Shadow of the Colossus Review
Shadow of the Colossus is one of those must play experiences, regardless of your platform preference, but trying to get someone to go back to their PS2 – or try to even find a PS2 plus a copy of the game – can be a bit challenging. It truly is one of those titles that you regret was never remade for modern machines; that was until recently, however, when Sony announced that Shadow of the Colossus was getting remade from the ground up for the PS4. I’ve had the opportunity to play that over the last week or so, and it’s truly been one of my favourite titles on the PlayStation 4!
For those who have played the original, Shadow of the Colossus on the PS4 is a complete reworking of the original experience. The development team didn’t just slap a new coat of paint on the existing title, but rather rebuilt it from the ground up. And from the opening cinematic until you control your character in the open world for the first time, you instantly will recognize the fantastic work that has been done to bring this to life again. From the lighting and shadow quality, to the sound track and natures tones, you’ll be in a familiar place, albeit one that looks nothing like it did before.
The Story – Slight Spoilers Ahead!
The accessibility of this title is outstanding as well, with a simple story of love and courage that is understandable by all. When a young boys looks to save the deceased girl he loves, he’s tasked with eliminating the worlds Colossi one-by-one, until finally the world is at peace; only then can his love be saved. At least, that’s the premise you begin on, but as you take down thsese seemingly peaceful colossi, you do begin to wonder. It’s a simple story with a simple goal: find the colossi, analyze the colossi, and defeat the colossi. There are no towns, there is limited signs of life. This game doesn’t need that however, and the sooner players come to gripes with that reality, the more enjoyable this experience will be.
A Series of Puzzles
What you will quickly learn as you trek across the world in Shadow of the Colossus is that the entire game is really just a set of puzzles that get a tad more difficult as you progress. Each Colossi has a weak point that must be reached to plunge your sword and deal severe damage, but getting to these points will take both bravery and smarts. The more you analyze the beast you are looking to take down, the better you can strategize to defeat it. It encourages multiple play styles, to be sure. For those that like trail and error, that’s is an option, all though numerous deaths are inevitable. For those who like to think things through, you can sit back and look, find your weak points, and make your moves.
For those looking for a world full of people and wildlife, bustling towns, and loot to buy and collect, you’ll need to look elsewhere. When I earlier described Shadow of the Colossus as a simple title, I was being incredibly honest and accurate in that statement. There are no towns to explore, side quests to complete, or anything else like that. There are over a dozen beasts for you to locate, solve, and take down: that is it; it sounds like so little, but in reality, its a game that will take you hours upon hours to complete; it’s even possible for each colossi to take over an hour, leaving you with a 15-20 hour experience.
Should You Replay It?
Coming from the point of view of a novice to the Shadow of the Colossus franchise, it’s hard for me to make that statement; when speaking to a few of my media friends however – I’m looking at you Jon Scarr and Paul Hunter – the answer to this question seems to be a strong, ‘Yes’! Here is what Jon had to say, “You should play Shadow of the Colossus again because it contains and epic story, with vastly improved visuals and gameplay over the original.” This sentiment seems to be a constant theme from people I speak with. Although I have no reference point, many have talked up the valuable gameplay control changes that are evident in this remake, making the game much more enjoyable. For those few who want to experience the title like the original, reverting to the controls from the Ps2 is an option.
When I personally moved between the two, I noticed a far better experience on the remake. The jump button has been remapped, which makes way more sense than before. As well, triggers have been moved around to create a more comfortable experience throughout. While some may like the nostalgic feel of the original options, the remake has made the game much more enjoyable.
For many, Shadow of the Colossus is just a remake, and something that you can get excited about, but won’t necessarily want to buy right away. I’m here to tell you – whether a long time fan who played the original, or someone who hasn’t had the opportunity – to go out and buy it right now. It is a fantastic remake from the ground up, with a better art direction, improved visuals, and a control scheme that easily trumps the original. While there are a ton of great new titles hitting the PS4 this year, find the time in your life and the money in your wallet for this: you will not be disappointed!