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Shadow Of The Colossus Review

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A gloriously creative experience that recalls the halcyon days of gaming.

★★★★★

Although the games industry has ballooned into a multi-million-dollar monster over the past 20 years, players of a certain age still wax poetic about the golden age of the Sinclair Spectrum and Commodore 64; a time of unbounded creativity — when developers weren’t limited by popular genres — that spawned idiosyncratic classics such as Skool Daze, Trashman and Frankie Goes To Hollywood. So, in offering players an experience unlike anything else, Shadow Of The Colossus feels like a step back to the halcyon days of gaming.

From the team behind 2001’s ICO, SOTC plays like a collection of the kind of ‘boss battles’ that traditionally bring videogame levels to a close, pitching you against enemies that tower like skyscrapers and require ever-more sly routines to bring them crashing to their knees.
Defeating each boss requires a blend of puzzle-solving and swashbuckling, players scaling the hulking beasts to search for the chinks in their armour, all the time being ready to grab hold when the monster starts thrashing about, or risk plummeting to the ground and being flattened under huge feet.

The peculiar action is brought to life by graphics that put most titles on the Xbox 360 to shame. Desolate wastelands and lonely vistas help create an overwhelming sense of solitude and isolation, setting SOTC apart from its peers and delivering a game that feels closer to an outright work of art than any other in recent memory.

A rousing orchestral score and poignant story also help make this a monumental piece of software. Even though it’s unlikely to shift half as many copies as the next FIFA Soccer, this quest should be cherished as a work of outstanding creativity.

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