Shadow of the Colossus

Game review by
Chris Jozefowicz, Common Sense Media
Shadow of the Colossus Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Dark, brooding masterpiece is best for teens.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 20 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

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.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byDave W. February 26, 2021

Brilliant and harrowing

Beautiful and serene to ride through, then harrowing platform-like puzzles which are perfectly scaled. Most of the game is PG, scaling and stabbing ancient movi... Continue reading
Adult Written byYogiBear93 May 3, 2012

Great experience for gamers who are old enough to understand the themes involved

I think that this game is totally amazing. The game revolves around killing the Colossi but thatis only part of the experience. When playing this game a player... Continue reading
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 hors... Continue reading
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 th... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

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