The Definitive Ranking of Colossi

For almost two months, my Nintendo Switch ruled my gaming life with a string of charming Indies and some nice ports. While these games made for some fun late night adventures, I found myself searching for a gaming experience that felt much more grand and truly epic. As a result, I decided it was finally time to try out the recently released remake of one of the most adored games of all time, Shadow of the Colossus.

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Oh yeah. This is gonna be awesome.

From the second I lifted my ancient sword to guide me toward the first mammoth beast I was to slay, I knew my wish for something truly remarkable was going to be granted. Each creature was magnificent and the challenges seemed daunting but never insurmountable. Over the course of a week, I felled each increasingly elaborate behemoth, while bonding further with my faithful steed, Agro, and growing ever closer to resurrecting the poor maiden, Mono, no matter the cost.

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The decent photo mode allowed me to truly capture my angst over Mono’s death

It should be noted that not all is perfect in Shadow of the Colossus, as the controls and camera can sometimes be more deadly than the colossi you are hunting, but these are minor quibbles compared to the wonderful payoffs the game repeatedly gives you. In the end, I found myself in awe of what had just transpired. Sure there was a fresh coat of paint on this 13-year-old game, but the scale and innovation behind the storytelling and central giant slaying mechanic were still incredibly striking. I cannot even imagine how much people’s minds must have been blown by its majesty in 2005.

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One day I will make a game that is just beautiful waterfalls

While I won’t get into any major spoilers as the story is one that deserves to be experienced, I will now present some mild spoilers with my official rankings of each of the 16 colossi.

16) Colossus 9

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Time:  4:15
Difficulty: 7/10
Frustration: 10/10
Coolness: 4/10

This slow turtle-like creature was far and away my least favorite beast. The tactic to beat him was obvious, but actually getting the tortoise to stand atop one of the conveniently placed geysers that could knock it over was easily the most frustrating task I encountered.

15) Colossus 14

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Time:  14:28
Difficulty: 7/10
Frustration: 9/10
Coolness: 1/10

What a let down right as the game was hitting the final stretch. It’s basically Colossus 11 but a little more like a dog. Aside from the lack of creativity, this one is also hurt by how lengthy of a process it is to remove the exoskeleton armor making an already lackluster entry annoyingly long.

14) Colossus 12

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Time:  17:12
Difficulty: 4/10
Frustration: 7/10
Coolness: 7/10

On the surface, this colossus is a fairly inspired idea. You have to use the weird decaying glowing teeth to guide the colossus to towers where you can trick it into revealing its stomach-side weakness. Unfortunately, poor control over hitting the teeth and a weak point that was easy to miss meant this one did not live up to its strong potential.

13) Colossus 2

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Time:  9:05
Difficulty: 3/10
Frustration: 2/10
Coolness: 5/10

This one puts up a little more of a fight than your first encounter thanks to some stomping, and having to target the bottom of the feet was a nice touch. Still this represented a relatively minor blip in the journey that is only this high because it didn’t make me want to rip my hair out.

12) Colossus 3

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Time:  11:49
Difficulty: 3/10
Frustration: 3/10
Coolness: 6/10

Now things are starting to get interesting. This one has a giant club to swing at you which is also the key to making your way up to its weak point. It also doesn’t hurt that it looks like a colossus mated with the Iron Giant.

11) Colossus 8

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Time:  7:51
Difficulty: 6/10
Frustration: 5/10
Coolness: 5/10

I had no idea that this colossus spewed out a poisonous cloud, but i quickly learned  this fun fact after a rapid death. The lizard-like colossus was not overly extraordinary on its own, but the tower-based level gives it a slight edge over the competition.

10) Colossus 4

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Time:  9:10
Difficulty: 4/10
Frustration: 3/10
Coolness: 6/10

Now you see me. Now you don’t. This was a welcome little changeup by being the first monster requiring deception to beat. The underground maze was a nice touch that made you feel both safe and unsettled at the same time.

09) Colossus 11

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Time:  10:10
Difficulty: 4/10
Frustration: 6/10
Coolness: 7/10

At first this bull almost seemed impossible to beat, as I was repeatedly knocked over while trying to spot its weak-point. Having it be scared of fire was a nice addition of personality and innocence to this seemingly rage-filled creature. This battle reached a fantastic crescendo when I executed a perfect jump off my perch onto the stunned beast far below.

08) Colossus 1

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Time:  2:38
Difficulty: 1/10
Frustration: 0/10
Coolness: 5/10

I was immediately in awe of the shear size of the first of the colossi. This one was a gentle giant though and did nothing to stop me from climbing him making its demise seem all the more violent and jarring. This was a perfect introduction to both the central conflict of the journey and the mechanics you need to develop to take on the remaining beasts.

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07) Colossus 7

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Time:  10:44
Difficulty: 5/10
Frustration: 5/10
Coolness: 7/10

This aquatic colossus was the first time I suffered a loss in the game. You have to carefully time your runs up its back while avoiding being electrocuted. Having to plan your movements in between being dragged underwater really upped the tension and stakes to help this colossus reach the top half of the list.

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06) Colossus 6

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Time:  11:42
Difficulty: 4/10
Frustration: 3/10
Coolness: 8/10

The sixth colossus is a cautionary tale on letting your beard go wild. This fun game of hide and seek led to another easily overpowered foe once you climb past all the walls in your way.

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05) Colossus 10

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Time:  9:19
Difficulty: 5/10
Frustration: 6/10
Coolness: 8/10

This frenzied sand worm experience allows you to fulfill all your wildest Dune or Tremors dreams. More importantly, it provided a great learning experience for firing your bow on horseback that would prove even more valuable in our next entry.

04) Colossus 13

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Time:  18:14
Difficulty: 5/10
Frustration: 5/10
Coolness: 8/10

This battle has it all – horseback riding, archery, flying, and weird sacks. I never felt like more of a badass than when I successfully took out all three sack clusters with three consecutive shots proving that I had acquired the necessary skills to finish the final quarter of the game.

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03) Colossus 16

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Time:  21:45
Difficulty: 9/10
Frustration: 7/10
Coolness: 10/10

The final colossus was worthy of closing out my adventure. I felt like I was in the midst of a bombing run in a major war at the start, and that transitioned beautifully to the epic scaling of this skyscraper-sized foe. If not for some minor squabbles with falling down a few levels too easily, this may have made it into the top two.

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02) Colossus 15

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Time:  9:11
Difficulty: 4/10
Frustration: 2/10
Coolness: 9/10

What a fantastic entrance. I almost got chills watching those giant paws reaching up toward me as this sword-wielding King Kong emerged. By requiring you to fully utilize your environment, this colossus proved there was more to it than just its very hairy looks.

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01) Colossus 5

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Time:  14:06
Difficulty: 4/10
Frustration: 2/10
Coolness: 10/10

Soaring through the air atop this flying creature was the height of everything this game promised. I almost wish that it had appeared later than fifth because it was unfair that the next 11 all had to be compared to it. No matter how hard they tried, they would all fail to inspire the same sense of wonder in me that this doomed bird managed.

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