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“Shadow of the Colossus” Essential Tips and Tricks

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Poppy is the author of "A Bard's Lament" and the Black Diamond series. She lives in Enoshima, Japan, with her husband and young son.

Shadow of the Colossus was first released in 2005 on PlayStation 2 and immediately gained huge popularity thanks to its unusual gameplay, heartbreaking storyline, and enchanting soundtrack. The game was re-released on PlayStation 3 with updated graphics and again on PlayStation 4 in 2018.

The game's sales were over 70% higher in its first week than the original. Not only does this game promise a pleasant blast from the past, but it's still a fantastic gaming experience. So if you are a veteran player of this masterpiece looking to brush up your skills or you are completely new to the game, here are some essential tips and tricks to make the most of your playthrough.

1. Hold, Don't Mash

Riding Wander's horse, Agro, is an essential part of playing Shadow of the Colossus. Though the controls are less clunky than they were in the previous versions, they can still be tricky.

Press triangle to make Agro move faster. However, you don't have to keep mashing it (like you do when riding Epona in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time). You can actually hold the triangle button to keep Agro running at the same speed. It makes things much easier and saves having to stare at Wander frantically slapping his thighs against Agro's sides every few seconds.

2. Eat Fruit

There are trees all over the Shadow of the Colossus world. Don't just race past them! These trees hold fruit that Wander can shoot with his bow and arrows. Consuming them awards the player with a longer life bar.

Some trees have only one piece of fruit whereas others have several. Carefully check them, knock the fruit down with your arrows, and eat the fruit by standing in front of it and pressing R2. You'll enjoy a permanent increase to your life bar.

Shadow of the Colossus on PlayStation 3

Shadow of the Colossus on PlayStation 3

3. Eat Lizard Tails

Wander's life bar is only second to his stamina! Stamina is essential for climbing, holding on to flailing monsters, and determines the strength of your stab. Though you also get a slight permanent increase to your stamina after defeating each Colossus, consuming white lizard tails gives you a nice bonus.

A white lizard can be found at each small shrine, which also serves as a save spot. Whenever you find one, hunt the shrine for the little lizard with a glowing silver tail. You can kill the creature either with arrows or your sword, but it's also possible to cut off the tail without killing the lizard. It doesn't make a difference to the stamina you get.

Eating enough of these lizard tails grants an enormous amount of stamina that'll make Wander unstoppable! After all, there are few things more annoying in this game than falling back down to the ground because Wander ran out of juice.

4. Make Use of Jumping and Rolling

Rolling isn't really needed much to get around in Shadow of the Colossus, but it's more useful than you might think. A Colossus' stomp or punch to the ground can knock Wander off his feet or even knock him out for a few seconds.

Rolling can mean the difference between a near miss and getting hit square in the face, and jumping at the right moment can avoid staggering from a monster's stomp or fall.

5. The Sword Tells You Weak Spots as Well as Colossi Locations

We all know that Wander can use his sword to point you in the right direction of the latest foe. However, if you're struggling to locate the monster's weak point, the sword can point you at that too. Just be sure the Colossus isn't going to smack you in the jaw while you're standing there pointing your sword at it.

6. Pray at Shrines

Praying at shrines saves the game, but that's not all it does. After pressing R2 in front of the gravestone-like structure of the shrine, the location will appear on the map.

Ideally, do this after you have eaten the white lizard tail, then you will know whether you have already been there or not. This is useful when you are trying to find and consume all of the tails.

7. Press L2 to Keep an Eye on the Colossus

While in a battle with one of the Colossi, hold L2 to center on it. This is useful if the monster goes missing (which is terrifying). By pressing and holding the L2 button, the camera shifts to where the monster is, ensuring it won't sneak up behind you and take you by surprise.

8. Equip Your Sword During a Fight

Wander's sword is only used for stabbing the Colossi's weak spots, but don't forget to keep it equipped when you're climbing on them! Some of these monsters need arrows, but be sure to put away the bow as soon as you're done with it.

Equipping the sword ensures you can see the Colossi's weak spots. Without it, they're invisible, rendering it impossible for you to see where to go.

Fans of this fantastic game were delighted when the updated version, complete with beautiful graphics and smooth gameplay, was released in early 2018. With these tips and tricks, you'll be destroying Colossi in no time!

© 2018 Poppy