Shadow of the Colossus

by tirial

The long awaited sequel to the classic PS2 game Ico was released in 2005. Journeying to a strange land, a wanderer seeks to revive his lost love, but the cost will be so very high.

The long awaited sequel to the classic PS2 game Ico was released in 2005.
A nameless traveller, simply referred to as a Wanderer, arrives at a temple to a forgotten god in a nameless land. His only companion the horse Agro, his weapons merely a bow and a sword stolen from the village priest, the wanderer seeks a boon. Taking from Agro's back the wrapped body of a girl, he pleads with the lost god Dormin to restore her life. He can restore her life, Dormin replies. But the trials to do so will be hard, and the cost so very very high...

She was sacrificed for she has a cursed fate.

Please, I need you to bring back her soul...


Official Video trailer

From Sony

The story of the game

A young wanderer travels to a forsaken castle to enlist the help of a trapped god to restore his lost love. A bargain struck, he travels across the desolate landscape to find and slay the 16 creatures that stand between him and saving his companion. The Colossi however are huge, and each giant presents a unique threat, but to accomplish his quest Wanderer must defeat them before the Riders who follow him can catch up.


With that sword, however... it may not be impossible.



Originally released for the PS2, Shadow of the Colossus came out in a cardboard sleeve with artcards, a set still sort after by many collectors. Its predecessor ICO had had a similar release in Europe, and a set of the pair of games with cards in good condition is highly collectable.

Shadow of the Colossus was re-released in high definition for the PS3, in a dual pack with ICO. Sadly this was a standard DVD case with no extras.

Finally, it can be got through the Playstation store as a digital download.

A review of Shadow of the Colossus

A review by Tirial

Shadow of the Colossus is an utterly unique, utterly compelling game with a very simple principle. Easy to pick up, it can take hours to master. By the makers of Ico, another classic PS2 game, Shadow of the Colossus takes place in the same world.

Graphically this game is stunning. The detail on the landscape, and the washed out but realistic earth tones is incredible. The movements of the horse and his master, and the colossi are excellently modelled, and each is imbued with a unique character. Agro, the horse, definitely has his own personality expressed in movement and reaction and acts as a companion in the desolate landscape, as well as transport. The sound fits the game and the voice acting (in the language made up for Ico) expresses emotions accurately. The game is subtitled throughout and this creates a slightly foreign feeling which works for the game.

The other overwhelming feeling in the game is solitude. Wanderer and Agro are virtually the only living things in the landscape, certainly the only people, and it shows. The quests to locate and kill each colossus take progressively longer, giving you a view of a range of desolate terrain and an increasing awareness of being utterly alone.

As befits their name, the colossi are huge. The entire game revolves around their design, and each presents new and unique challenges. The attention to detail in their build is incredible, and the sense of threat they present is very real. The first monster you encounter is entirely stunning in scale and design, its foot filling the entire screen.

The gameplay revolves around locating each colossus, then climbing and manoveruing around it to find its weak points and eventually slay it. The display on the screen is very simple - a grip meter that shows how long you can hold on for, and a health bar. If you run out of grip you will fall, which can be a long drop. Wanderer is equipped with a sword, bow and his trusty steed Agro, and will need to choose the best way to defeat each monster. Locating the colossus purely by reflected sunlight takes time and can be rather difficult - without Agro it would take hours to cover that amount of ground.

Replay value is high, as there are a few subgames in the game which players must discover for themselves. Completing the game unlocks varies modes, new equipment and new challenges, for example Time trial, or the sword from Ico. These modes add additional challenges to defeating each colossus and may require completely new approaches.

The background story is sparsely shown throughout the game, in three short clips, and then the game kicks back to defeating the Colossi. In practice the game's story is more about Wanderer alone in the barren landscape than about the background and cut sequences. The ending is touching and rather sad, but also slightly confusing, unless you are familiar with Ico.

Overall this is an excellent game. It is unique in concept and graphic design and has a stunning look and feel. However it may not be suitable for those looking for a quick or easy game, nor for people without patience (it can take over 30 minutes to track down a colossus). It also requires precise positioning, and several parts of the story may be distressing for younger gamers (I found one decidedly upsetting and I am not that young). However for older gamers, graphic art fans, or those looking for a unique game this is definitely worth playing. It has been out for a while and may be available on budget or pre-owned. If so, it is definitely worth getting.

Tech Demo 2002 Video "Nico"

The followup to "ICO" was announced, and the first released video example was this trailer in 2002.

Featuring a prototype colossus that doesn't appear in the game, the characters hunting it reused Ico sprites, including a boy with a red cape and horns, leading some to believe the game would be a sequel starring the titular hero of Ico.

Secrets and Hidden areas

What is there to do in a dead and barren land?

The game leaves Wander in a barren landscape, his only companion Agro, the faithful horse, and his only enemies the sixteen giant colossus who stand between him and his goal of resurrecting his lost love.

However, the landscape is vast enough to contain many hidden secrets. Hawks wheel above and other creatures and areas can be found if you explore. Of course, given the size of the landscape this will take some time, but here's a video of one such trick to get you started.

Hawk Grab

More options and hidden extras

Completing the game unlocks other modes and options:

  • changing agro's colour
  • timed runs
  • a hidden garden
  • challenge mode

and more. There are hundreds of extras that you can find, but only if you take the time to explore. You can find ways to improve your skills, grip, and climbing, to explore new areas of the game in each play through.

Even now, ten years since it was released, a small group of gamers are trying to find if there is one last big secret...

Shadow of the Colossus Art Book

Shadow of the Colossus Official Artbook

$49.98  $47.0

View on Amazon

Unused Colossus

Originally they wanted 48 colossus, but this wasn't practical so they reduced it to 24. In the final game there are sixteen, but if you have the art-book, the extra eight colossus are detailed.

Or you can go to the wiki, here:

The Trilogy?

Ueda's planned games

ICO was the first, a game with a unique look and feel. An eight-year-old boy, left to die, rescuing a girl as they attempt to escape the castle of the dark queen. With no health bar, no screen furniture and no combat system, this was driven entirely by story, character and gameplay, and it was beautiful.

Shadow of the Colossus was the follow-up, with the same gorgeous art style and uniquely simply game play. In its crudest form this could be seen as sixteen boss battles, but the exploration, mysterious background and the sheer size of the environment you can explore makes it far more than that.

There is one further game in the three, which has not been released.

The Last Guardian is the story of a boy, chased by by mercenaries who befriends a giant griffin. The concept art and trailers released are fantastic, but the game has been stuck in development hell at Sony for many years.   


Strategy guides

Where to get help

The game, like all the best, is fairly simple to learn and takes forever to master. If you need help (or simply like looking at pictures of colossus) Amazon has the official strategy guide to the game. There are also free guides on gamefaqs.

Shadow of the Colossus Official Strategy Guide

BradyGames’ Shadow of the Colossus Official Strategy Guide includes the following: A complete walkthrough of each Colossi mission. Extensive area maps of the ancient land. Detai...

View on Amazon

Comments from the old Guestbook

This lens has migrated from Hubpages

Freewillfirebox 3 years ago

I love this game! It was so different, and thats what I needed. It's more of an experience than a game. EVERYONE NEEDS TO BUY IT.

filmic profile image

filmic 3 years ago

Very informative stuff. I've never played this one.

Updated: 01/22/2015, tirial
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


Only logged-in users are allowed to comment. Login

You might also like

Will Australian Law-Makers Spin Trouble for Jagex?

The controversial Squeal of Fortune may soon become a thing of the past, if a...

Here There Be Dragons: My Afternoon at Jagex Studios

On April 27th 2012, I was invited to look behind the scenes in Player Support...

Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...