Shadow of the Colossus - PlayStation 4, reviews, comments

Shadow of the Colossus - PlayStation 4

SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS on PS4 system introduces the awe of its unforgettable world and towering creatures to a new generation of gamers, while allowing long time fans to revisit the beloved masterpiece with unparalleled visual fidelity and improved performance. Tales speak of an ancient realm where Colossi roam the majestic landscape. Bound to the land, these creatures hold a key to a mystical power of revival a power you must obtain to bring a loved one back to life. SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS is a breathtaking journey through ancient lands to seek out gigantic beasts. Armed with only a sword and a bow, explore the spacious lands and unearth each Colossus, presenting a unique challenge to test your wits, determination, and skill.


Comments / reviews:
This game is the exact remake of the original, but with a graphical overhaul and performance upgrades

--Here are a list of changes to the game:

1. Graphics.
Unlike the PS3 Remaster, this version does not only have graphical up scaling, but also new renders and slight remodels of the environment, characters and colossi.

A night-and-day difference; the major change you'll notice in this version as you can now see detailed in the rock formations, strains of grass and individual hairs in the Collossi.

The Dynamic lighting effects in this game are amazing and is the best I've seen in any game thus far. There's also reactive foliage and water physics to get you more engrossed into the world

2. Constant Frame Rate.
Unlike the choppy inconsistent frame rate of original, this game has smooth frame rate throughout.

If you have a PS4 Pro you can play at 60FPS at 1080p (performance mode) or 30FPS at 4K (cinematic mode)

Standard PS4 runs at constant 30FPS at 1080p

3. Controls.
The core gameplay is the same, but there are some quality of life changes added to make the control more modern (you can also opt for orginial controls for the purists out there).

PS4 Touchpad brings up a map

Jump is now the X button instead of Triangle

Dodge/Roll is the Circle button instead of R1 + Triangle

4. Game now saves automatically.
Praying altar no longer serves as manual save terminal in-game and only heals Wander when activated.

5. Photo mode
You can pause and take pictures at any time and add filters similar to other first party exclusives like Uncharted and Horizon Zero Dawn

6. Gallery
Collection of digital pictures filled with comparison shots and concept art

7. New Game+.
This time around you can select different difficulty settings instead of sticking the one you beat the game with.
There's also Mirror Mode and Time Trails.

8. Trophy Support
You can now earn PSN trophies (when comparing to PS2). Compared to the PS3 version; there's 7 more additional trophies you can collect bringing the total to 38 vs 31. PSN considers them different games so if you own the PS3 version you can stack trophies

--What Stayed the Same:

-Story. You go to this alter and try to resurrect a fallen princess. You are told in order to do so, you have to defeat 16 Collossi roaming around the land. Then off you go and try to slay 16 of them in a series of boss battles; each of them different in size and ways to take them down. Story isn't that deep at face value, but through gameplay, you'll get a deep moral understanding/emotion investment of the world especally when you reach closer and closer to the end game.

-There are some returning issues with the game like how your horse does what it wants at random times and camera issues when in narrow corridors. For those who only play modern games the character controls may feel a bit stiff and clunky at first, but you'll get used to it if you keep at it as there is a learning curve to the character's movement.

-Sound is spectacular as always. The colossi roars are more distinct this time around (either that or I have a better headset this time around). Still no English voice acting, just random gibberish coming from characters

Overall, best way to experience the Shadow of The Colossus if you haven't played it before, and an excellent revisit with enhanced visuals for those who did.

It's hard to believe now, but Shadow of the Colossus wasn't a runaway success when it originally released in 2005 on the Playstation 2. Sure it had great reviews, but it's audience started as a little niche before word of mouth spread about how incredible it was, eventually earning a remaster on the PS3 years later. Shadow of the Colossus is such a remarkable game in the medium of video games that it is often cited as THE game one needs to play to recognize that video games are art. Being reissued on the PS4 it's remarkable how original and novel Shadow of the Colossus still feels. This may be because over the past decade Shadow of the Colossus has rarely been imitated. It's minimalistic story telling, narrative undertones and structure are not elements that many video games have tried to imitate time and time again. This means that in a video game market full of sequels and remasters Shadow of the Colossus still somehow manages to at least feel original despite being around for over ten years.

The story centers on a young boy named Wander who brings a young girl to the Forbidden Lands. It is unknown what has happened to her, but he intends to revive her and he seeks the help of a God named Dormin to do so. Dormin lays out a task for him, defeat the sixteen Colossi across the Forbidden Lands and he will revive the girl he cares for so much. Wander takes to the task without hesitation and that's as much of a prologue as you need to understand Shadow of the Colossus. Once this happen the player takes control and sets out to defeat the sixteen different Colossi. If there were no greater depth to the story of Shadow of the Colossus it would make for a relatively boring story. But Shadow of the Colossus opts to tell the most of its story through gameplay and visual design more so than words. Much of the dialog consists of Dormin merely telling you were the next colossus is, but as the game presses on Wander's clothes become more ragged, the atmosphere more eerie and cryptic with small to-the-point cutscenes interspersed that the player will have to think about and connect... because the game isn't interested in doing that for you. What unfolds as the player reaches the end of the game is one of the most brilliant twists in gaming and it's even better because the game expects the player to own it rather than letting them passively observe through a cutscene.

The minimum storytelling is in full effect here. Fumito Ueda and Team Ico don't put anything in Shadow of the Colossus that doesn't need to be there. The Forbidden Lands are noticeably absent of standard enemies for narrative purposes. That being that no one is allowed in them and they've been sealed off. There is no life, only the colossus. Yet it never gets tiring to ride across the vistas and there's a surprisingly large amount of things to explore. So no, Shadow of the Colossus doesn't have standard enemies or "dungeons." They add nothing to the narrative and so they're not here. This helps the narrative get straight to the point. This is not the kind of storytelling that's for everyone, but what makes this approach so unique is that EVERYTHING about Shadow of the Colossus in terms of gameplay and environment is in service to the game's story.

All this means that the only enemies there are throughout the game are the various colossi that you'll face. They not only serve as the main bosses of the game, but also the dungeons. If there was any genre that Shadow of the Colossus could potentially fall into it would be the puzzle genre. Each colossus is massive and part of the fun and challenge of the game is figuring out how to scale them. Wander must latch onto a colossus, climb to it's weak point and stab it several times his sword until it falls. At first this is easy, with the first colossus only having one weak point. Then it gradually ramps up in difficulty. Some colossi have multiple weak points while others require figure out how to scale a colossus. This may entail finding ways to throw them off balance or finding ways get them to hold still long enough. As you scale they'll also try to shake you off or something to that effect.

You don't have much at your disposal to fight the colossi. You simply have a sword, a bow and Agro. And while the sword and bow are as basic as it gets, Agro is one of the most amusing concepts of the game. Many have complained about how Agro controls, not recognizing that part of the design of Shadow of the Colossus is that you get to point Agro in the right direction but you do not get to have full control of her because she is not yours to fully control. At first this seems difficult to digest, but in reality it's rather simple. You can steer Agro but that's really about it. Yet the bond that gets formed with Agro through the adventure makes for some rather good moments. There are even some battles where recognizing how Agro controls is rather important to actually getting through the game. For the most part the AI of Agro is competent enough that you won't mind certain moments where all you need to do is simply hold down the X button to make her gallop.

On the surface, Shadow of the Colossus isn't a difficult game at all. It's a rather simple game to play. The depths of this game might not be uncovered right away if only because they're not so unabashedly revealed. For instance, it's actually remarkable how much character some of the colossi have. Or just how staggering cool some of their designs are. And some of these designs provide hints of how to scale them and how to handle their aggressive behaviors. But all of this is done in a way that feels natural to the world you're playing in rather than as standard videogame conventions. For instance, when a Colossus is aggressive their eyes turn orange, but when they're passive their eyes simply remain blue. Yet the game makes this feel as though it's just a natural part of this world and not some kind of video game convention like in other games where the hint is that you need to be avoiding an attack.

Likewise, the way each colossus moves is absolutely astonishing as well. Their attacks are perfectly choreographed, but you feel the weight of each swing they make. You also feel just how gargantuan they are in comparison to you. Everything about each colossus manages to feel grandiose with each victory feeling like it's own played out version of David and Goliath. These battles are also accompanied by an amazing musical score that puts into perspective how huge, dangerous or majestic each encounter is.

All this makes for a great package on its own. Shadow of the Colossus isn't a very difficult game, however. It never was. Most video games where narrative takes center stage are rarely that difficult to play through. Shadow of the Colossus's challenge mostly comes from figuring out how to go about each battle, but the attacks of each colossus are telegraphed that getting hit rarely happens. Even if you found yourself in danger a lot, Shadow of the Colossus has plenty of opportunities to increase your health. Your health increases after each battle with a colossus, but there are also fruits scattered around the world that increase your health if you eat them, and lizards that you can shoot and take their tails to increase the amount of grip you have, which helps for scaling each colossus. After a while the damage from a colossus fails to be a hindrance.

There are, of course, changes made to the game. The most noticeable of which is that the game's visual presentation has been given an overhaul. Often when games like this get such a visual over haul there's this idea that they'll lose the art direction that made the game so good to begin with. This doesn't happen in Shadow of the Colossus. The game has been rebuilt from the ground up to feature more dynamic lighting but not at the expense of the visual soul of the game. The areas will still look familar, the art design still shines through and informs us of the world we're playing around in. It's just all better looking, more dynamic and the game is far more fluid to play. Nevertheless it's a faithful recreation. Bluepoint Games (the team responsible for the PS3 remaster) really outdid themselves here. The visual style of the PS2 game already aged well to begin with, but this is still amazing to look at. I can't tell you how much time I've spent just riding across the plains taking in the fantastic visuals of this game.

Shadow of the Colossus is not a game that was ever meant to be attempted just once and put back on the shelf. The original game had time trials and a hard mode and both return here. A New Game+ mode is also available but now you can begin on a new difficulty setting carrying over some of your stats as well. The game also has a new control scheme updated for the current era. The original control scheme made sense for it's time, but it's a good thing it's evolved a little over time. It's a little simpler to play, but if you really miss the original control scheme it's also here.

If there was anything to lament about Shadow of the Colossus it might be that for die-hard fans of the original you're not actually getting a lot of new stuff here. This isn't really a bad thing, but if you were someone hoping that perhaps some of the colossi that were cut from the original release would be here you'll be out of luck. This is almost an exact recreation of the original game and they've added nothing to it. Again, this isn't really a bad thing. Part of the charm with Shadow of the Colossus is that it isn't a superfluous game. The only other thing that may keep the game down is that as a minimalist game that doesn't waste too much time with its story... it's going to be short. And in an era where replay value doesn't carry as much weight as it used to and where people expect their games to be long (regardless of how padded out or artificial that game length may be) Shadow of the Colossus may end up appealing more to people who have already experienced it rather than to newcomers. This isn't to suggest it won't find it's audience, but is to suggest that it's possible some new players may not necessarily take to the experience as a whole immediately.

All that said, Shadow of the Colossus has aged surprisingly well and has retained its status as a cult classic. The game is every bit as exciting and fun as it was when it was released on the Playstation 2. From it's amazing visuals and music to it's charming story, Shadow of the Colossus still stands as one of the greatest games ever made and now it can be experienced in a whole new light without necessarily robbing it of all of its original charm.

JS
I just don't know if kids who were born when the original PS2 version came out 13 years ago would love this or hate it. It is technically an open world game, but the world is small and picturesque, and there is nothing but the core concept at work: use your sword and bow to kill 16 gigantic monster bosses. Other than tracking down and eliminating these beasts, which are platforming puzzles unto themselves, there are no side missions, no XP, no skill tree, no NPCs to talk to, no crafting, no weapon mods...hell, there are no smaller enemies to dispatch as you traverse the beautiful landscape. The experience is lush in atmosphere and intrigue (not to mention graphics and audio) but minimalist in pretty much every other regard and hearkens back to the end of a simpler digital entertainment era where you got the whole game, up front, on the disc...and the experience was complete, polished, and innovative. I only had to play an hour to know that the rest of this game is amazing because I had the PS2 version, which I also loved, and the people who made this must've loved the 2005 original as well. One of my great shames in gaming history is reaching the last colossus in the PS2 version but never beating it. I did buy the PS3 version, which is a simple upscale/remaster job (and included ICO) but didn't have time for it when so much good current-gen stuff was coming out. But after encountering, and besting, the first monster in this newly built PS4 remake (just the same way I beat him 13 years ago on my old CRT TV), I was smiling uncontrollably. I'm playing on a stock PS4 and the graphics are amazing, the frame rate is buttery smooth, and the main character no longer feels heavy and sluggish, straining against the constraints of old hardware. Will the CoD/2K/GTA/PUBG kids get it? I don't know, but I hope they do give this a try, because it's still a piece of unique, essential gaming.

I was in a dark moment in my life when I played this game for the first time in my play station 2. I was so excited. It was a game like no other and it helped go through a rough time. I quickly fell in love with the story and the excitement ruled me every moment. I can’t help but to add nostalgia to this comment. This remaster is beautiful and faithful as ever. I recommend it to everybody! It’s quite a experience.

Shadow of the Colossus is widely considered to be not only one of the greatest PlayStation 2 games of all time, but also one of the most important video games whenever the question “Are video games art?” comes up. However, when one is not looking at the big idea of how this game changed gaming’s stance in relation to other art and just looks at the game itself, it’s amazing. Like Ico, a game made by the same team before Shadow of the Colossus, this game had a fantastic sense of atmosphere and beauty that really sucked players into the world, but unlike Ico, it also had really fun and engaging gameplay elements that made you want to keep playing. Both games were remastered for the PlayStation 3 in an HD collection, which is how I originally played them, but this newer remaster (done by the same studio who did the last one, Bluepoint Games) is rebuilt from the ground-up. Does this newer remaster do its job of presenting the game to an entire new generation of players or does it fall flat and fail miserably? For the most part, it succeeds in its goal very well.

When I beat this game for the first time on the PS3 a couple years ago, I actually wrote a review for it. This review for the PS4 version is more so intended for those who have already played the game, but if you want my thoughts on the game itself and not just some of the big changes, you can read those here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/review/R367AQG1M3CXHO?ref_=glimp_1rv_cl. Now, we’ll start off with the positives of the game: firstly, the game looks gorgeous – literally stunning. After the game finished installing, I booted it up and can remember being in complete awe at how amazing it looked – the game looked great on the older systems, but obviously graphics can (and do) age, but this remaster did a fantastic job of making it look better than most current games out there. Sure, the character models might not be on the same level as a Naughty Dog game, but in terms of the environment and atmosphere, very few (if any) games look as good as this game does when you are riding your horse Agro through the grassy fields with the cinematic camera – it just amazes me. Speaking of beauty, the game now also features a gallery in the main menu to look at artwork, which I don’t believe was in the previous versions of the game. While this certainly doesn’t make the game a must-buy, it’s nice that Bluepoint added this small sub-menu. Unfortunately, while beauty is important, I have to mention the negatives of this game as well, because there are some.

None of the negatives I mention will be deal-breakers for most people, but they really upset me because they kept the experience from being just a little bit better for me. The first problem is the controls. Now, I never played the original game on the PS2, but I know that on the PS3 version, you could remap any action to any button, so you could get whatever control scheme worked for you. The new control scheme in this game works well for the most part, especially compared to the default scheme in the PS3 version, but it doesn’t let you remap any action to any button. Sure, there are four different control schemes to choose from, but Bluepoint took a complete step backwards by not letting the players choose whatever scheme they want. The part about this that upsets me the most is Agro’s controls; many players hated how he controlled in the past versions, but I really liked his controls because I changed his accelerate button to a back button (so that I could use both analog sticks with my thumbs to steer and control the camera) – with this version, there is no control setup that allows this, meaning that it is very difficult to control him at times, at least for me. So, yeah, this will seem super nitpicky to most people, but it really annoyed me. Secondly, the physics engine (if those are the right words) still feels off – jumping with Wanderer (your character) feels really floaty and can make jumping feel very imprecise at times. I remember watching an interview with Bluepoint Games where they said that a challenge in remaking a game like this is trying to please both newcomers and longtime fans. I would guess that they kept this floaty feeling because that was in the original game, but I really wish they hadn’t. But again, those are just nitpicks and don’t detract too much from the overall experience. The only new things added to the game itself (as far as I’m aware) are gold coins littered throughout the world, but as of this writing, nobody seems to be aware of what they do. It’ll be interesting to find out over the coming days/weeks. (Also, you can save anywhere now, which is nice.)

That about covers the big differences of this remaster. So, is it worth it? If you’ve never played this game before, then I think it is worth it. It isn’t that long for a single playthrough (ten hours for my first playthrough on the PS3, six for my second with this version), but the experience is unlike most games, and there are incentives for replaying (trophies and time attack modes, for example). If price is an issue, then you could always wait for a price drop; I would absolutely recommend the game if it was $20 or less. Now, if you have played the game before, then the question is slightly more difficult and will really depend on personal preference (I know, that’s a cop-out answer). For me, the game was worth it simply because I had an extra $40 to spend in my budget and I just got a brand-new 4K TV that I wanted to test out, and this was the perfect opportunity. But, I’ve never been the type of person to buy a game solely for graphics, which is essentially the main reason to get this is, so keep that in mind if you’re considering buying the game. With all that being said, I wish you happy shopping and thanks for reading!

Shadow of the Colossus is something that will always stand the test of time; from its somber, melancholy landscape to the tense David vs Goliath battles, it is simply a privilege to be able to enjoy this adventure again redesigned. This is not a game, it is an experience; and one you will never forget.

Shadow of the Colossus really pushed the limits of the PS2 to realize the world it's set in, and yet it was way ahead of its time with what it was trying to accomplish. With the power of the PS4 and being completely rebuilt from the ground up, the fields, mountains, structures and, of course, Colossi are all rendered in detail and beauty that the game deserved. The game was already one of the most beautiful for the PS2 and now it is one of the most beautiful for the PS4. Not to say that other games like Horizon Zero Dawn and others don't also look gorgeous, but SOTC had its own unique aesthetic that sets itself apart. Wander is fully detailed, no longer a collection of polygons, Argo never looked better, and the girl... what's her name... is even more angelic now... almost literally at the end.

The gameplay is largely unchanged from the original, and in a way the fact it's unchanged makes it feel a tad dated. But it brings a huge amount of nostalgia that connects with the original, like how you shouldn't mess with the mechanics of nintendo classics like Super Mario Brothers. The story also flows exactly the same, with the same cutscenes, now a crap ton more beautiful and more complex thanks to modern computing power. I am reminded of how repetitive the gameplay is, as you take down colossus after colossus, with repetitive sequence of ending and restarting the process. But of course changing this formula would mean changing the story and whole experience.

The tactics to taking down the colossi, as well as locations of fruit and lizards, remain the same. So although it's a brand new engine and totally redone textures and designs, it feels like the same old SOTC with an insane facelift. There are some bonuses, such as unlockable gallery items, including comparisons of the graphic of the original vs the 2018 version, which makes you appreciate all the work they put into this remake. There is also a fun photo mode, which is a nice side activity when you have such beautiful scenery.

Overall highly recommended for fans of the original, and highly recommended for the uninitiated to experience for the first time.

For those who have never played this before let me be very clear so that you can make a sound decision about this purchase.

- This is a remake of a PS 2 game from the early 2000s. Which basically means that it is the exact same game right down to its old school game mechanics. So you may notice that the boy, horse and camera angles might be a little hard to get used to at first.

- This is a very simple game. The only adversaries to fight are the 16 colossi walking around the map. Every single battle basically consists of solving a puzzle in order to defeat them. The puzzle will usually consist of finding a way to disorient them, knock them down or finding ways to surprise them so that you can scale their massive bodies in order to find their weak points and attack them. There are no other enemies in this game. You travel to their locations, you defeat them, and then you do it all over again. As boring as that may sound to some, it is my personal opinion that it is actually quite fun! The world is visually stunning, so it's always like taking pleasant trips through the country. The battles themselves are challenging and always leave you with a great sense of accomplishment.

- You might think that this is a very story-rich game due to the lack of gameplay depth, but you would again, be wrong. The story is incredibly simple and blunt, with very little dialogue. You get a basic understanding of why your character is come to this land and what his goals are in the very beginning and then you get right to your task. The bulk of the game's dialogue going forward is basically the voice in the sky dropping hints on what to do when you encounter the colossi. Despite this there is still a great sense of progression in the story each time you defeat one of the giants. Focus not on the story, but instead on what your feeling each time you progress. You will probably feel great accomplishment in the beginning and then this feeling may change to something completely different (not going to spoil anything here). The depth of this story is entirely in the emotional experience and it definitely runs deep.

To sum it up this game is like the comparision of art vs. manga, with the game being art. The depth and meaning you find in this game is entirely up to you. But if you find it, I promise it will be a most profound experience. Give this classic a change and you might just find yourself playing it again and again years down the road.

First time I played this game PS2 2005 I was impressed. Definitely a five-star game with realistic controllers, super sounds and tracks and amazing graphics on the PS4 Pro. A must-buy experience! Not used to collecting stuff but will never let this one go.

What can you say? It is a true classic. No other game like it. Loved it on PS2, PS3, and feels like a dream come true to get a full blown HD remake on PS4. The Last Guardian was wonderful and I see so many connections now between the two. I've become a devoted Ueda fan. Looking forward to his next work.

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