5. Shadow of the Colossus
SCEI | SCEA | 2005
In theory, this was just a third-person action game - but the fact that it was all boss battles against gigantic leviathans, strung together by a heartbreaking plot makes it a must-play
What made it so great?
Some games are games. Others are experiences, and few games demonstrate this better than Shadow of the Colossus. It's drenched in melancholy atmosphere, from the sparse, mournful soundtrack to the muted color palette, and expertly intersperses moments of heartbreaking tenderness among some of the most titanic boss battles ever conceived.
Your opponents in Shadow aren't men - they're mountains, megalithic beasts often the size of skyscrapers that must be climbed onto and navigated before they can be slain. This makes the unique action all the more epic, and constantly magnifies the fact that you are one small man, with only a sword, a bow and arrows, and a loyal horse, fighting impossible odds to kill the seemingly unkillable. Why risk your very life without so much as a second thought? For love, of course. Why else?
Get ready to play
Shadow of the Colossus really isn't like any other game, because in most cases, the colossus itself is the level. Plan for long, drawn out battles in which you must first locate the monster's weak spot (your sword will reflect the light toward it), then find a way to climb up the critter until you get to that spot, then hang on for dear life as you shove your sword into it 'til it sprays black ochre. Then you find another beast.
Been there, done that?
While RAD - Robot Alchemic Drive lacks the emotional impact of Shadow of the Colossus, this obscure, ultra-niche giant robot fighting game delivers a similar sense of scale. It also used the analog sticks to throw punches long before any boxing games thought of it.