Shadow of the Colossus Review

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Bluepoint Games have rebuilt the PS2 classic Shadow of the Colossus from the ground up for PS4. Find out how much of a difference they made in our Shadow of the Colossus Review!

Release DateFebruary 6, 2018 (PS4)/October 18, 2005 (PS2)
GenreAction/Adventure
PlatformsPS2/PS3/PS4
DeveloperBluepoint Games (PS4)/SIE Japan Studio (PS2)
Price$39.99 US (PS4)/$59.99 US (PS2)
ESRB RatingTeen
Players1 Player

 

*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by PlayStation for review purposes*

Shadow of the Colossus on the PlayStation 4 is a breathtaking refresh of the 2005 classic from the PlayStation 2. Bluepoint Games completely re-made the game from the ground out with brand new visuals and lighting breathing new life into the atmosphere of the original game while retaining everything that made the original game such a unique and classic experience.

Shadow of the Colossus is quite unlike most games of today. It’s a simple design and it doesn’t take much to understand how to play the game. You play a character who must explore a vast, beautiful world in search of 16 mysterious colossi. These colossi range from dog-like creatures to flying creatures to underwater creatures. There’s a ton of variety involved and every colossus feels different from the last. It’s never really explained what your motivation for slaying these beasts is (nothing is really ever explained), but you quickly gather that it’s to restore life to a comatose woman who’s important to you. It’s simple, yet satisfying.

Shadow of the Colossus Review
The lighting in Shadow of the Colossus on PS4 feels as realistic as I’ve ever seen in a game – 4K images are from PS4 Pro. PS4 Pro and 4K display device required to view in 4K

The first thing you’ll do after leaving the central shrine is to raise your sword to use the beam of sunlight reflecting off of it to find your target. It’s an interesting way of finding your way around the map and I really don’t think I’ve seen much else like it in any other game. As you make your way to the colossus, it’s easy to get distracted by just how beautiful the game has become on the PS4. The world is vibrant and full of colour and sunlight. Grass and foliage blow in the wind and light drips through trees and caverns. It looks better than most other games I’ve played on PS4 and that’s saying a lot. Bluepoint really did a lot of upgrades in the visual department.

Those who played the original PS2 title will be happy to know that the framerate no longer buckles when dealing with a particularly massive colossus. If you’re a PS4 Pro owner, there’s also an option to play in performance mode which maintains 60fps without sacrificing much in terms of quality. The draw distance is also much improved in this game which gives the game much more sense of scale than it had when it was originally released. The buttons have even been remapped to a more modern configuration that better suits the way this game is played. Add a photo mode and some brand-new easter eggs and there’s a lot to like about this version of the game.

Shadow of the Colossus Review
I’ve never felt so small – 4K images are from PS4 Pro. PS4 Pro and 4K display device required to view in 4K

There are still a few nagging things that I didn’t enjoy about Shadow of the Colossus. The camera, in particular, can be incredibly annoying especially when you’re in close proximity to a colossus and you’re trying to get the camera in the right position. It can often times get stuck or obscure your view at the worst times. The horse controls are still pretty infuriating at times with Agro seeming not as agile as a horse probably should be. I may be nitpicking, but there were a few times where I did yell at the screen because Agro simple wasn’t doing what I wanted him to do. The same thing applies to a colossus when you’re trying to get them in the right position to take them down. Sometimes they just don’t want to do what you want them to do. None of these are reasons to not play the game, but they are worth mentioning as they did make me pretty angry at times.

There are 16 colossi in the game and each one is a very different puzzle from the last. It’s an interesting thing to feel helpless when you first come up to one and then curious as you try to learn how to defeat it. It’s less mindless than most games, there’s a lot of strategies involved. You have to time how you move, when you attack, how you attack, and even where the colossus has to be at times. You almost feel bad as you defeat one because it feels like each of these creatures tell a distinct story, but it’s still fun to figure out how to use your limited tools to take one out. You only have a sword, a bow, and Agro. That’s it. There are some decent upgrades that can be acquired by completing the optional Time Attack modes. These include stronger weapons, different coloured horses, and even a parachute. None of them are necessary, but the incentive is there to replay the battles.

Shadow of the Colossus Review
There’s nothing like running through the blades of grass with Agro. – 4K images are from PS4 Pro. PS4 Pro and 4K display device required to view in 4K

Shadow of the Colossus offers a sense of tension that is quite different from most games. As soon as you grab on to a tuft of hair and start climbing the creature, it really starts to hit you. It’s not just climbing and figuring out how to take down the colossus, it’s managing the stamina meter that controls how long you can keep your grip. I can’t tell you how many times I lost grip at the last second and fell hundreds of feet and had to start all over again from the bottom. There were equally cool moments where I managed to get to a ledge just as my meter ran out.

The story is the star of the show in the game as you are left to feel and think how you want to feel about the actions you’re performing. It’s a moral dilemma to take out all of the beasts simply to save your sleeping female friend. Are you doing the right thing or are you slowly becoming more and more evil? That’s up to you to decide. The game doesn’t reward you for any of your actions and you’re forced to think about it yourself. The climax is just as heavy, but I won’t spoil it here.

Shadow of the Colossus Review
You’re not knocking me off! – 4K images are from PS4 Pro. PS4 Pro and 4K display device required to view in 4K
ProsCons
Updated visuals look greatCamera at times
Updated controls help greatly 
Story is as great as ever