Shadow of the Colossus was an awesome rental
An awesome rental for me at least. I've never had a chance to drink the Ico kool-aid so I didn't have any level of expectations walking into this one. The only reason I picked it up, for better or worse, it because the colossi looked friggin kewl. For that reason alone, I scooped it up alongside Bewitched (not the best movie) and rented my way to gaming bliss for a few short days.
Now that I think about it, maybe renting it wasn't the best thing to do. I had to keep it a couple of days past the due date since I was so close to finishing it. For that reason, I wouldn't buy it. I got to the last colossus within 7 days, playing every night (1-3 hours). I was hooked. Playing the game is like going from one boss fight to the next. I LOVED that. I hate having to drudge through 30 minutes of low-level bad guys just to get to the not-always-worth it boss fight. You go from boss to boss, each one being different. Now granted, a few of the colossi are a bit similar but not so much so that you would think the developers were running out of ideas.
The colossi themselves are jus flat out, jaw dropping. It was a bit exhilarating fighting the first few colossi since I didn't quite know what to expect. I calmed down on about day 3 or four. The neat thing about battling these colossi is that it's not your typical "shoot here for 10 minutes to kill the boss" strategy. Killing most (all I guess) of them involves a bit of strategery (yeah it's a word, ask will ferrell). Not so much that you'll be combing through a strategy guide every ten minutes to figure it out but enough to make you feel a little bit better about yourself when you figure out how to take'em down. I must admit I did get stumped a few times and did consult a guide or two (thank you gamespot) but that was just because I was under a deadline, a deadline in which I ended up extending since the game turned out to be more fun than I thought it would be.
The story was very subtle. You get the intro movie with no backstory, two brief cutscenes(each after defeating a number of colossi) and then the ending. I heard the ending was great but the fear of a $75 late fee drowned out my need to see it through. I spent a few days on the last boss but gave in eventually. It was a bit trickier than I expected and I couldn't devote as much time to it as it needed. Oh well.
Despite no finishing the game, I still had a blast. It was quite engrossing and the feeling of isolation your get from all the time spent riding your trusty steed from colossi to colossi really digs into you. The riding itself never got too repetitive since the locales varied quite a bit. The horse steering took some getting used to for me at first since it's like real life horseback riding. The sucker won't stop on a dime or go from 0-60 at the drop of a hat. It was frustrating at first but I grew into it. The first colossi is more of a tutorial that hips you to the jumping and hanging mechanics. The hanging and climbing is crucial to master since you'll need to do so to defeat each colossi. Once you get the hang of it, it's cake though. The graphics are good but not next-gen good. Sometimes they look a little eh but considering the lack of load time once the game starts, it shouldn't bother you too much. The framerate was solid and the colossi always looked good.
All in all it was a damn fine rental. Was it good enough for me to plop down $50+ to pick it up retail, no. I won't buy it just to beat the final boss. I would rent it again though. If (or most likely when) I do, I would be sure to return it on time. I swear.