R1 button after you jump to grab onto a ledge and that is one technique you'll have to master if you want to beat this game. I find it unnecessary since in most games, the character you play as grabs onto a ledge on its own. What's even more complicated is jumping onto another ledge cross from you. It can be hard to execute because of the tricky camera as well as aiming difficulties. If that's not enough, you have grabbing power, which is a circular metre next to your health bar that determines how much grasp you have. If it runs out, then you lose your grip.

Contrary to the difficult controls, it doesn't affect the awesome gameplay by any means despite making execution slightly more difficult than it could be. The combat is excellent, the weapons work great. The crossbow is easy to use in terms of aiming and everything. So skipping past the whole story(which I don't want to explain too much and I'll tell you why in a minute), the basic objective of the game is this: There are sixteen idols you have to destroy in a temple. Each idol represents a certain colossus and you have to hunt them down in order and defeat them all. Technically speaking, the game is just sixteen boss fights in a row. Now the story is the main reason why the game is so great. The characters have a mysterious feel to them, and as you play, you begin to gain emotional attachment to the characters you play as, and that does not happen in many games that I play at least. The story is not one to be spoiled, as it provides an epic journey that you'll remember forever.

The colossi are hidden all over the game world and you have to find them. The only sense of direction you have is a light beam your sword emits that points into the direction of the boss you need to fight. The game world is well designed and well done. It's not huge, but riding through it is fun to do sometimes to admire the artwork and you can tell that there was a lot of time and work put into this game. The bosses are located in different locations. Some in lakes, some in valleys, some in temples, some in abandoned cities. Fighting the bosses themselves is simply epic. Each boss has a certain puzzle to solve to defeat it, many of them involving climbing all over the bosses themselves, all the while listening to one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard in a video game. The music is simply epic and the majority of the game's music only comes on during boss fights. When it does though, it does nothing but suit the moment very very well. Team Ico did an exceptional job in this area.

All in all, Shadow of the Colossus is not a bad game at all; it's really not. However, I personally don't think that it is the masterpiece that everyone and their dog makes it out to be. I really can understand why people love this game, and to be honest I like it. Even though it's not perfect, I have nothing but appreciation for this game as it was willing to step out of the comfort zone that most video games seemed stuck in. You have your Halos, your Resident Evils, your Call of Duties where you play as a macho man that goes around killing everybody, and this game was willing to step out of that whole tired formula. It excelled at what it attempted, which was a great original video game and I give props to Shadow of the Colossus for that. It even still holds up pretty well today. So if you're a gamer in this current generation and you haven't played this game yet, do yourself a favour and play this game. Beat it, you won't regret it. Playing this game will make you realize that even something meant for enjoyment; an electronic video game can be a piece of art.

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