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It's very tempting to say "everything", but...

Beware unmarked spoilers.

Wander and his motives

  • Alas, Poor Villain: From Emon's perspective. Note how Emon prays for his atonement if he survived.
  • Designated Hero: For the fans who find his quest less-than-noble.
  • The Woobie: With the amount of things the guy goes through for love, a few players just wanted to give him a hug.

The Colossi

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Most of the Colossi aren't in any position to come attack you; they mostly just react to your attacks and your invasion of their personal space. So it's understandable that each and every one has a slow-motion (The Colossi fall slowly since they're so huge) death scene with haunting music and the whole bag, to drive in what you've just done. Phalanx in particular is absolutely stunning. It makes no attempt to acknowledge you, much less attack you, which makes you feel even worse when you give it the death blow.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Are they all just mindless beasts? Or are they aware of Wander's motives and actively attempting to stop him from releasing Dormin? Or are they, perhaps, attacking out of fear? (Celosia's behavior suggests that the Colossi are capable of feeling fear, as he backs away from a lit torch and may even sound a bit like he's whimpering.)
  • Anticlimax Boss: Malus can feel like this to some players expecting a more action-oriented finale. For one thing, Malus cannot harm you once you've passed the Death Course, almost qualifying as a Zero Effort Boss at this stage were it not for the fact that he can shake you off like any other colossus can.
    • Malus can shoot you, somehow, through his armor, but only when you're around his feet, and only sometimes after you try something pointless like shooting his ankle (as the arrows will just bounce off). There will also be the occasssional run where he'll put up one hell of a fight for his life to throw you off.
  • Best Boss Ever: Phalanx, pictured in the main page image, is practically the fan favorite. Other highlights include Gaius, Avion, and Phaedra.
  • Goddamned Boss: Considering that there are sixteen wildly variable boss battles to choose from, it's inevitable that some of them will end up as this. Occasionally, a Colossus is not tricky to defeat but it is a Marathon Boss and takes a long time to complete the strategy (Cenobia is a big offender here). The most notable ones, though, are:
    • Pelagia. One of the trickier Puzzle Boss battles, since getting it to expose its weak point requires a complicated bit of planning and experiment. This is also while said boss is shooting balls of lightning at you every now and then, and you're swimming awkwardly through the water with it. Doesn't really help that it's Nightmare Fuel/Paranoia Fuel either.
    • Dirge. Even if you realize quickly that you can shoot it in the eyes, doing it while sitting backwards on a horse is tricky. The target also might not appear before Dirge makes an aggressive dive, or Agro might have to make a turn and throw your aim off. Even worse if you're still struggling with Agro's controls by this stage.
    • Basaran, (though see That One Boss if you found it really hard). Unlike most other Colossi, the Colossus Climb is the easy bit. The really annoying bit is getting it to stand above a geyser in time to get thrown over. Even if you get it in the right position, the geyser may stop just before you have time to shoot its ankles, and by the time the geyser fires again, Basaran has usually moved on. It doesn't help that Basaran would rather shoot you than move closer. Oh, and the geyser has to be in just the right place or it won't work, even when logically it should have an effect.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Pelagia.
  • Paranoia Fuel
  • That One Boss: Basaran (if not Goddamned Boss), for the same reasons as stated there. For extra fun, try fighting it in Time Attack Mode - wherein Agro starts out standing a good ten feet away. See also Luck-Based Mission and Goddamned Boss.
  • Uncanny Valley: Part of what makes Pelagia so... different... from the other colossi is the fact that the movements of him is so very slightly off, which combined with the rest of the colossus, falls straight into this.

Everything else

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The game gives you only the barest hints of story and leaves the vast majority up to the player.
  • And the Fandom Rejoiced: In September 2010, Team ICO announced that they would be remaking Shadow, along with Ico, for PlayStation 3 with the same gameplay but improved graphics, as the two original God of War games were; something that they had previously stated they would like to do but was unlikely due to resources.
  • Came for The X Stayed For The Y: Came for the colossus battles, while the plot, music, and Scenery Porn just made those battles even more amazing.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: It's tempting to say "Any time you take down a Colossus," but taking down the ones that require real skill (particularly those that require horse riding skills, like Dirge or Phalanx) are the real crowners.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Pretty much every song in the game, but in particular the one first heard when climbing Valus.
  • Cult Classic
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Agro, no pun intended. Almost every gamer can agree that the biggest Player Punch in the game is the Disney Death Agro receives right before facing the sixteenth Colossus. There's also the fact that, as a horse, Agro is the lone character who isn't subject to Alternative Character Interpretation: he's just a loyal steed doing as his master directs him.
  • Good Bad Bugs: Jumping upwards diagonally costs almost no grip meter, allowing you to reach the secret garden much earlier than intended, although jumping up the whole temple that way is quite a physical challenge in its own right. Was fixed in the remake, to many fans' dismay.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: The moral ambiguity of the plot fascinates some, but others just play the game to battle the colossi.
  • Player Punch: The death scene of each colossus is accompanied by the same melancholy tune, which more than once leaves players questioning whether all this killing is really worth it. A more unexpected one comes near the end when Agro falls into a ravine while throwing you to safety. Even though she survived, on a first playthrough no one could say for certain and for all any player knew, she could've been.
  • That One Sidequest: Well, this is pretty much the only one but still, reaching the secret garden will take you a long time. Not that the climbing course is particularly difficult in itself, but you will have to make your grip gauge grow out of the screen if you don't want to fall to your death mid-way. Be prepared to make two or three playthroughs and hunt down a lot of lizards for that.
  • Vindicated by History: While initial reviews were never bad, it was not the star game of the year. Five years passed, and it has been rated the best game of the decade, second best game ever, and fourth greatest moment in gaming for its ending.
    • It's on the shortlist of Yahtzee's favorite games ever, if that means anything to you.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The vast open backdrop, through which you can make your lonely way; the soft lighting effects, as if you were looking at this world through a permanent Dulcinea Effect; the fluid animations of Agro and Wander, and of the colossi themselves. Pretty much the entirety of the visuals count. It's so awesome that others have attempted to replicate some effects to various degrees. The Colossi in particular are simply breathtaking in their detail and sheer scale.
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