I have to be honest when I say that I had never played Shadow of the Colossus when the game initially came out. Coming in as a newcomer was intimidating. The reason I felt this way was for a couple of reasons. I felt intimidated by how much I was told the controls and camera are difficult. Plus I was worried that I would not like this legendary game. I can happily say that I love it.
The game is remade from the ground up by Bluepoint Games. They are experienced in remasters with the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and the PS3 remaster of Shadow of the Colossus. So, this remake was in excellent hands.
The story in Shadow of the Colossus is quite simple. Most of the story is told in the beginning cutscene. After a few bosses, there might be a new scene to show some more story. Then you get another long cutscene at the end to give you the wrapup of the story.
Wander is the protagonist of this story with his trusty steed Agro. When they arrive at a large temple, Wander places a young girl on an altar in the main room on the first floor. Mysterious shadows appear with a voice speaking to Wander. The voice reveals himself to be Dormin. An ancient entity that is a pseudo-villain who strikes a deal with Wander because he sees that Wander is wielding the Ancient Sword that can be used for his benefit. He will revive this girl, only if Wander kills 16 colossi. Then that is where the game begins.
As a game, everything is relatively simple, but with some of its own complexity to it. For the most part, you are not told much. The game will say to you basic controls, but there is a lot it does not tell you. A big part is for the player to figure things out on their own. Gameplay is simple. You have a sword that can be used to attack and use a light to guide yourself to your targetted colossus. The other weapon that is available is a bow and arrow. This is mostly used for strategic purposes for individual bosses. Climbing is an essential aspect of the game. Climbing to get to specific areas and most importantly, to get on top of the colossi. To travel you use your horse, Agro. Each boss is a puzzle by finding out how to get on top of them. When you do get on top of them, then you have to stab a particular weak point that will have a shining symbol when you get near it. Stab a couple of marked points then the colossus will die. The puzzles of each colossus are not challenging but can be tricky. The game does ramp things up by giving you easy battles then increasing the difficulty as you progress.
Controls in the game have been enhanced for modern gaming. You can switch back to the old controls for nostalgia if you have played the original or want to know what it feels like as a newcomer. They are clunky. Bluepoint has remade the game from the ground up but maintained how the original was. UI and control layout is different along with enhanced graphics, but that is about it. The controls and camera can be awkward especially as gaming has changed so much in the years since the game initially came out. However, it was not a huge deal for the most part. Agro is challenging to control, sometimes harder depending on the area of the game you are in. Wander can be troubling, but you can get used to how the game controls. Depending on which boss battle you are on, the controls and camera can make things extra tricky. This was a pain during the final colossus because of the amount of climbing required.
Graphically, the game is absolutely stunning. I played on my PS4, and the game looked incredible. If you play on a PS4 Pro, then you get an extra option for graphics. There would be a cinematic selection that makes for FPS 30, but the game will look better. Personally, I would not choose that even if I could because framerate is so essential. The developers put in a lot of detail to enhance how gorgeous this game is. Each hair on the colossi moves so realistically. Walking through the various terrain is breathtaking. A photo mode with multiple filters and options to get the best camera shot possible is in the game too. This makes for some incredible screenshots to show how pretty this game really is. This is a stunning remake that you can look at for hours.
With each colossus, there is such beautiful music that gets played. The soundtrack to this game is just as pretty as the graphics. The orchestral music fits so perfectly with every moment.
The game is incredibly short. I was able to beat the game in about seven hours. Since the game is a bit of a puzzle when it comes to trying to find out how to defeat each colossus and to find them can be tricky. Without these moments of being lost, I could have beaten the game closer to five hours. However, there are unlocks after beating the game. New Game + allows the player to play through the game with all your upgrades to health and stamina. A time attack mode is a time challenge mode to beat each colossus in a certain amount of time. You do unlock items with this mode that can be used in the other modes. Then there is a reminiscence mode is just a way to refight any of your favorite battles with the inclusion of a filter to change to the look of the game.
This game does live up to its legendary status even by today’s standards. The controls and camera angles can be awkward, especially to new players. Along with Agro who can be quite terrible a lot of the times too. If you are someone who loves a game with puzzles, epic boss battles, and do not mind a short game, then you should absolutely check it out. If you are a fan of the original, then this is the definitive edition of the game. Everything will play like you remember, but with updated graphics to give a different feeling to the world as you go around fighting your way through each colossus.
Images are in-game screenshots with photo mode on a PS4.
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