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Shadow of the Colossus 2018 Review

By Alexander Cattani – Culture of Gaming

Released thirteen years ago, Shadow of the Colossus was a benchmark in modern gaming and added much needed legitimacy to the notion of “games as art”. While this connotation might be tired in the today’s climate, back in 2005 some would argue that a conversation such as this was needed in order to propel gaming into a respectable mainstream space. Regardless of one’s stance on the long dead issue saying Shadow of the Colossus wasn’t a boundary-pushing title would be disingenuous. From its minimalist yet engaging gameplay loop, to its melancholy narrative, Shadow of the Colossus took risks in a myriad of ways that made it stand head and shoulders above its genre contemporaries.

Now in 2018, gamers have a chance to relive one of the PlayStation 2’s most seminal titles, retouched and beautified for the current generation. Seeing the great expanse that makes up the game’s world has always been a stop and stare moment. Admiring the environment now makes for an even more breathtaking experience. Developer Bluepoint Games did way more than just add a fresh coat of paint to an existing masterpiece. They made a thirteen-year-old title come alive again and look like it fits right in line with current gen properties. From the thick locks of hair on each Colossi that rustle in the wind, to the ancient-looking iconography that adorns the many of the interiors of the world, each desolate location and Colossus manages to teem with life and character thanks to skillfully executed redesign choices.

Retouch work has always been a part of Blupoint games’ skill set but with this remaster, the studio truly has outdone themselves.

While the title looks magnificent, playing Shadow of The Colossus hasn’t always been my favourite part. I found the gameplay to be antiquated. The jumping, movement and platforming always felt too swimmy and imprecise for my liking. This version does a lot to alleviate these outdated controls by tightening them and remapping some buttons. With this said, don’t expect to be playing a super tight version of the game. During my playtime, many platforms were missed and Colossi fallen from due to the controls not being what they could be but make no mistake, the title is still very much playable and its shortcomings in the control category can be overlooked as you will be rewarded with an engrossing and truly epic experience.

Shadows’ story fallows a wanderer as he enters a mysterious locale in hopes of resurrecting his beloved. Shortly after our nameless hero’s arrival, an otherworldly presence greets him and grants him a task in order to being back his partner. Simple yet engaging, Shadow of the Colossus’ story is a tragic tale of love and what lengths one would go to for it. Forget about branching narratives, backstories, lore and flavour text, Shadow of the Colossus’ story is as pure as it gets.

Those expecting a bevy of new content features in this remaster should temper expectations. Graphical fidelity, 4K support and slightly tightened controls aside, only a handful of subtle new additions in the form of Easter eggs are to be found. The Easter eggs are of course better discovered than read about as they’re sure to please fans of Fumito Ueda’s works. Those utilizing the titles 4K features have access to two graphical modes that slightly differ. “Cinematic mode” utilizes the 4K resolution. This mode makes the title even that more beautiful but in turn drops the frame rate to 30 FPS. On the other hand, “Performance mode” swaps out some good looks for a experience that targets 60 FPS.

Shadow of the Colossus is an essential title and still holds a significant spot within the pantheon of gaming. While some of its mechanics have since been eclipsed by modern titles, its influence will never be forgotten. Bluepoint Games knocked it out of the ballpark and delivered a remake worthy of playing whether it be your first time in Fumito Ueda’s finely crafted world or your 50th.

THE GOOD
Newly designed assets look beautiful.
Controls tightened.
Neat new Easter eggs
THE BAD
Not much in the way of bonus content.
While improved, controls are still a little too weighty.
9
Superb

Review Summary

Bluepoint games managed to put out the best versions of one of the greatest titles to ever be released on a PlayStation console. It’s an essential playthrough for any gamer.