Wednesday, 31 January 2018 20:56

REVIEW: Shadow Of The Colossus (Playstation 4)

Written by StacefaceMayhem
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This game has been on my “To Play” list for a long, long time. I just loved everything about it’s art style, something that also drew me into “The Last Guardian”. I was ecstatic to see it slide across my desk at work (what am I dreaming, it’s all a code sent in email now a day... let me dream of the past for a second here) because so many people still rave about it on the internet 13 years later, after it’s original release on PlayStation all those years ago. So, what is the big deal about ‘Shadows Of The Colossus’ PS4 Edition?

Sony are infamous for the cash cow that is a remastered or remade edition of a game, with releases such as the Crash Bandicoot Trilogy, The Last of Us, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and even Nathan Drake, himself coping a facelift and graphics upgrades. A complete overhaul of a game released in 2005 on PS2 by SIE Japan Studio and Team Ico, is no easy feat and while this game is presented to the world as what seems like a remastered edition, it is in fact actually a rebuild per se. Developers Bluepoint Games, who are particularly noted for their remasters, have single handedly reconstructed this game from the ground up, with new lighting layers, shadows, detailed object rendering, motion mapping and streamlined movement, this game despite being the same has been built from the foundation up, from scratch if you will.

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In a very Romeo and Juliet like fashion, this tale begins with Wander, a warrior of the lands, stricken in grief due to the sacrificial offering of the young girl, Mono, to stave off a terrifying curse of the realms. A power stronger than Wander could ever imagine, has offered their help to revive his love, bestowing the dire hero with the power of light in his sword, and questing him with the task of wiping out the 16 colossi that ‘plague’ the countryside, to have his wish granted. Roaming the forests, grassland, mountains and even skies on your trusty horse, Agro, it is your job to defeat each of these, unique and captivating giant beasts, before they get to you first.

This game requires you to run but mainly steer your horse in the direction of the nearest attacking Titan. Each Colossi is technically a boss battle, a huge beast to be taken down. Some people may be disappointed in the fact that the huge open world doesn’t produce many challenges, and the thought of only 16 clashes as dull. Do not be deterred by this premise as the body of each of these goliath monsters are a platforming stage and puzzle themselves, with you having to climb their bodies to find their weak spots.

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The game mechanics lets you swap between sword and bow, and even standing up for a better shot, all the while still on horseback. Wander possesses many of the clique adventuring skills, jumping, climbing, swimming and dive rolls to traverse the terrain. The button mapping has been tweaked a little, however the original PS2 controls are still available, but why would you want too, when all the movements seem so god damn fluid already.

Every movement just feels so right and real, the flapping in the water as Wander attempts to cumbersomely swim (because what warrior really can streamline through with all that gear), even steering Agro will yank his head painfully in the direction, as if he was a real horse. Something as simple as Wander teetering on the edge of a ledge, arms flailing as he tumbles over the side, is heart warming as you realise how much attention to detail is really in the little things in the background.

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The characters are quite endearing, with even Agro himself displaying a personality. The Colossi, each unique, beautiful and teeming with detailed features to look at are a highlight in themselves, which sucks because they are generally chasing after you that you don’t have time to take it all in. Visually, the game is stunning, cutscenes and play wise. My jaw literally dropped to the floor as the opening scene played, I was captivated from the very get go. The environments are so breath taking, detailed and vibrant, that you can see every crack in every rock, dust bouncing off the surface as Agro pounds along the dusty trails, and individual blades of grass dancing in the wind.

Every shadow casted by the characters and the landscape surrounding is immaculate, often during battle, painting the ground at your feet. Running at 30 fps at 1080p on PS4, is impressive, on the PS4 Pro however you can run it in Performance Mode or in Cinematic Mode. Now while Cinematic Mode was no laughing matter running at an upscaled 1440p for 4K TV’s, I found it was a no brainer to run it in Performance Mode with those crisp 60 fps. It just ran that much noticeably better.

The audio also compliments it so well, whether it be the galloping of hooves, whistle of the wind down foreboding valleys or the orchestra belting out atmospheric symphonies as you gear up for a battle with your giant foes, each is bound to send a shiver of eagerness down your spine.

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So polished is the experience that even the camera angles play an integral part in showing the magnitude of the story and world. Often the camera will pan right out as you charge across barren plains showing how wide it stretches in both directions or zoom right in strategically to make you feel the greatness and scale of the battle you are about to commence with each Colossi. Despite this the camera angles that you control yourself, disappointingly can be a bit jarring, especially in battles. Not as badly as I found with a very similar, almost relative game “The Last Guardian” but at times, quite noticeable. It’s not terribly bad, but neither is it the quality that is you would expect with so much that has been done right in this game.

You know it is good, when even after it has been revamped it feels fresh and revived and plays as if it is a brand-new title. I couldn’t put the controller down, which is strange for me as I hate the PS4 controller. ‘Shadows of the Colossus’ is a must have for a PS4 Pro owner, in fact I definitely recommend it to anyone that has never played the original, because it is a very memorable, immersive experience. Every part of this game engrossed me, the story, the gameplay, the style and especially the aesthetic. What can I say, I’m a girl, I like pretty things, and this is certainly the prettiest game I have seen in a long time.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 4.8 / 5.0
  • Release Date: 7th February 2018
  • Platform: PS4
  • Developer: Team Ico, Sony Interactive Entertainment, SIE Japan Studio
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Genre: Action / Adventure