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How far would you go?
For love?

For something that you want?

To make the impossible possible?

That is the question raised by Team Ico Series Team Ico's follow up to their cult classic, Ico. Shadow of the Colossus weaves the tale of a mysterious youth named Wander, who brings the body of a dead woman named Mono to a forbidden land in the hopes of bringing her back to life. Wielding a magic sword, Wander beseeches the Dormin, the god like forces that reside in the shrine in the middle of the uninhabited land. The Dormin set up Wander a simple task; slay 16 massive colossi to destroy their mystical idols.

The game forgoes many commonplace elements of gaming. There are Mooks, no levels, and certainly no power-ups. Instead, all that lies ahead are 16 awe-inspiring creatures of varying sizes and shapes. From a giant minotaur, to a underwater sea monster, to a flying serpent, Shadow presents the player with nothing but boss fight after boss fight. Yet, unlike many games where victory over the boss brings elation and joy, Shadow brings about a sense of regret and sorrow. The towering creatures you seek may have the visage of a monster, but the only one being truly heartless may very well be the player themself. With each strike into the skull of a colossus, what are you really achieving? The return of a loved one? But at what cost, and what sacrifice?

In addition to it's great story, Sot C has a beautiful, epic soundtrack. Full of sweeping orchestral themes that blare out grand and adventurous themes, to bitter, sad melodies, each song enriches the experiences in a different way.

So the question is; how far are you willing to go? Can you face the colossi? Are you able to strike them down for nothing but the faint hope of regaining a single soul? Are you willing to show just how far you will go, for love?
  # comments: 38
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An Aesthetic Accomplishment with Good Gameplay - I'd like to see more games like this
I like this game, and especially its artistic direction. The animations, graphics, sounds and lighting effects are highly detailed and nuanced, working well with each other, and I would gladly play more games like this.

The colossus battles are clearly the main attractions, and they are diverse and thrilling, each one a test of personal ingenuity. On my first playthrough, most of the thrill was in developing strategies, picking up clues from the surroundings and watching the colossus' movements. This thrill is partially lost in replays, but fortunately there is enough extra material to keep the game interesting after completion - the Time Attack Mode, Hard Mode, Reminiscence Mode, and other discoveries. It is, however, the sheer detail of each colossus design and attack pattern, and the exciting battles, which draw the most attention - and rightly so, for they are the meat of the game's entertainment.

The simple story behind the game was beautifully and elegantly portrayed, though the climax felt pretty weak compared with the rest of the game's features. Interacting with Agro was delightful, especially when riding across open terrain and arches of stone. The platforming sections of the game, though brief, sometimes encouraged creative thinking, especially during battles against Kuromuri, Cenobia and Argus. Cutscenes are directed with the same lavish care as the gameplay experience. After a while, you start to notice repetitions in some colossus A Is and musical scores, though these do not detract from the originality of the boss fights themselves and are easily excused. Wander's own animations are convincing, his characterisation fascinating, and his controls only occasionally unwieldy.

The game's problems are trivial compared with these successes, but after a while they can't be ignored. Controlling the camera often became a frustrating task, especially while fighting Avion, Dirge and Phalanx. Riding through the vast, empty landscape may have been atmospheric initially, but it soon became tedious. Sub-missions involving lizards and fruits, while surprising novelties at first, are unentertaining. You can't help feeling that a lot of the game's detailed environment just goes to waste.

On balance, though, I would recommend this game. If a sequel was released including sixteen more colossus battles, I would definitely buy it.
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