Universal acclaim - based on 77 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 76 out of 77
  2. Negative: 0 out of 77
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  1. These battles are INSPIRED. Seriously. Take your favorite boss fight from each of your favorite games, and imagine them mashed together into one incredibly breathtaking environment that requires you to think, explore, and ultimately act.
  2. 100
    It’s a masterfully understated, beautifully simple, engrossing ride that's as palpitatingly thrilling as it is serenely calming. It's also one of the most consistently compelling and memorable games we've ever played (or witnessed, for that matter).
  3. Long stretches of riding across deserted, yet gorgeous, environments, punctuated by moments of sheer, adrenaline-pumping terror. The shockingly realistic animations (especially for your horse and the colossi), vast, streaming landscape, stirring soundtrack, and wistful story all combine with the game’s minimalist gameplay to create a videogame experience unlike any other.
  4. AceGamez
    A very important game that shows original concepts can reign supreme - it takes video gaming to a higher form of art that is rarely seen anymore and leaves most other games in its very large shadow.
  5. My first time through the game was the best eight hours of gameplay I've experienced in years, and it's game's only gotten better with subsequent playthroughs.
  6. Simply put, this game is so brilliant that it ought to be fined. Created by the same team responsible for 2001's critically acclaimed "Ico," it follows a similar sort of theme and demands even more sentimental investiture than its predecessor did. Its elegant simplicity, its beauty, its unbelievable capacity to draw you in are without peer. I have never played a game like Shadow of the Colossus, because there are no games like it.
  7. The first glimpse of a mighty colossus in this breathtaking adventure is awe-inspiring. Their size, fearsome power, deafening roars and otherworldly looks are both terrifying and fascinating.
  8. 100
    If Shadow Of The Colossus were a movie, it's pretty clear that it'd be Orson Welles' best known work, "Citizen Kane." Not that it's in black and white -- although it's not the most colourful of titles -- but simply because it's a masterpiece of a game in terms of artistic direction and scope.
  9. Shadow of the Colossus, like ICO before it, is in a class unto itself.
  10. This game is a true masterpiece, comparable to only a handful of incredible games...The gamer who has the patience and courage to plunge into the game will, without a doubt, find a truly wonderful experience, of such impact that it will live in his or her memory forever.
  11. 97
    A true masterpiece in terms of art direction and, dare I say, cinematography. From the fights with the colossi to exploring the world to basically just standing back and letting it all soak in, Shadow of the Colossus is an amazing experience and an absolute must-have title.
  12. I can’t stress how many risks needed to be taken to make a title like this, but it is extremely successful at every single one. If you own a PS2, you owe it to yourself to get this title.
  13. A fantastic adventure that really draws the player into an emotional story with dramatic gameplay. The colossi battles are the greatest 16 boss battles you’ll ever play, and the later colossi really test your wits and patience.
  14. Groundbreaking camera system, amazing soundtrack, perfect visuals, and controls that are unique but obviously from the developers of "ICO." The technology that makes it all come together is baffling.
  15. Exquisite, peerless, and redefining video games as we know it.
  16. Nothing like this has ever been played before, and like a true classic will probably never be reproduced. Even if a player finds the gameplay uninteresting, or if the lack of anything other then sixteen boss fights makes them uncomfortable, this game can still be enjoyed for the art direction alone.
  17. It will enrich your world, a studio offering a small postcard of an old master amongst a sea of others providing painting by numbers.
  18. 95
    It's a game that dares you to exhilarate while hammering you with consequence. In short, Shadow of the Colossus breaks storytelling barriers none of us knew existed. It's the rare game for which the often overused words "ground-breaking" were truly reserved for, and it's enough to make you regret every stupid coin you ever collected.
  19. PSM Magazine
    Bottom Line: if you care enough about games to read this magazine, you owe it to yourself to play Shadow of the Colossus. [Dec 2005, p.96]
  20. 95
    Slaying these giants provided us with some of the most gratifying moments of our entire lives.
  21. 95
    A brilliant Playstation 2 title that not only defines itself as being a definitive gaming experience, but also serves to exemplify how video games can also be representative of great works of art.
  22. A sprawling fantasy masterpiece that needs to be experienced to be appreciated.
  23. A brilliant title that takes the best aspects of platforming, puzzle solving and larger than life battles packed into a single epic.
  24. The true colossus here is the game itself – it just raises the bar for everything that follows to a stratospheric level.
  25. 95
    Shadow of the Colossus is one of those games that have to be experienced and has something that most games lack, originality.
  26. The game’s aural presentation is equally splendid. The voice acting is amazing; it often times uses a fictional language that enhances the game’s dreamy atmosphere.
  27. I sat in awe every time I went into battle because the colossi were so cool.
  28. At heart, Shadow of the Colossus seems to me a bit like the work of a Transcendentalist in that it begs us to examine the world the hero lives in and leaves us unsure of whether we made the correct choice in our interactions with nature.
  29. It will likely give you goosebumps with its cinematics and rousing musical score, and it often amazes with the excellent sense of size.
  30. Pelit (Finland)
    A clever action-adventure. The huge climbable colossi are interesting enemies and they look magnificent. [Feb 2006]
  31. The tense and exhilarating action is broken up perfectly by moments of true serenity that really make the world feel more real, even if it is "emptier" than what most gamers are used to.
  32. With a simple interface, very very light narrative, and some of the best boss fighting I’ve ever seen, I loved Shadow of the Colossus.
  33. If you have a PS2 and don’t purchase and play both ICO and "Shadow of the Colossus," you’ll have done the gaming equivalent of going to a five-star restaurant and only eating breadsticks. It’s essential stuff.
  34. 92
    To put it simply - Shadow of the Colossus is a unique experience, that no one should be unlucky enough to miss.
  35. Shadow of the Colossus puts its money where its mouth is, providing unrivaled boss fights in an uncommonly realized world. You won’t find moments like these anywhere else, and its few mechanical problems do little to bring down this absolute goliath of a game.
  36. Visually, SOTC is all about the artistic flair and presentation. The same wispy, dreamlike style present in ICO returns, but with more Aztec/Incan influence in both the main character's attire and the way the Colossi appear.
  37. Not as perfect as Ico, but one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking and imaginative experiences on PS2 which deserves to be played by everyone who loves games. [PSM2]
  38. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    If you can appreciate artistry in games, if you hanker for an experience that transcends genre, if you want to see what happens when a creative design team is allowed to ignore sales numbers and flavor-of-the-month trends, by all means bring yourself into Shadow's world. [Oct 2005, p.98]
  39. 90
    Original, gripping, and outstandingly produced, Shadow of the Colossus is not to be missed.
  40. 90
    The odds of Sony dropping a first-party title better than this for the rest of the year are slimmer than a supermodel on the Atkins diet.
  41. Pinch me, I'm dreaming. I think I've just played the perfect videogame. Director Fumito Ueda's vision is extraordinary thus making Shadow of the Colossus one of the most unique experiences I have ever had the pleasure of undertaking.
  42. 90
    As a genre bending title that straddles the divisions between action, fantasy, adventure and puzzle games, Shadow of the Colossus pulls off a titanic feat by creating an immersive and highly entertaining experience that doesn't collapse under the significant weight of its own lofty ambitions.
  43. Play Magazine
    It is a game of tremendous emotion, of sadness and exhilaration, tragedy and wonder. [Nov p.80]
  44. The presentation itself is stunning, but it's the battles with the colossi themselves, in which no two are the same, that will make your journey that much more breathtaking.
  45. Technical hurdles keep the game from being as fluid and immersive as Ico was, but it's still a triumph of game design that ten years from now will still be recalled fondly. This is a game for everyone, and everyone needs to buy it. Now.
  46. 90
    The towering giants aren’t the meat of the experience – it’s the beguiling landscape which proves itself to be the biggest colossi of them all. Sprawling, mystical and dream-like, it can never quite be laid to rest or overcome.
  47. netjak
    It is a game unlike any other game out there, a truly unique and special experience. It blows ICO away in pretty much every aspect (technically, ICO's controls were better), for those of you considering this game on ICO's merits.
  48. Everything that an epic adventure needs to be. Memorable enemies, a story that allows the player to use their imagination, tight controls, and one of the most impressive soundtracks of recent note.
  49. Despite its problems, this is an excellent example of innovation. The sheer size and scale of the adventure alone make this title worthwhile.
  50. Computer Games Magazine
    it just goes to show that not every game has to be an 80-hour sandbox of something for everyone. [Dec p.87]
  51. Just when you thought it was safe to store that PS2 away, Sony presents an absolute gem of an action game with genuinely jaw-dropping visuals.
  52. SOTC must be played to be enjoyed to it’s fullest as the compelling storyline and moving music will instantly hook the gamer to explore it’s depths completely.
  53. It manages to enlarge its scope from being something which entertains on a functional level to becoming something that emits enchantment and appreciation on a purely 'emotional' level.
  54. A brilliant concept that's perfectly executed, resulting in a must-play game.
  55. games(TM)
    It’s achingly beautiful, deeply involving and as breathtaking to watch as it is to play. [Christmas 2005, p.90]
  56. 90
    As a signpost to the potentially thrilling future of videogaming and an experience like no other title before it, it's almost unquestionably a ten.
  57. It's a game that'll remind you why you got into games in the first place. Essential. [PSW]
  58. Unique, visually stunning and utterly involving.
  59. But if you really want something different and meaningful, you must play this. You will remember some of these battles for the rest of your gaming life, and you may never play another game that blends art and action this seamlessly.
  60. Official Playstation 2 Magazine UK
    Huge and beautiful, but hopefully not as doomed as its beasts, Colossus deserves to sell ten times what "Ico" did. [Jan 2006, p.94]
  61. Overall, Shadow of the Colossus is equal parts puzzle and action. Figuring out how to defeat each Colossus is as rewarding, if not more rewarding, than actually defeating the beast itself. This is a gaming masterpiece.
  62. A superb game, one that surpasses "ICO," and no one should allow their eye to skip over it at their local game retailer.
  63. Game Informer
    A truly unique experience that inspires emotions in a way few games can. It has its share of problems, but I love it just the same. [Oct 2005, p.130]
  64. It's unlike anything else you've ever played, and so you may love it or you may hate it. Count me firmly in the "love" boat. [Nov 2005, p.142]
  65. Shadow of the Colossus is experienced as much as it is played.
  66. The game's fighting and pacing are in stark contrast to those of typical action games, but with a little patience and a taste for high-concept adventure, you'll find an experience here that's unlike any other.
  67. Shadow of the Colossus is a spectacular game for the PlayStation 2 with splendid visuals, a great artistic atmosphere, a unique horse mechanic, and magnificent, towering colossi – but it’s limited by the power of an aging system.
  68. While Shadow of the Colossus may not have the best ever PS2 graphics, what it does have is pretty pleasing.
  69. It is however obvious that the life cycle of the PS2 has just about reached its peak, and new hardware is desperately needed to avoid the kind of framerate and texture quality issues glaringly present in this title.
  70. A great experience but it almost seems like a niche title for those who really like boss fights. As for me, boss fights are generally the least enjoyable part of a title for me.
  71. 80
    Technically underwhelming yet artistically stunning, what Shadow of the Colossus manages to achieve is remarkable. Not only is it an engrossing, very playable game, it delivers a thunderous emotional punch with only a handful of characters.
  72. Edge Magazine
    There’s not much that can be said about Shadow Of The Colossus. Not because there aren’t pages to be written about the designs of the colossi, the wisdom of some of the puzzles involved in defeating them, or the deliberately ambiguous implications of the story, but because this is a game with so little content that to discuss specifics would be to tarnish an experience that needs to be approached with as few preconceptions as possible. [Christmas 2005, p.98]
  73. Much like "ICO," Shadow of the Colossus simply defies categorisation and is simply an experience unlike any other. It manages to evoke emotion and create an attachment to the player unlike any other videogame I can remember.
  74. While the game lacks a sense of purpose, the battles themselves are incredible, each distinct and imaginative, requiring a mix of wit and muscle. They can also be remarkably difficult.
  75. In the end, it's like a great looking but uncomfortable pair of shoes; you hope you can break them in and get used to the pain, but after living with them for a week or two you realize it won't get any better.
  76. It’s a beautiful game with a unique concept, but its deeply flawed execution and almost complete lack of a story make it far less appealing than "ICO."
  77. Shadow of the Colossus has more style than real substance and it is slightly baffling why Fumito Ueda, the game's creator, didn't develop this into something a little more Zelda-esque in order to make best use of the world he has created. He might have had a classic on his hands.

Awards & Rankings

#3 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2005
#3 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2005
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 1422 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Steve
    Jan 28, 2010
    Shadow of the Colossus is a masterpiece. The art direction, story, and characters are amazing. This game is the best to be released on any Shadow of the Colossus is a masterpiece. The art direction, story, and characters are amazing. This game is the best to be released on any previous generation console. Full Review »
  2. Aug 27, 2010
    This is probably one of the most amazing games I've played, for a ps2 the scale and graphics are amazing. And the story line is superb, theThis is probably one of the most amazing games I've played, for a ps2 the scale and graphics are amazing. And the story line is superb, the reason why some people don't like this game is because its "not to date". Y a its from 2005 its 5 years old the graphics weren't that great. The boss fights are different from any other game I've played is a must have for adventure action fans. Also some people didn't give this a good score because their dumb and didn't bother to play the whole way though and stopped at the second colossi. Full Review »
  3. Sep 23, 2010
    Maybe you have to look at it differently than I did, but to me this game was nothing more than an above-average puzzle-platformer. I applaudMaybe you have to look at it differently than I did, but to me this game was nothing more than an above-average puzzle-platformer. I applaud Team ICO for the attempt, but this was hardly as great as everyone makes it out to be. Full Review »