Title: Shadow of the Colossus
Platform: PS4 (reviewed)
Developer: Bluepoint Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release date: Out now.
tl;dr: A grand adventure reborn in glorious detail thanks to Bluepoint Games!
Price: PS4 – $40/£30
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

In 2005, Fumito Ueda released a gem known as Shadow of the Colossus, the spiritual successor to the charming Ico. Fast forward 13 years and Ueda-san’s masterpiece has been reborn on PlayStation 4 with a tightened controls and physics all thanks to the team at Bluepoint Games.

The story of Shadow of the Colossus follows the protagonist, Wander as he journeys to the Forbidden Land to try and revive Mono, a girl who was sacrificed thanks to an apparently cursed destiny. Upon his arrival at the Shrine of Worship, Wander is confronted by the disembodied voice of Dormin, the God of the Forbidden Land, Wander bargains with Dormin to revive Mono. The God graciously accepts but Wander must slay 16 mystical colossi for Dormin in return for Mono’s revival.

Firstly, I just have to say, holy shit does this game look gorgeous! Everything looks brand new and fresh whilst maintaining it’s nostalgic appeal, the Forbidden Land has so much foliage now thanks to current gen technology, this is clearly the world Team Ico envisioned 13 years ago. Plus, the colossi have incredible hair visuals that realistically brush against one another as the colossi move or as a gentle breeze flows by. Although the Forbidden Land is barren, this remake has brought the world to life which gives me a whole new sense of wonder when exploring a new but familiar world.

I mentioned earlier they had tightened the controls and physics as this was a huge complaint with the original title (and is why still to this day, I can’t achieve the platinum trophy for the PS3 HD Remaster.) No longer does Wander flip everywhere when the colossi make the slightest of moves, unfortunately, Agro still controls poorly in narrow spaces but I generally find horses an issue in games. Bluepoint added various controller presets for people who are new to the game and a control scheme for the veteran players who have been playing Shadow of the Colossus since it’s PS2 days. I personally prefer the classic control scheme as I just naturally hit the triangle button to jump instead of the cross button although the modern preset fits what’s generally accepted as the universal controls for games now.

The music is just as beautiful as ever with every track matching up to the current mood, whether it’s the daunting overture that rises as you stand at the feet of a towering colossus or the epic and triumphant music that plays as your finally scale that colossi and lay the smackdown. Every piece of music perfectly suited to each encounter and scene, thank you, Kou Otani, you are truly a talented man.

Even though, the world of Shadow of the Colossus is empty without anything to fight beside the 16 colossi, it’s a world that still has a few things hiding within it, with fruit trees that expand your health bar or the silver tailed lizards that scutter about making catching their tails a bit of a nightmare but when you do manage to get them, the satisfying glow your stamina meter makes as it gradually extends is filled with pure joy.

Plus, there’s a couple of easter eggs referring to the other two titles in Team Ico’s library one of which will net you a trophy and Bluepoint Games decided to add another hidden set of collectables in the game which nets you a little reward that’s a little lackluster for the amount of work that needs to be put in.

Finally, let’s talk about photo mode, the glorious timewaster which helped me grab some beautiful screenshots for this review. It seems to be a growing trend especially with Sony’s first party games to include a photo mode but I’ve never used one as much before. The photo mode allows you to “Instagram” your shots with various filters whilst playing around with the contrast, exposure and focus giving you a level of professional video game photography that you could easily hang up in a studio.

Overall, Shadow of the Colossus is definitely a game you should grab if you haven’t already as this review is little late… Bluepoint Games definitely capture the original essence of the classic whilst giving a fresh coat of paint that’ll stand out on PlayStation 4. So, buy Shadow of the Colossus now and see for yourself if you’ve never played it why this game is considered one of the greatest games of all time.

The Good

  • Breathtaking visuals with an incredible level of detail.
  • Everything is perfectly recreated.
  • Photo mode gives me the option to capture every beautiful vista.

The Bad

  • The reward from the new collectibles is a little lackluster.
  • Agro is still hard to control in tight spaces.
  • They didn’t give me the cut colossi…

Family Focus

Shadow of the Colossus is rated T for Teen by ESRB and PEGI 12. The game is about slaying 16 mythical colossus to rescue the girl you love.

This review is based on a physical copy of the game purchased for the purposes of this review.