It was in 2005 that Shadow of the Colossus graced the PS2 and became one of the best PS2 games, if not the best. Thirteen years later, this timeless classic has been reintroduced with a fresh coat of paint for today’s generation of gamers.
So how does it hold up?
In this review, we will go over all aspects of this game in detail, such as graphics, gameplay, story, and overall experience. However, to understand the pedigree of what we are looking at here, we need to look at one more aspect of this game which is its Legacy.
When it comes to timeless classics in video games, very few games have the impact of Shadow of the Colossus. I remember the first time I booted up the original SOTC on my PS2, back in 2005. I entered completely blind, not knowing anything about this game. There are no reviews or spoilers in its day. After the initial hurdle of trying to figure out the mechanics of climbing, it was a moment of wonder that only a few games could provide at the time.
Fast forward 12 years, the second colossus was released. He knew this was a rare masterpiece that needed to be savored. And I was not the only one who shared this feeling. Almost everyone who has played this game has had a weakness regardless of whether they finished it once or, as in my case, at least a dozen times.
But games have come a long way since 2005. And the wide variety of genres and advancements in mechanics that we’ve experienced in these 2 generations of consoles since PS2 is astounding, which is why I am speechless when I see how well the game works. PS4 version. of this game remains today.
The main story of SOTC can be written in a few sentences. The man tries to save the beloved Monkey. Man is offered the opportunity to do so by killing 16 colossi. The man does. And then the end. But there is much more complexity to this simple story. You can’t help but fall in love with all the characters. From Agro, your faithful steed, to the tramp, the protagonist and each of the 16 magnificent colossi. All of this only leads to an emotional blow every time you kill these colossi. And not to mention an ending that is both outright heartbreak and beautiful.
Part of the charm of SOTC lies in how simple everything is, and the underlying complexity is born in the mind of the player. It may have been due to the limitations of the PS2 that things were kept so simple, but Bluepoint games have used that simplicity along with the graphical fidelity of the PS4, delivered in spades. This game is one of the best PS4 games right now. Everything in this game, from the landscapes to the towering colossi, has been redone from scratch. And the result is phenomenal. There is astonishing attention to detail in every nook and cranny of this game. And these images play a vital role in the overall experience of this remake.
How to play
The main gameplay of SOTC is to travel the landscapes of the cursed land on the back of your horse, in search of the next Colossus. It remains for you to discover where to go with the help of your sword, which reflects rays of light in the direction of the target. Once you find the Colossi, you need to figure out how to take them down, as each of them needs a different strategy and planning. This keeps the game fresh until the end. Reminiscent of the simple theme of the game is your arsenal, consisting only of a sword, a bow and an arrow.
Despite all the praise this game commands, there’s no denying that the controls were a bit quirky. Even in the PS2 days, we’ve had games with much better controls than SOTC. While we can’t say this has been fully resolved in the remake, here are some notable changes. The button layout is designed to appeal to today’s gamers, who can be reconfigured to the original settings if desired. In addition to this, there are now also in-game collectibles and some clever Easter eggs that reference other Ueda games.
While the main game can be finished in about 10 hours, longevity is provided through other difficulty settings and quirky rewards. And a mirrored mode that, well, mirrors the game screen and feels surprisingly cool. Add to this a Photo mode that allows you to take screenshots of the game, with various filters and tools. Honestly, I spent hours here and the end results are amazing.
The original PS2 SOTC took gamers breathless and added to the notion that video games are an art. It was timeless in its own right and didn’t need a remaster. But this remastering was still done and the result is a masterpiece. If the PS4 had come out in 2005, this could have been Fumito Ueda’s original vision. We may never know, but as gamers, we can only thank the creators for making this happen. SOTC on the PS4 is not just an essential classic, but a timeless classic that sets new standards for remakes.