It's [[GreyAndGrayMorality very]] [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation tempting]] [[AmbiguousSituation to say]] "[[TrueArtIsIncomprehensible everything]]", but...

Beware unmarked spoilers.


[[folder:Wander and his motives]]
* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: Is he TheHero, the VillainProtagonist, or something in between? The ambiguity of the story means he can be any of these things.
* RonTheDeathEater: Despite his only known motives being trying to bring Mono back, the fans usually tend to paint Wander in a darker light. Common interpretations include being a StalkerWithACrush who Mono doesn't even know, an all around {{Jerkass}} to everyone but Agro, and anywhere and everywhere in between. While some say [[spoiler: him stealing the sword from Emon]] points to this, as said above, the situation is [[AmbiguousSituation too ambiguous]] to really say.
* TheWoobie: With the amount of things the guy goes through for love [[AmbiguousSituation (whether it be romantic or platonic)]], a few players just wanted to give him a hug.

[[folder:The Colossi]]
* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: Are they all just mindless beasts? Or are they aware of Wander's motives and actively attempting to stop him from releasing Dormin? Or are they, perhaps, attacking out of fear? (Celosia's behavior suggests that the Colossi are capable of feeling fear, as he backs away from a lit torch and may even sound a bit like he's whimpering.)
* AnticlimaxBoss: Malus can feel like this to some players expecting a more action-oriented finale. For one thing, Malus cannot harm you once you've passed the DeathCourse, almost qualifying as a ZeroEffortBoss at this stage were it not for the fact that he can shake you off like any other colossus can.
* BreatherBoss:
** From a gameplay standpoint, Phalanx is far easier than the three bosses that came before it. It can only deal damage indirectly, and the fight is pretty fun to boot. From an emotional standpoint, though, it's likely to be the first boss that'll make you reconsider Wander's actions, thanks to it's rather majestic death animation.
** Argus, the 15th Colossus, is quite a bit simpler and less tense a fight compared to Cenobia, the Colossus that came before it. That said, figuring out how to get up on it can be a bit of a GuideDangit moment, but it's still a step down in difficulty when compared to Cenobia.
** Kuromori can be this when you realize that the higher up it is when it falls, the longer it stays down. Lure it up to the highest level of the arena, shoot it down, then immediately jump after it and there's a good chance you'll be able to kill it without it managing to get up again (at the expense of a little health lost in your own fall).
* CatharsisFactor: From a game play perspective, the game's hardest challenge is completing all of the Time Trials on both Normal and Hard. Not only does that feel like a major accomplishment, but using Flash Arrows to blow up those slippery silver-tailed lizards and delivering a OneHitKO to any Colossus with a single sigil with the Queen's Sword just feels so ''good'' after all the pain experienced to get them.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Gaius. He's the third Colossus faced, yet fans tend to think of him as the unofficial mascot for the game. Compared to the other Colossi, Gaius tends to have more fan art of him than the other Colossi, and tends to get focused on more than the others by the fans. Even Valus, the first Colossus and the one on the boxart, doesn't get as much attention. A close second would be Phalanx, thanks to having a [[BestBossEver very memorable battle]].
* EpilepticTrees: Malus' face is potentially a DoubleMeaning - their carved stone grimace can be interpreted as fury towards your actions, or horror towards them.
* GoddamnedBoss: Considering that there are sixteen wildly variable boss battles to choose from, it's inevitable that some of them will end up as this. Occasionally, a Colossus is not tricky to defeat, but instead is a MarathonBoss, and takes a long time to complete the strategy (Cenobia is a big offender here). The most notable ones, though, are:
** Pelagia. One of the trickier PuzzleBoss battles, since getting it to expose its weak point requires a complicated bit of planning and experimentation. This is also while said boss is shooting balls of lightning at you every now and then, and you're swimming awkwardly through the water with it. Doesn't really help that it looks rather creepy.
** Dirge. Even if you realize quickly that you can shoot it [[spoiler: in the eyes]], doing it ''while sitting backward, galloping on horseback'' is tricky. The target also might not appear before Dirge makes an aggressive dive, or Agro might have to make a turn and throw your aim off. Even worse if you're still struggling with Agro's controls by this stage.
** Basaran, (though see ThatOneBoss if you found it really hard). Unlike most other Colossi, the ColossusClimb is the easy bit. The really annoying bit is getting it to [[spoiler: stand above a geyser in time to get thrown over. Even if you get it in the right position, the geyser may stop just before you have time to shoot its ankles, and by the time the geyser fires again, Basaran has usually moved on. It doesn't help that Basaran would rather shoot you than move closer. Oh, and the geyser has to be in just the right place or it won't work, even when logically it should have an effect.]]
* DracoInLeatherPants: Granted, while the game [[YouBastard does try to make you feel horrible for killing them]], fans like to portray the Colossi as purely innocent creatures who are slain by the [[RonTheDeathEater evil Wander]] for a selfish reason... Including the ones that attack him on sight with no provocation.
* ItsEasySoItSucks: "Sucks" is a strong word, but for some players who have a large focus on boss fights vs story/setting, they will complain that after you figure out how to climb every Colossi, actually killing them takes little effort as all you've left to do is just stab it till it's dead, and that once you've beaten the game once, there is no challenge to a replay. Rather astonishingly, one skilled player uploaded a video of him defeating all 16 Colossi in Hard time mode in ''less than an hour.''
%%* ParanoiaFuel
* ThatOneBoss:
** Basaran (if not GoddamnedBoss), for the same reasons as stated there. For extra fun, try fighting it in Time Attack Mode - wherein Agro starts out standing a good ten feet away. See also LuckBasedMission and GoddamnedBoss.
** Celosia. If you're really unlucky, the thing can back you in a corner and never let you get up properly, causing a game over and making you try again. Even if that doesn't happen, though, [[spoiler: the stick that you need to pick up to scare Celosia away sometimes doesn't want to let you pick it up, leaving you swinging your sword like a fool and a wide open target for the boss to charge at you.]] And that's not even taking into account how hard it is to dodge.
** Cenobia, its "brother/sister", is just as bad. It's just as small, just as fast and, even worse, [[spoiler: it isn't afraid of fire]]. A greater part of its battle is leaping from rooftop to pillar to rooftop as the thing stalks you from below, and if you ''miss'' one of the pillars or rooftops, you're screwed since Cenobia shares Celosia's CycleOfHurting attack. On top of that, [[spoiler: there's a part of the battle where you ''have'' to make a mad dash on the ground to the next safe area, and you only have just enough time to make it to safety lest Cenobia start batting you around like a ball. On a normal playthrough, it isn't too bad, as you can wait it out on a fallen pillar until Cenobia loses interest. On Time Attack? Good luck getting a good score...]]
** Kuromori fires trios of energy blasts when provoked. The kicker is that the gas that remains actually hurts you. And beating it is no walk in the park, either; you have to [[spoiler: lure him up a wall, go to one of the few openings, ''very'' quickly shoot two legs, then jump from what is usually a high height to reach the bottom to attack him. It sounds challenging, but it's even harder to execute.]]
** Gaius in Hard Time Attack is absolutely brutal. You have one minute less than Normal Time Attack to beat it, Wander seems to constantly lose his grip and the Colossus' unusual shape makes hitting its weak points tricky. When almost all the strategies online recommend abusing GoodBadBugs and exploits, you know you're in trouble. The people behind the [=PS4=] remake seems to have recognized this, as you're given one and half minute longer to beat him.
** Barba, though usually only in Time Attack mode. It seems to attempt to shake you off much more often and for longer than many of the other Colossi. This is okay for a normal playthrough, but the Time Attack fight is basically a LuckBasedMission, and you have to hope Barba decides not to shake too much as well as getting the motions of the fight itself just right. It also has one of the stricter time limits.
* TheScrappy:
** Celosia and Cenobia are strongly disliked by some players, thanks to being tiny in comparison to the others, extremely fast by the standards of the other Colossi, ''and'' both having a CycleOfHurting attack that makes their battles a tension-filled nightmare to fight. It's extremely common to hear that, despite the Colossus deaths generally being sympathetic and making you feel terrible for killing them, most people are just happy to have their battles over with, and to watch these two Colossi keel over dead. Not to mention that having two colossi that are so small in comparison so late in the game can feel rather anticlimactic compared to the hulking ''behemoths'' you've already faced earlier.
** Basaran is similarly disliked for his battle. While not overly difficult or tense, his battle is [[GoddamnedBoss incredibly finicky and uncooperative]] to go through, and an absolute nightmare to pull off in Time Attacks.
* UncannyValley:
** All of the Colossi might be imposing, but their movements manage to look at least somewhat anatomically correct (Or as anatomically correct as an enormous rock-monster can be), but with Pelagia, it has somewhat bobbing, unnatural movements, which doesn't really take away from its [[NightmareFuel somewhat creepy]] nature.
** In a similar vein, Phaedra's tiny spider-legs give it a creepy, tottering gait that you just know is ''not natural''.
** A more direct example with Dirge's eyes. Dirge's mad, [[NightmareFuel soul-piercing eyes]]. Especially unpleasant if he kills you, then you get to look him directly in the face.
* TheWoobie: A lot of players feel bad about having to kill these guys. A few of the bigger recipients of this are:
** Phaedra, for the scream it emits upon being stabbed.
** Celosia, for backing away in terror from a flaming torch.
** Phalanx, for being the only colossus that will never actively attack you.
** Malus, for having its feet bolted to the floor and being completely helpless once you've gotten close to it.
** Completely and utterly {{Averted|Trope}}, however, with Dirge, who spends the entirety of his fight trying his utmost to kill you while also [[NightmareFuel terrifying]] you.

[[folder:Everything else]]
* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation:
** The game gives you only the barest hints of story and leaves the vast majority up to the player.
** [[spoiler:Did Agro survive the fall, or was it Dormin who resurrected her along with Mono?]]
** Dormin. ''Anything'' to do with Dormin. Are they evil? A NobleDemon? A benevolent god that was mistaken as evil [[spoiler: because of their shadowy and dark appearance and power to control life and death?]] There's a ''lot'' of evidence to point towards any of these interpretations thanks to their actions throughout the game.
* AwesomenessWithdrawal: A major reason for the "17th Colossus" "rumors" that still persist to this day. With a game of epic bosses the size of mountains, it's only natural that, once the final one is slain, people would want more. While no true 17th Colossus actually exists, groups of dedicated data-miners and researchers on the game's development history ''have'' dug up a lot about [[ Colossi that never made it into the game]].
* BrokenBase:
** A minor one over the [=PS3=] rerelease, between those who think it's the best and most complete version of the game, and those who think it's a PortingDisaster. Pros include items from the PAL version, better framerate, and minor updates to the graphics. Cons include increased load times, the removal of a few items exclusive to the North American release, and the removal of a few GoodBadBugs such as the ability to move during certain cut scenes (which made {{Speed Run}}ning certain Colossi harder to pull off). Some people are also bugged by the fact that there is no PC version, if only for the chance of there being [[GameMod mods]] to add more Colossi to the game.
** Then there's the UsefulNotes/PS4 remake of the game. While some do like the absolutely [[VisualEffectsOfAwesome gorgerous]] graphical upgrades, others are feeling Sony is to trying and wring out every last dollar sign they can out of Shadow of the Colossus' popularity; especially with the announcement that the only thing changing with the remake is the visual upgrades, with no other new content being added.
** On one hand, there are fans who like the game for the vague, open-to-interpretation plot, the wide-open scenery, and how the game makes you feel bad for the Colossi. On the other, there are fans who are into the game just for fighting the Colossi. The former usually treat the latter as small-minded idiots for not caring about the Colossi or feeling bad for what's going on, while the latter treat the former as a bunch of overly sensitive people who are overthinking things, and point out that if the developers really were going for that, they wouldn't have added frivolous things like the time attack mode.
* JustForFun/CameForTheXStayedForTheY: Came for the Colossus battles, stayed for the plot, music, and SceneryPorn which made those battles even more amazing.
* CultClassic: The ''VideoGame/TeamICOSeries'' games as a whole are this, but even in regards to ''VideoGame/{{ICO}}'' and ''VideoGame/TheLastGuardian'', Shadow of the Colossus ''still'' regarded as the best game in the series and has a massive surprisingly active fanbase to this day, alongside a series of dedicated hackers trying to find "the last big thing" hidden in the game's code.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Agro, no pun intended, is the greatest CoolHorse in video games ''ever''. Almost every gamer can agree [[spoiler: that the biggest PlayerPunch in the game is the DisneyDeath Agro receives right before facing the sixteenth Colossus.]] There's also the fact that, as a horse, Agro is the lone character who isn't subject to AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: she's just a loyal mare doing as her master directs her. Not to mention that her [[ theme music]] is [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome absolutely amazing.]]
* EpilepticTrees:
** A new set of collectables was found in the [=PS4=] remake; coins. In a game that had minimal collectables to begin with (fruit, lizard tails, and bonus equipment from time trials), this is quite the addition. These were not mentioned at all by the developers before or even after release. What they do and how many there are is a mystery. [[spoiler:It was eventually discovered that by collecting all the coins, a door outside the Shrine of Worship would be unlockable and inside was a weapon called the Sword of Dormin. It grants a large attack buff while reducing health regeneration and when held up to the sun, the light and beam emitted would be black.]]
** There are also, inexplicably, a [[ series of invisible pictures of a goat]] hidden throughout the world, that can only be revealed by using the light of the sword. What it means, why they were added and what they do are a complete mystery.
* FandomRivalry:
** With the ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' in general, since it draws many elements from it, with a fair amount of people who think ''Shadow of the Colossus'' does them better than Zelda could even hope to do. Funnily enough, one can see ''Shadow Of The Colossus'' serving as a direct ''inspiration'' for several parts of the most recent Zelda game, ''Breath Of The Wild''; the part involving [[spoiler: the dragon Naydra and curing her corruption]] have a definite feel of the iconic Phalanx battle here, and the Colossi have something of a SpiritualSuccessor [[spoiler: in The Divine Beasts]]. Even the setting of ''Breath'' is desolate and quite spartan, not unlike ''Shadow's'' setting (though one could argue that the original ''Zelda'' game inspired this one, thus paying back the compliment).
** Related to it, there's also a rivalry between Agro fans and Epona fans. They basically compete for the title of "most iconic video game horse ever".
* GoodBadBugs:
** Jumping upwards diagonally costs almost no grip meter, allowing you to reach the secret garden much earlier than intended, although jumping up ''the whole temple'' that way is quite a physical challenge in its own right. This was fixed in the remake, to many fans' dismay.
** Because of the physics engine of the game, in certain situations, it's possible to launch Wander up into the air ''way'' higher than he normally can jump, with [[FanNickname Agro launching]] being really useful for Time Attack trials.
** Another quirk in the physics engine, if Wander hangs onto a Colossus in a certain spot, he'll be able to repeatedly stab them without being tossed around by the Colossi's shaking. Another really useful thing for Time Trials.
* ItWasHisSled: It's nigh impossible to not know how the story ends, even passively.
* ItsTheSameNowItSucks: Probably the biggest complaint about the UsefulNotes/PS4 version is, besides the graphical upgrades, basically ''nothing'' was changed. While the UsefulNotes/PS3 version at least came with ''VideoGame/{{ICO}}'' which in turn also included the [[RegionalBonus then PAL exclusive]] items in it, there's nothing to really bring people who owned the UsefulNotes/PS2 or [=PS3=] versions back for another round. It didn't help that, before the [=PS4=] remake was even announced, the devs implied that the next time they remade the game, they would likely be making a few changes, either. However, soon after the release, it was discovered [[spoiler: there's 79 hidden coins known as "Enlightenments" hidden around the world, and finding all 79 unlocks a nifty new sword in a hidden area underneath the Shrine of Worship.]] So it's possible that Sony and [=BluePoint=] were using [[ExactWords Exact Words]] when they said weren't changing anything besides the graphics.
* JustHereForGodzilla: The moral ambiguity of the plot fascinates some, but others just play the game to battle the Colossi.
* {{Narm}}: The ControllableHelplessness of the final section where Wander fights against falling into the supposedly inevitable can last pretty much as long as the player is stubborn. This quickly becomes hilarious as the music just keeps repeating and repeating while Wander strains, falls, and sometimes even stumbles end over end, but does not succumb.
* PlayerPunch: The death scene of each colossus is accompanied by the same melancholy tune, which more than once leaves players questioning whether all this killing is really worth it. A more unexpected one comes near the end when [[spoiler:Agro ''falls into a ravine while throwing you to safety.'' Even though she survived, on a first playthrough no one could say for certain and for all any player knew, she could've been.]]
* SacredCow: Due to the clear DoingItForTheArt nature of the game. When the developers from [=BluePoint=] discussed the [=PS4=] remake, they made it clear they knew they wouldn't be able to please everyone.
* ScrappyMechanic:
** Agro has decent pathfinding AI that is absolutely vital for one battle and can be very helpful elsewhere, and she generally avoids danger by moving out of the way well ahead of time. The trade-off is that she does not always follow orders, will stop short if a player's chosen direction would result in a collision, and tends to go very slowly on narrow paths. Some players are okay with this and feel that the advantages outweigh the drawbacks, while others find this very difficult to get used to and wish she behaved more like a car or bike. [[ThatOneLevel Though pretty much everyone admits that it may be better to take a longer route than try to guide her through trees.]]
** The way Colossi shake can make certain battles feel rather tedious. While it does make sense, the fact that Wander tends to slip and fall over every single small step the Colossi take can make attacking the weak points next to impossible. It's especially annoying when it happens just as Wander is about to stab, rendering the charge up for it pointless. Barba, in particular, is one of the worst offenders of this. Even worse, this ends up happening more frequently in the [=PS3=] remastered version thanks to the increased framerate, making certain time attack battles a LuckBasedMission in the process.
* ThatOneSidequest: Well, this is pretty much the ''only'' one, but still, reaching the secret garden will take you a long time. The climbing course isn't particularly difficult in itself, but you will have to make your grip gauge grow out of the screen if you don't want to fall to your death midway up. Be prepared to make two or three playthroughs and hunt down ''a lot'' of lizards for that.
* TheyChangedItNowItSucks: While no one is going to deny that the ''UsefulNotes/PS4'' version [[VisualEffectsOfAwesome looks absolutely stunning]], the switch to more realistic shaders, the toning down on the bloom and the extremely detailed grass added everywhere has caused the Forbidden Lands to lose a lot of its mystical, otherworldly abandoned wasteland wonderment the original version had. The updated character models are another point of contention; in an attempt to make the characters look more realistic, many complain that the new models just make the characters look like they haven't lost the baby fat in their faces yet, with Wander himself falling into the UncannyValley for many people. The [=PS4=] remake does come with a set of filters that allow the player to recreate the green foggy atmosphere of the original, at the very least.
* ViewerGenderConfusion: Most players assume Agro to be a stallion, perhaps for how heavily built the horse is, but WordOfGod is that the designers consider her a mare.
* VindicatedByHistory: While initial reviews were never bad, it was not the star game of the year, with multiple GOTY awards going instead to games like ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'' and ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4''. Shadow was not so much overlooked as it was just overshadowed (no pun intended), having the misfortune of coming out in a year that saw the release of ''several'' excellent games. However, years later, it has been rated by various publications as the best game of the decade, second best game ever, fourth greatest moment in gaming (for its ending), and in addition is frequently held up as a - if not ''the'' - prime example of Video Games As Art. It's on the short list of [[WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation Yahtzee's]] [[ favorite games]] ever, if that means anything to you.