My Love-Hate Relationship With Shadow of the Colossus

[Note, the opinions in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Gamers Association as a whole.]

Shadow of the Colossus is widely considered to be one of the greatest games of all time. When it was released in 2005, it wowed players with its massive boss battles, breath-taking music, and emotional story. Many people love this game. I am one of those people, yet I also hate this game. I don’t think I’ve ever played a game that gave me such conflicting emotions. To say the least, I have a love-hate relationship with Shadow of the Colossus.

Whenever I think about Shadow of the Colossus, the first thing that comes to my mind is the ending. Shadow of the Colossus has an absolutely beautiful ending. It’s sad, yet touching. It’s complex, yet lucid. It’s scary, yet sweet. I think Shadow of the Colossus has the greatest video game ending of all time. It’s perfect (in my opinion). The ending to Shadow of the Colossus is so good that the game is worth playing for the ending alone. It really is that good. The ending is so powerful and moving that after watching it, I forgot how much I hated the gameplay in Shadow of the Colossus. Speaking of which…

I can’t stand the gameplay in Shadow of the Colossus. I know that I’m in the minority here, but I just hate it. For starters, the game is just so slow. A game that only has boss battles sounds awesome, but I frequently found myself lost while searching for the colossi. This lead to extreme boredom. The world in Shadow of the Colossus is huge, yet nothing substantial inhabits it besides the colossi (and lizards). It’s just not very interesting for huge parts of the game. The epic boss battles are supposed to make up for the slow parts, but I found that they only added to my frustration. The boss battles seem awesome at first, but they become tiresome very quickly. I’ve come to the conclusion that Wander (who’s supposed to be a strong warrior) is one of the weakest human video game characters. Even if a colossus is just walking slowly, he can’t even hold on to its hair for a minute. I’m not saying he should have the climbing skills of Nathan Drake, but the game would be a lot more fun if he was stronger. The gameplay in Shadow of the Colossus is probably the most frustrating gameplay I have played in any game. It annoys me to no end. Yet, when I think of the gameplay that I can’t stand, it makes me remember the incredible music.

The music in Shadow of the Colossus is nothing short of spectacular. Shadow of the Colossus easily has one of the greatest soundtracks of all time. Heck, it might even have the best soundtrack of all time. When I think of the frustrating boss battles, my anger goes away once the music plays. Like the ending, the music is simply beautiful. It’s a lot easier to look past some gameplay flaws when a song like Revived Power is playing. The music is so good that it makes all of the other parts of the game better. The music makes the gameplay less frustrating while making the story (and specifically the ending) more emotional. In my eyes, the music is simply perfect.

As you can see, I have very conflicting opinions on Shadow of the Colossus. I think the game’s ending and music are better than that of any other game, yet I think the gameplay is an atrocity. Some people love Shadow of the Colossus. Others hate it. Me? I’m somewhere in the middle. Gameplay is the most important part of a game, and Shadow of the Colossus fails in that category. And yet, the music and ending make the awful gameplay worth playing through. Usually I can’t stand playing a game if I dislike its gameplay, but for Shadow of the Colossus, I make an exception.

Written by: Jay Curtis

The youngest writer at Gamers-Association. Twitter: @BlueOrigins PSN: TheBlue0rigins Steam: BlueOrigins

  • Sam

    I love every part of this game including the gameplay because its realistic (in my opinion) unlike other games where all you have to do jump to a ledge for example and the character automatically grabs it, its so unrealistic and easy. But am not saying the gameplay isn’t frustrating cause it really is and I find that to be a huge reason why this game is so amazing and beautiful cause it puts you on the edge of your seat when you see that pink circle getting smaller, it brings out all your emotions. I also think they made the gameplay like that on purpose.

  • Hmmm. Interesting. It is a game which necessitates a deeper look. For example, did you shoot down fruit and eat it? Did you kill a lizard with a white tail? Have you ever jumped off your horse, caught onto a falcon and flew? It’s a game that doesnt hold your hand and I like that.

    I found myself lost in the world, becoming intimate with it, learning all of its crannies. UGH! It is such a great game hahaha. I need that HD version nowwwwwww. THANKS MAN. THERE GOES MY $60!!!

    • Harvester

      You mean $40 🙂 Or even $20 at some retail stores!

      • BRB BUYING IT NOW! Thanks for the tip, man!

  • Creeping

    I am with you totally. I played it one year ago, and i was expecting a much more complex game. On the other hand i found that the camera was horrible, the enviroment was totally emtpy, and even the graphics were nothing special.

    I think it is a good game, with very interesting playable mechanics, but in my modest opinion, is just a good game, not a fabulous one.

    PD: Sorry for my poor english ;-).