Shadow of the Colossus Review
With a number of remakes under its belt and a story of community that has spanned nearly 15 years, Shadow of the Colossus has a cult following still yearning for more over a decade later. 2005 was a long time ago, and the industry has evolved drastically since that time. Is there still room for this level of artistic expression, or will a previously critically acclaimed release fall short of the mark?
Shadow of the Colossus Review
Bringing up Shadow of the Colossus growing up prompted one of two responses. Either the person looked at you with a blank expression, having no idea what game you were talking about, or they grinned from ear to ear in anticipation of a discussion surrounding the games’ greatest features. It was never a game to dominate the headlines and it never drew the attention of the casual majority, but to those it did reach, it touched deeply.
At the time of its original release, Shadow of the Colossus was a genre-defining game. So much so that so that it still stands alone in its definition to this very day. Players are introduced to a beautiful and vast landscape inhabited by giant beasts of unknown construct, the Colossi. 16 in all, these giant beasts roam the lands, each offering the player a unique challenge as they learn and adapt to various attack patterns and environmental interactions. Despite having many experiences taking down each of these infamous creatures, playing through the experience again was nearly as thrilling and rewarding as my first play through all those years ago.
While limited in terms of player creativity, each boss has a very specific set of abilities and a strategy to counter those abilities. Whether you’re leaping from a height to avoid a colossal swing, or holding on for dear life as you’re dragged under the turbulent waves across the back of an underwater electric dragon, each boss is as unique and exciting as the last. Colossal in size and an impressive feat to destroy, the Colossi represent the bulk of the games action-based mechanics, with little else to do other than travel between locations.
Riding horseback across a huge landscape nearly completely void of human life may not seem appealing at first glance, but Shadow of the Colossus takes full advantage of the latest gaming technology to deliver a visual experience unlike any other. The game looks absolutely incredible on the PlayStation 4; any screenshots or videos you may have seen don’t do it justice. Shadow of the Colossus has always been a great looking game, but with the release of the PlayStation 4 remaster, it’s up there with the best of them.
While the graphics and aesthetics have leaped to this generation with resounding success, not all elements of the game can boast the same. A number of issues that plagued the original release seem to have gone by unnoticed. Controlling the horse is cumbersome and very frustrating at times, matched only by the incredibly poor camera angles and perspective controls. Poor camera angles plagued many of PlayStation 2’s greatest titles but by today’s standards, they are downright archaic.
Fans new and old will find plenty to get excited about in this remaster. There is a lot to like here, from its jaw-dropping visuals and audio, to its minimalist unique and engaging story, to even its various modes and New Game+ option. I have always said Shadow of the Colossus is a must-play game, and I can now continue to say that without having to convince someone to buy a PlayStation 2 to play it.