Best of 2005 #3: Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus

In an industry built on sequels that play it safe it’s unusual to see a high profile game that is not only a sequel (sort of), but also an original idea of the type that hasn’t been attempted before. It takes one of the seamless worlds which are all the rage at the moment but sets it in a strange and isolated land, all based around the unique idea of taking the enemies, puzzles, and levels and making them one.

The colossi are the biggest (no pun intended) achievement that push the PS2 to its absolute limits, and beyond at certain points as any framerate whore will tell you. Despite technical problems they look stunning, often not actually bothered by your prescence until you start trying to murder them on your selfish quest to bring back your lost love. It really is hard to classify whether they’re simply enemies, puzzles, or whole levels – you have to kill them while they usually try to do the same to you, they’re you’re only real measure of how far through the game you are, and actually getting on top of them and doing the dirty work is rarely straightforward, requiring a cunning mind and a fair amount of platforming acumen.

Not only is Colossus a beautiful game graphically, it’s also absolutely enthralling, with the solitary atmosphere, soundtrack that ranges from haunting to rousing, and the process of figuring out how to bring down each monster combining to create something really great. It’s not very long, but it’s still an experience that shouldn’t be missed.

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