Shadow of the Colossus Impressions: A fresh new coat of paint

Game: Shadow of the Colossus

Developer: Bluepoint Games

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Reviewed: PlayStation 4

Released initially over a decade ago on the Sony PlayStation 2, Shadow of the Colossus makes a gigantic return for the PlayStation 4. This time around, players will be introduced to a new highly detailed version of the title that may be well worth the purchase, especially if you have missed out on the previous HD release for the PlayStation 3.

If you have never played Shadow of the Colossus, the video game follows a young warrior named Wander. Our protagonist has ventured into a strictly forbidden land in order to seek the help of a god that could bring back the life of a young woman.

You’ll find early on that most of the game narrative is up for perspective and nothing of much detailed is explained. While the narrative spares the details, we are told that the young maiden was sacrificed after being believed she was cursed.

It’s within an ancient temple that Wander finds this fabled god who alerts our protagonist that while saving the maiden is possible, there is a price to be paid. Players are then introduced to Colossi and must seek out all sixteen of them that roam the land. After you locate the targeted colossi, Wander must determine just how to slay the beast.

Thus our adventure truly begins as Wander uses a mythical sword and his horse Agro to seek out and slay the Colossi. Battling the colossi is the main treat to the game, each will allow players to strategize and find a means to weaken the beast and climb up their bodies in order to deliver a final blow that would bring them down for good.

Battles can be rather quick once you discovered a routine or move set that the colossi use. Once you defeat colossi, you’ll be taken back to the temple where your deceased maiden lays, forcing you to head back out and seek out the next beast. Speaking of battles, players will also be given a bow to use against colossi, attacking their weak points in certain cases to help climb up their body during their challenging bout. It’s a thrill climbing up these giant beasts and holding on as it attempts to shake you off, but mechanically, the controls to grip onto a part of the colossi after a jump is sometimes a bit stiff.

It’s worth noting that there is a specific beast that you’ll have to face at any given time with your sword being the GPS leading to the desired location.

Even though this game is open world in a sense that players can freely roam the planes as they seek out the targeted colossi, the world feels a bit empty. This plays in with the forbidden land tale that the narrative unveils to us from the start of the game, but if you’re going into the title expecting something along the lines of a full world with tons of exploration and interactivity then you’re going to be disappointed.

Likewise, I found the controls to be a bit of a problem as I would have preferred a more fluid approach when battling the colossi and that can also be said when navigating the world on your horse Agro. There are a few different control scheme options, but I couldn’t find one that really felt right when playing.

Visually, this is by far the best edition of Shadow of the Colossus, though I don’t think anyone would be questioning if this release actually tops the past installments in terms of graphics. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting each colossus with weathered armor and fine strands of hair.

If you own a standard PlayStation 4, Shadow of the Colossus will play at 30 frames per second at 1080p resolution. With that said, the game does offer a visual bump on the PlayStation 4 Pro with 4K at 30 frames per second or 60 frames per second at 1080p. You’ll also see some slight enhancements graphically with the PlayStation 4 Pro in comparison to the standard PlayStation 4.

There’s even an option to capture images within Shadow of the Colossus with the game offering a number of different filters in order to get that perfect screenshot to share with friends.

All-in-all, Shadow of the Colossus is another release of an already well-beloved game. If you enjoyed the title before then you’re going to find that the 2018 release offers an overall improved visual experience. With that said, there are some controls issues that I would have liked to see done differently to make a more fluid experience.


Full Disclosure: A copy of the video game was provided by the publisher.