9 Reasons Why Shadow Of The Colossus Is A Video Game Masterpiece

It's the Mona Lisa of gaming.

Shadow Of The Colossus
Team ICO

Often heralded as one of the single best video games of all time, Shadow of the Colossus is a masterfully crafted experience with genuine thought and care woven into every aspect of its existence, creating a game that not only shaped the modern video game landscape, but questioned certain storytelling ideals embedded in the medium.

However, if you haven’t played it, Shadow of the Colossus can be a confusing game to understand. Only sixteen enemies in the entire game, and most of the time you ride around an empty world? Explaining the draw and the detail poured into the game is somewhat impossible, and experiencing the game is the only surefire way to grasp the depth and complexity of why it’s a masterpiece.

With the upcoming release of The Last Guardian, there is no better time to look back on one of Video Games most influential and quintessential titles and what makes it the masterfully crafted game that it is. So, here are nine reasons why Shadow of the Colossus is a masterpiece and why it’s a must play classic.


9. The Moral Ambiguity

shadow of the colossus
Team ICO

The entire game is built around the central theme of the moral ambiguity of your actions. Everything in the game accentuates the feeling that you aren’t doing the right thing and are messing with powers beyond your control. From the world design, to bosses and even the base gameplay, the game wants you to question yourself and does everything to invoke that feeling.

Shadow of the Colossus pioneered the idea of a morally ambiguous character, blurring the lines between good and evil. Games up until that point were largely focused around inherent good and inherent evil, but Shadow of the Colossus merged those lines, with everything hinting - but never actually telling - that you’re the bad guy. Only in the end do you realise that you were manipulated, releasing a great evil upon the land in the process.

It's a masterfully crafted concept, with each Colossus planting the idea that you are robbing the world of a beautiful thing. Even if it is for your lost love, it really does make you doubt your actions. The game makes a point of playing with your emotions, showing affectionate cutscenes between protagonist Wander and the incapacitated Mono, alongside scenes of characters in the outside world saying what a terrible thing you’ve done.

For a game to spearhead and execute such a concept so expertly is a feat in itself - that uncertainty you feel while playing towards the end being one of most unique takeaways in gaming history.


I like video games, writing and writing about video games. Expect sarcasm and the dry wit of a Brit. And the occasional rant of a unhappy Scot. You know... the usual.