Shadow of the Colossus was, in my view, just a game that my brother had been hearing about for a while and wanted to try out. The premise sounded cool; you were a lone warrior facing a colossus many times your size. My brother saw the game at a game store one day and decided to purchase it. For about $20, there was just one word to describe a game like this: Novel.
You play as Wander, a young warrior who brings a deceased girl to a cursed land in hope of reviving her. To resurrect a being requires very risky and forbidden magic, although the spirit Dormin within the lands is willing to oblige, should you kill sixteen colossi and be willing to make "great personal sacrifice". Quite a lot for such a young warrior to handle, but Wander is more than determined to bring back the girl.
Using your magical sword to reflect light in a colossus' direction, you head off on your horse and only companion, Agro. Once you reach the colossus, you must use Agro or the environment around you to get on top of the colossus and search for blue sigils (a colossus' weak point) to stab. All the while, you must hold on to their fur, because the colossus will thrash about in an attempt to knock you off.
The game doesn't have much in the way of a story. The only important highlights are at the beginning and the end of the game. However, I feel this helps work the feeling of being alone in a land filled with ancient giants. This game wasn't made so much to convey a story as it was to convey the feeling of being small and defeating very large enemies. Trust me; that feeling is just one part that makes this game so awesome.
The world you must slay the sixteen colossi in is very, very large. What was so special about this game was that you had rolling plains in every direction with very small amounts of life. You could ride Agro on the path to a colossus and see only birds, lizards, and vegetation. Literally. Besides the colossi, these three life forms are the only things that exist in the cursed lands containing the colossi. This was a very unique aspect of Shadow of the Colossus, your only foes being many times larger than you were. I enjoy this aspect of the game the most. It was a very refreshing break from the mainstream fighting and shooting games available.
The soundtrack is also a very interesting and unique aspect of the game. Along with the composition being spectacular for a game, the music only plays when you are in combat with a colossus. In between battles (travelling between colossi), the music never plays. This is a very innovative aspect of Shadow of the Colossus, because as far as I can tell, I have never played a game that intentionally left music out for about half of the time played. Although it really does help establish the feeling of loneliness and foreboding to your next colossus fight.
Well, I can write words down, but words couldn't describe my first experience with a colossus, as he noticed my existence and turned around... man, that was really intimidating (haha). I would rate this game a 4/5, mainly for the innovative quality it has. I would have given it a perfect rating, but there was so much empty space that the developers could have filled. Mainly that the landscape you traveled in was, in fact, pretty vast, but nothing compelled you to the scenery. While the scenery was very beautiful, it felt more like empty space than an interactive environment. Of course, you had to navigate around various mountains and valleys, but it just felt like a segue between colossi.
This game came out in late 2005 for the Playstation 2 and is much better than many single-player Xbox 360 games or Playstation 3 games out that might have been developed around that time. It is a very unique experience, containing very good graphics for a PS2 and very interesting gameplay. As an added bonus, after completing the game on Normal, you can play on Hard mode, which makes you much weaker to colossus attacks, but gives the game much more challenge (added fun!).
So if you can find this at a game store for around $20, I highly recommend it, if you still have your old PS2 lying around. I was mainly playing X360 around the time I got it, which only added to my respect of the game more. If a game released in 2005 can be all-around better than a game released in 2010, then that is a great game, indeed.