Shadow of the Colossus is one of the most brilliant games to date. Graphics, sound and gameplay are outstanding, and those that say there was no storyline unfortunately didn't get it. It's varied messages are powerful, as it transcends typical good and evil, or saving the princess plot.
What we see is the hero, alone with his horse and a body of a woman. He comes to a land where no humans live, but are guarded by large creatures, some the size of 12 story buildings. The woman is somehow cursed, and he is here to resurrect her. For the first and second parts of the game, we are told very little, focusing on the protagonist and his enemy. But is his enemy evil, or is the character that we play there for his own greed, killing these wonders? Is he here for something much bigger than him? We don't know until the very end, and when it comes, it's much more surprising than anything you could have ever imagined. There will be a divergence of thought as to the how and why.
And don't get me started on that horse. Agro is Wander's (our hero) horse, and he is simply amazing. He is big, he is fast, and is the single most agreeable, naturally acting animal I have ever seen in a video game. And I don't even like horses. There is something near the end that Agro does with Wander that will stay with you forever. It's an awe inspiring scene, though a bit sad.
I'm not going to ruin anything for you. If you consider yourself a gamer, or even a passing one, and you want to see how far a game can go without a machine gun, space marines, and thousands of characters ad nauseum this is the perfect game. IT does require a bit of thought on your part. The story is not handed to you in a neat little package Hollywood style. Ico was the game that came out before this, and it was told with a minimalist style, much like this one. There are echos of the bible, such as a forbidden land, the possible voice of (a) god, life after death, & prayer. You are welcome to interpret several ideas and story events, but you will be handsomely rewarded if you pay attention to small details.
SOTC received over 17 awards, including Best Character Design, Best Game Design, Best Visual Arts and Game of the Year. The music also received awards and recognition, and remember Agro? He got "the best sidekick in the history of video games". I wasn't kidding you about him.
I don't know how many times I should say it. This game changed the way I view games as a whole. Consequences to my actions, forcing me to make me think about what I'm doing, making me feel more in touch with the character(s) I see on the screen, & giving me unique perspectives on situations that go well beyond a typical story line is not what I expected, but that's what I got. If you play this with your child, (as I did) expect some pretty incredible discussions, if you let it.