Shadow of the Colossus is Both Beautiful and Haunting

Regardless of how anyone might feel about the game, Shadow of the Colossus is definitely a unique game. Personally, I loved it, despite the somewhat tragic emotional themes. And if SotC had achievements or trophies, I would have earned one for "Refusing to seek help." This was one of those rare games for me where I didn't get frustrated and seek out the answers, although I came mighty close on two of the colossi to giving up.

Despite occasionally clunky controls, it's an amazing sensation to climb to great heights and try to puzzle out the secret to overcoming each of your huge adversaries. This is almost an action/puzzle game more than anything else, and there's always a good chance something unexpected will happen. One moment, you're making steady progress up a colossus' back/leg/wing. The next, a sudden gust of wind or wild shake of their head sends you tumbling, scrabbling for a ledge to save your rapid descent. It's exhilarating.

Of course, these game play moments that cause your body to tingle are in direct contrast to the sense of impending doom you feel after the defeat of each colossus. I know the main character is trying to bring a girl back to life, but something's not quite right in this empty, desolate world. A mysterious voice warns in the beginning that this quest may be more damaging to the main character than he can possibly realize, but we plunge ahead anyway.

I really like that he's not your typical hero, either. Yes, he defeats all 16 colossi, but he's just a young kid, maybe a teenager. And this teen is every bit as awkward and gangly as you and I were at one time. He runs and constantly stumbles, can only climb for a certain amount of time, and must concentrate and build up his strength before plunging his sword into a colossus. He's neither all-powerful not perfect. It's quite refreshing, and all this comes across through game play and visual cues, with a minimal amount of video 'lectures' from the director.

But after beating all the colossi with few interruptions, it's then a little jarring to have to sit through a 20 minute ending/closing credit sequence. But on the other hand, I thought it was both perfect and poignant.

SotC is by no means perfect, but it's extremely fun and entertaining, and should leave with you something to actually think about when you're finished. Plus, it's quite short, which is great for someone like me who has increasingly less time for games these days. If you've never played it, it definitely deserves your attention. Just because the colossus has a weak point, does that mean you should exploit it?

----On a side note, and with small spoilers, part of the ending reminded me of the end of FFVII: Crisis Core. And here I thought Crisis Core was the first game to have that type of ending...

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