Shadow of the Colossus PS4 Review

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment  Developer: Bluepoint Games

Genre: Action Adventure  Players: 1  Age Rating: 16+  Other console/handheld formats: N/A

Bluepoint Games were responsible for the amazingly well done ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection HD on PS3, which remastered both the games for the more powerful console. The developer has also been responsible for some other fantastic remasters, but with Shadow of the Colossus on the PS4 they were given the opportunity to remake a game from the ground up for the very first time.

Originally released back in 2005 on PS2, Shadow of the Colossus really did push the aging console to its limits, and despite frame rate issues here and there, it was a miracle that they even got such an ambitious game to run. With that said, the 2011 PS3 remaster was a godsend, improving the creaky framerate and updating the visuals to HD, but with the PS4 version we now have a full remake, and it feels like a necessary one given the kind of power that development teams have to play around with these days.

The results are magnificent. Shadow of the Colossus on PS4 looks five hundred times better than the PS2 original, with comparison screenshots and videos showing a massive improvement in detail. The game also allows you to run it in cinematic mode with increased detail and a rock solid 30fps framerate or in performance mode at an equally rock solid 60fps. Shadow of the Colossus has always been a beautiful game thanks to its art style, animations and picturesque world, but the PS4 remake is even more beautiful, and is only spoiled by some noticeable pop-up and a camera that can still be occasionally frustrating.

The world is stunning and atmospheric.

Shadow of the Colossus is definitely a game that reveals its themes straight from the off, and those themes are of sadness and loneliness. There is also a tinge of hope in the very simple story though, with the main character Wander on a quest to bring his loved one back from the dead by slaying the 16 Colossus’ found in the very empty and lonely feeling world. It’s a world that is really quite compact but feels bigger than what it is, and it’s also a world that doesn’t have a lot to do, which will be disappointing or pleasing depending on whom you are.

It’s a very simple story that doesn’t really get much deeper, and the game itself is also very simple in its structure. It goes like this: you begin your quest from the shrine in which your dead loved one lies, you hold Wander’s sword aloft, revealing a light beam that shows you the general direction of the current Colossus, you then go in search of the said beast on the back of your trusty horse, and you then find out how to slay it, and once the deed is done, you are returned to the shrine. Repeat. The game never gets any more complex than this, and perhaps could have done with a little more variation to break the cycle, at least every once in awhile. Gameplay does, however, feel very focussed because of this and, in its 6 to 8 hour duration, the game in no way outstays its welcome. These are two things that cannot be complained about.

The Colossus’, however, offer great variation, and it’s finding out their weak points that is one of the game’s most interesting points, and often one of its biggest challenges. These 16 battles are like a series of boss fights, and many of them are like the biblical David versus Goliath story, with Wander shrinking in size as soon as one of these towering monsters shows themselves. You’ll be clinging on to these beasts, scaling them, and feeling as if some of these battles are a real struggle in the very way that it should be, and, with all that said, slaying one is always a delight and often a relief. The Colossus’ come in all shapes and sizes, and the excellent dynamic soundtrack gives you an idea as to how battles are going, along with the depleting health bars of course.

Wander also has a bow and arrow for ranged attacks.

This PS4 remake is definitely a beautiful one, but disappointingly it is one that is lacking in new content. There’s a new control scheme, but other than that the game has been left untouched, which is particularly a shame for those who have played the game before. Some might say that the game didn’t need any attention in the gameplay department, but it would have benefited from more being made of its world with added side tasks and things like that. It also must be said that Shadow of the Colossus is a game that is crying out to be turned fully open-world. It is disappointing that the developer wasn’t given more freedom to put their own stamp on the game, as a remake can be so much more than a beautified retread. Just ask Capcom and Square Enix.

Despite the lack of new content though, playing with the massively improved visuals on PS4 is something that many fans will be delighted about, and hopefully this remake will get plenty of new players as well. Even with the game mostly unchanged and deserving of much more than a mere facelift in the way that it is, Shadow of the Colossus on PS4 remains a very distinct and memorable game, and even all of these years later it is still a very special and one of a kind experience.