Why Shadow Of The Colossus Reigns Supreme Over The Hearts Of All RPG Enjoyers

Team ICO focused on delivering a masterpiece for a lifetime, and that's exactly how things turned out to be.

An RPG masterpiece
Source: Project Longplay, YouTube

A game that has remained an engrossing title for millions of players since the era of PlayStation 2 means that it has hardly received any competition. Shadow of the Colossus still appears as a relevant title in the RPG genre despite being abandoned for future development.

Key Takeaways

  • The game’s innovative design was ahead of its time.
  • The architectural work, animations, and gameplay dynamic is commendable even to this day.
  • Shadow of the Colossus demonstrates the game structure that compliments on players’ progression.
  • The overall gameplay offers limited features, kept only to fighting and exploring.
  • However, these features exhibit an immense attention to even a slightest detail.

In my experience, the 2005 version of the game seemingly appeared as an ideal open-world RPG. It held the most stirring gameplay elements that no RPG could carry at that time.

What grieves me most is that developers have no intentions of creating a sequel to this splendid masterpiece title.

Open-World Design That Provokes One’s Inquisitiveness

Source: Time Madone, YouTube

Shadow of the Colossus has many compelling open-world features that force the players to explore their surroundings openly. It is a far-reaching, vast land that comprises thought-provoking architecture and humungous beasts to tackle. The calm, soothing walk amidst the silent hills and trees flawlessly gave me a distinctive RPG and open-world experience.

Exploration is a major aspect for anyone who has played Shadow of the Colossus. The game has distributed Colossi in almost every corner of the enormous map. However, some sites remain unused that were purposely added by Team ICO to entertain the curiosity of the players.

Officially, the game comprises 16 of the Colossi. However, it appears that this was not the developers’ intention, as the number was higher initially. The official Art Book of the game contains some monster designs that are nowhere to be seen in the gameplay.

Much more to that, every explorable area on the map exhibits innovative architectural work that is just breathtaking to gaze at. The ruins, structures, and temples appear in such a state as if they narrate their own story.

By the time Shadow of the Colossus was released, it was rare to experience a game that would create such an interactive environment.

Latching on to a hawk to glide for fun, grabbing a fish’s tail to swim across a lake, or observing a responsive interaction between monsters and their surroundings were seemingly impressive for anyone to experience.

Overall, the innovative game design focuses on two major aspects: Boss fights and exploration. Following this, having only bosses to tackle might sound like a straightforward gameplay structure. However, this one game’s feature has so much to unravel.

Fighting Each Colossus Is A New Adventure To Witness

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How the game tests your mettle in an intense chase-down scenario and how it challenges your quick-thinking ability are the traits I still admire to this day.

Defeating a Colossus would require you to analyze the surroundings strictly. Whether to lure it into a trap or to gain the advantage of the structures around you, the game never fails to amuse the players to think of new approachable methods to emerge victorious.

Surprises lie in every new encounter with the next target. No repetition in boss fights or stage design can be observed, which, unfortunately, is still a major concern in most of today’s RPG titles.

Plus, the animation work was astounding for the character and the Colossi. The response of a Colossus to the player’s movement created a lively overhaul.

One of the gameplay’s most captivating features is encouraging the player to explore. As exploration is a vital aspect of the game, I believe this well-coordinated game design is the most noticeable reason why Shadow of the Colossus has remained an unmatched title in the RPG genre.

OSTs That Perfectly Align With Player’s Enthusiasm

Source: CaleoGaming, YouTube

Of course, for any Shadow of the Colossus fan, the soundtrack is the game’s most remarkable and memorable feature. Not only the quality but also how it fits with the suspense and thrill of the adventure.

The soundtrack compliments the players’ achievements and perfectly reads the ongoing situation. If you are exploring the far-reaching lands with a peaceful walk, you will experience the silence in the background that compliments your thoughtful venture under the basking in the glaring sun.

Furthermore, the perfectly timed kickoff of a cryptic soundtrack upon reaching Colossus’s hideout is commendable.

Engaging in a fight with a Colossus turns up the hype as the soundtrack shifts from cryptic to a thrilling and enticing combat scenario. How progressing in a battle by reaching for the vital marks of a Colossus through a tactical approach shifts the OST to pursue the outburst of thriving combat.

The game’s soundtrack responds relatively well to reaching an objective, which feels rewarding.

The first time I heard “The Opened Way” after countless attempts to decipher the weakness of a Colossus and being successful in it was an enduring moment. At that time, I realized that having rewardful gameplay doesn’t include having an abundance of unlockables to grind for. Instead, having a gameplay overhaul that respects your effort can be an exemplary game design.

The fact that Team ICO took this project to demonstrate a work of art is quite cherishable. The way the developers put effort into every tiny detail in the game shows their dedication to making this masterpiece.

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