infestedandy's Wander to Kyozou (PlayStation 2) review

One of the most original and innovative games of all time.

           Original titles are rarely found in the game world anymore. Like movies, games tend to create sequels and spin-offs of successful franchises such as “Halo” or “Dynasty Warriors.” Simply, companies may find it too risky to develop something brand new and out of context.  Enter “Shadow of the Colossus.” Not only does this title shatter the very boundaries of originality, but it provides one of the most exhilarating adventures ever created.

            Developed by the brilliant minds of Sony Computer Entertainment, “Shadow of the Colossus” begins its tale in a forgotten land. The hero of this tale bears no name, but is deeply scarred by the death of a young lady who also remains nameless. On a hopeless crusade, the hero takes her body to this lost place and makes a seemingly impossible deal with a great spirit who dwells there. The task; find and destroy the 16 immense and ancient Colossi who wander the land. The reward; a small chance that this spirit will be able to resurrect the body of the woman.

            First and foremost, “Shadow of the Colossus” is one of the best games on the PlayStation 2, check that, any console to date. The whole idea behind the game is simple yet incredibly intriguing. Kill the 16 Colossi so that the spirit may revive the woman. And from the get-go, you are thrust into this emotional yet problematic dilemma. But the fact of the matter is, you don’t know much of anything. Where exactly are you? What are the Colossi? Why is this guy doing this? All these questions are left for you to decipher, which may trouble some gamers who expect the story to be told to them. But realize that this is one of the features that separates “Shadow of the Colossus” from the rest. Sure, this type of storytelling leaves you a little lost, but it truly envelopes you in a veil of shadow and mystery that leaves you wanting more.

            Graphically, “Shadow of the Colossus” is of the finest. Crisp as it is detailed and beautiful, the art as a whole is truly something to marvel at. Traversing through almost every environment imaginable, you will witness everything from lush forests to vast deserts. Not to mention, each and every Colossus you will encounter yields a unique art style that is a wonder to behold. Whether it be a single blade of grass or a strand of flowing hair, there is nothing that fails to take your breath away.

            The combat system implemented in the game, while basic, is surprisingly gripping. Each Colossus you face is like a different puzzle. The fight can only go a certain direction, but you need to find a way to actually get on and climb the gigantic beast in order to get to its vital areas. It is especially enthralling when you finally get onto a Colossus and watch as it begins to flail and tries to throw you off. But once you’re on, it is one of the most adrenaline-filled moments you will experience in any game, especially when you bring the Colossus to its knees.

            The score of “Shadow of the Colossus” is among the best of gaming. Running about the barren land, the music is almost dead silent as you look for your next target. It really establishes the gravity of the situation, that you are alone in a enormous world faced with an impossible task. Yet, as you encounter Colossi, the music flows and changes depending on your progress toward each kill.

            Art, story, game-play, visuals, Sony has done an all around incredible job. At $20, no gamer anywhere has an excuse not to purchase this beautiful masterpiece. “Shadow of the Colossus” is not only one of the most original games created, but it is the definitive image of the perfect adventure game.
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