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Shadow of the Colossus review

On January 31, 2018 by Ash Meehan

When first released for the PlayStation 2 in 2005, Shadow of the Colossus was considered an outright masterpiece with its interesting gameplay and colossal encounters, now 13 years later Sony Interactive Entertainment has brought the beloved game to the PlayStation 4 in the form of a remake. While a remake usually might make you believe that changes were made to the original game, Bluepoint Games -the developers- focuses on remaking the game’s assets in an effort to create an absolutely graphically stunning game.

While Shadow of the Colossus has been around for a long time I never had the opportunity to play it, which means that I only know of how great it is from other sources, but now that I’ve finally experienced Shadow of the Colossus I’m left with mixed feelings.

The primary goal of getting on your horse and hunting down and killing 16 colossi is an ease to understand premise, but the acts of getting to each colossus can be a bit of a nightmare as you have to put up with a horse that is prone to not running at a constant speed and the sword that guides you to your next colossus isn’t entirely accurate as I found it leading me in the wrong direction on multiple occasions, at one point I had to resort to looking up an old PS2 guide in order to find where I had to go. With that said when you finally manhandle your horse to the correct location, you must prepare for a challenging 1 on 1 fight with a towering colossus… Hang on, I mean running around a room trying to find out how to use the environment to disable the colossus long enough for you to climb onto its back to stab it repeatedly in its weak spot until you either kill it or run out of stamina. If you run out of stamina and fall of the colossus you have to go through the puzzle to get onto the colossus all over again.

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Now, I know it sounds like I didn’t like the colossus encounters, but the truth is I found each one to be truly interesting. The game has things start out easy with a simple grab and pull your way up the colossus and kill it, all the way up to getting a colossus to stomp on a certain spot so you can get to higher ground and use the high ground to jump onto its weak spot. My issue with the game is how annoying it can make the process. For example, in the game, you can grab ledges to climb up and reach new locations, but the game does a poor job of distinguishing between what ledges you can grab and which you cannot. This, in turn, led to many frustrating moments, especially during the final colossus encounter where on multiple occasions I grabbed a ledge or grab point only for the game to tell me I couldn’t grab it and let me fall or slid down to a potential death or ledge that I could grab.

The process of grabbing onto and climbing a colossus is rather interesting because once you get onto a colossus it will trash about like a bucking bronco attempting to throw off its rider. To stay on a colossus during this process you have a stamina bar that determines your grip on the Colossus, as the creature thrashes you begin to lose grip, but when it subsides and if you find a flat area you can let go and refill your stamina bar and go back to looking for a weak spot to stab.

With all the talk about the Colossi, I never talked about how they look. Well, despite their name they are not all giant creatures, sure they are all bigger than you, but some are relatively tiny when compared against a colossus that is as big as skyscrapers.

Now, I talked a lot about the gameplay and the Colossi, so let’s look at the story. Shadow of the Colossus has a rather bare-bones story that features obvious plot twists. At the beginning of the game, you are a nameless protagonist who brings a dead woman to a temple in order to ask the gods to bring her back to life. Seemingly a god hears the protagonist’s calls and agrees to bring the woman back to life, but only if you kill 16 colossi and so without thinking you get on your horse and hunt down and kill all the colossi. However, after successfully killing a colossus you are rewarded with getting drowned in black goo and reappearing in the temple. I’ll try not to spoil anything, but the ending while predictable makes for a decent twist on several well establish fairy tale tropes.

In terms of controls, Shadow of the Colossus is a rather frustrating experience. Apart from the previously mentioned horse controls the camera loves to wander with the game thinking that looking at a rock face is more important than trying to get my horse to turn in the right direction. It can also be a tad difficult to orientate your character while on a colossus as your character’s muted colours make it difficult to spot which way your character is facing after the colossus finishes thrashing about.

In terms of new content for the PlayStation 4 version, I know I mentioned the graphics, but I just want to add that the game now has a photo mode, which allows you to pause the game to take a photo and add in post photo effects such as a filter.

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Conclusion

Shadow of the Colossus for the PS4 is a visually stunning game that offers some interesting gameplay. Unfortunately, the game does have some minor annoyances that can hamper your experience.

Score: 7.5/10

Pros Cons
+ Visually stunning experience – Controls and camera are a letdown
+ Finding out how to defeat a colossus is fun  
   
Developer Publisher Genre Rating Platform Release date
Bluepoint Games Sony Interactive Entertainment Adventure 12+ PlayStation 4 February 6, 2018

*A review code was provided by the game’s publisher.*

For more information on Shadow of the Colossus, visit https://www.playstation.com/en-us/games/shadow-of-the-colossus-ps4/.

Author: Ash Meehan

Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.


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