Shadow of the Colossus



Dark, brooding masterpiece is best for teens.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable

The giants must be defeated by driving a sword into their bodies, which results in a gush of black blood. One character is also stabbed through the chest with a sword.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the main task of the game is killing 16 giants. While the giants look like they're made of stone, black blood shoots from their bodies when they're struck. One human character is killed by being impaled on a sword. While the violence is somewhat limited, players are likely to feel powerful emotions: both the thrill of the kill, and sympathy for their victims.

What's it about?

SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS casts players as Wander, a young man who ventures on horseback to a remote temple. He carries with him the body of a dead woman. He lays the woman on a stone altar and asks the spirit of the temple to restore her to life. The disembodied voice of the spirit responds that Wander has entered a forsaken land, but if he kills the 16 giant creatures that inhabit this land -- the colossi -- then the woman might be revived.

Once players find a colossus, they must take the giant monsters down using fighting skill and some puzzle-solving abilities. The main mission takes about 10 to 12 hours, and after that there is not a great deal of replay value. Finishing the game unlocks a higher difficulty setting and a time-trial mode to challenge players to defeat the colossi as fast as possible (players earn rewards such as special arrows and protective clothes for completing these extra tasks).

Is it any good?


One of the most remarkable things about the game is the way it takes what is arguably the greatest cliché of the action game genre ("Save the princess!") and uses it to subvert many of the conventions of that genre. Who is this woman, and how did she die? Why does the temple spirit say only that she might be revived? Such unsettled and unsettling thoughts create feelings of ambivalence about Wander's mission -- what exactly are players getting themselves into when they take control of Wander?

The sense of isolation in the beautiful but lonely landscape furthers the unease. Even in the colossus battles, the sense of triumph is undercut by a sadness that comes from destroying such awe-inspiring beasts. Players may be bothered by the slow frame rate, which can make play choppy, and by some awkward camera angles. Overall, though, this is a fascinating and unique game that evokes powerful emotions.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the role of violence in games. How is this game different than other action games you play? Do you prefer this game -- or mowing down hundreds of enemies? Which has more impact on you? Do you feel bad when killing these giants?

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 2
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date:October 19, 2005
ESRB rating:T for

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old June 9, 2010

Truly a masterpiece.

This is officially the most meaningful game I have played in my entire life. The main character's love for the girl, his beautiful friendship with his horse Agro. And a plot that leaves you guessing until it sums it all up at the very end. Though most kids will not appreciate the true beauty of this game. I certainly do. Without wishing to spoil anything for you, I can officially say that this is not a game. It is a piece of art. Lovely.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old June 21, 2014

powerful game with some violence.

Okay this game starts with beautiful and wonderful opening scene where are disparate hero riding his trusty horse arrow. The game starts when you met Dormain the spirt that tells you your quest. Wanda (are hero) wants to bring his maiden back to life after she sacrifices her soul to save a village or some thing like that. Any way the spirt tells you he'll bring back your sweetheart if you kill the 16 colossi holding back his power, Wanda disparately agrees. So you go and slay 16 mostly HUGE colossi. It's pretty obvious that Dormain is playing you for a fool, but what would you do in Wanda's position? It's games like this that challenge your morals and makes you feel like more than just a gamer. So as for the violence, the colossi do bleed when you hit there weak points, the blood looks more gasoline in a gaseous state. The colossus look more ape like than human, and some like, bulls, snakes, horses, loins, ext. ext. and there is one part were a man gets stabbed, but not out of your characters or the players free will.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old November 6, 2011

Great Game

It is a great game and I love riding the horse around (sadly my triangle button broke.). i love it but I never find the collosus and always find myself running in a huge circle.
What other families should know
Educational value
Too much violence


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