Some of the reasons I love it so much:
Atmosphere - The contrast between long periods of calmly, lonely wandering around a generally deserted (but beautiful) landscape, and periods of intense fighting and heat-of-the-moment puzzle solving with the boss battles is incredible.
This is made all the more impactful thanks to a powerful score and the character development of the player-character (he changes gradually over the course of the game). The narrative on the whole is largely subtle and something you just do, which makes it more personal and compelling - it's not rammed down your throat in cliches or with oodles of dialogue like most videogame story-telling.
Scale & the battles - The game is all about scale, from the absolutely enormous colossi to the size of the open world you traverse to get to them, so much about Shadow of the Colossus is BIG but not at all brash, in fact it's a very though-provoking game.
Most, but not all, of the battles are epic. They're puzzles within a game. Finding out how to defeat each one is often really tough and overcoming them feels like an amazing accomplishment (assuming you resist the urge to resort to a guide in your frustration).
Personality - There are two key sets of personalities (and several minor ones) for me. The colossi, which I'll combine together for the purposes of this post. Most are not hostile - you're the belligerent one in most instances and you force them to defend themselves. Killing them is an emotional thing to do because they have personalities; it's kind of like killing a wild animal that you've grown to know somewhat (the battles are protracted and involve quite a lot of puzzle-solving), and the effect is magnified because they're all unique. When you hurt them you know you've hurt them; you hear, see it, and feel it.
The second personality is that of your companion horse, which most players develop a strange bond with over the course of the game. *SPOILER* His actions towards the end of the game are reminiscent of losing a pet, or those emotional stories of how pets sacrifice themselves for their owners, and what happens after that is even more emotional. It's one of just two times I've welled up playing a game *END SPOILER*
Nothing is for everyone, however; if you don't enjoy it then fair enough, but I'd give a try, because if you do enjoy it then the experience will potentially live with you for the rest of your life. It's a very unique game.
Last edited by Machina - on 01 February 2018