Team ICO’s Shadow of the Colossus is a classic that many people would have originally played on the PlayStation 2. Since its latest outing several years ago for the PlayStation 3 as part of the HD collection of Team Ico’s work, Shadow of the Colossus has once again received a port on the PS4 but this time, it’s a complete overhaul of graphics taking advantage of the power of the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro. Since it’s been over a decade since the original release on the PlayStation 2 and the HD collection on the PS3, Sony is giving a newer generation of gamers a chance to experience Team ICO’s Shadow of the Colossus in a whole new level.
Shadow of the Colossus is rather a unique game that many might find awkward at first. It’s not your typical adventure game where all you do is go from one point to the next, or fight endless enemies to proceed in the game. Instead, players will be fighting a total of 16 humongous bosses called Colossi and they fill up the entire TV screen. The purpose behind fighting off the 16 colossi is to save the protagonist’s girlfriend from the brink of death and the only way to do that is to slay all of the colossi in the game.
At the beginning of the game, there’s no long story introduction that players have to watch. As soon as the player sets foot in the temple, a disembodied voice will give you a task of slaying a colossus. Pick up the sword, raise it up, and using the sunlight you find your next objective. Once you slay the colossus, you absorb its essence and get transported back once again to the temple. That is pretty much the progression of the game and until you beat the 16th colossus, you will not see the end of the game. Just take note that as you go to finish the game, it has an emotional journey.
The long journey in taking down colossi might be too tiresome and get tedious but what really makes Shadow of the Colossus shine is the scale of bosses that you get to fight. Unlike other games where bosses can get predictable, the colossi in the game are designed uniquely and players will really have to think ways on how to take them down such as using the environments to your advantage or think of what weapon suits best. In all honesty, Shadow of the Colossus feels more like a puzzle game than an action adventure game as you really have to think as you traverse the world within the game. Not to mention there are no levels or experience to earn after taking down the boss – it’s simply just going on to your journey like normal.
For fans who have already played the game, not much has changed since its last outing on the PlayStation 3. The game offers the same content but the massive difference goes to the visual aspects of the game. Taking advantage of the PS4 Pro’s raw power, the game can be played in 4K resolution, or in different modes like Performance and Graphics mode for those seeking a much smoother performance. Those who have the original PlayStation 4, have no fear as the game will also look good due to the game’s super sampling where visuals will still be defined but not as greatly enhanced like on PS4 Pro.
In terms of how much the game has improved since its original release, one of the things that been overhauled is how each colossi went from an average of approximately 20,000 triangles to around 250,000 triangles. That’s over 10 times the improvement and that’s why when comparing it from the its original release, the difference is so apparent that fans of the game will have no option but to play the remake. Also, environments have been greatly improved where before you will only see less trees or stiffness to the character models, the remake now implements more detailed and realistic interactions between the lighting environment and the textures and lots of things have been added to make the game more lively and pop out.
Along with the new visual upgrades, there is also a new control scheme making it easier to play. It also has a Photo Mode that players can take pictures of the protagonist and adjust it for a proper angle that you can share on social media. With a select group of reviewers that have already used the Photo Mode, I must say that the game really looks great and it’s one of the best remakes that Bluepoint has done for the PS4.
As far as issues go, there are some things that still persist in the remake like the protagonist glitching out occasionally or he will randomly jump out. It only happens very rarely and does not really affect the gameplay or the experience BluePoint intends to let fans experience.
Despite being over a decade old, Shadow of the Colossus remains one of the best games of all time. Thanks to Bluepoint Games, the game has received a total make over, making this classic feel like a modern one. With improved frame rates and exemplary visuals, this is one of the games PS4 owner must have.