Having never played Shadow of the Colossus when it was released on PS2 or re-released on PS3, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the PS4 remake. I know people love this game, but overexcitement tends to make me a bit sceptical. With that in mind, I dove into the Shadow of the Colossus PS4 remake review.
The first thing you’ll notice, whether you’ve played it before or not, is the scale of Shadow of the Colossus on PS4. I’ve taken a look at videos of the PS2 version and pulled out my old PS3 remake to compare. Both were pretty incredible for the time they were released, but Shadow of the Colossus is truly at home on the PS4.
No matter where you go or what you’re doing, when you’re playing Shadow of the Colossus on PS4, you can see for miles in every direction. The Forbidden Lands stretch on as far as the eye can see. And best of all, wherever you can see, you can go. The world is truly open to Wander and his faithful steed Agro. Exploring the Forbidden Lands is an experience unto itself. I lost countless hours satisfied to simply roam on horseback and take in the sights.
A very open-world
Throughout the Forbidden Lands, you won’t find much of anything to interact with aside from the titular colossi. But this is hardly an issue. Shadow of the Colossus on PS4 has such an incredibly picturesque, well-crafted world that exploring is rewarding enough. There aren’t any other characters to interact with, though there are some animals you can harass. Doing so doesn’t reward you anything, but you can fly on a hawk and ride on a fish if you so choose.
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The main point of Shadow of the Colossus is to find and defeat 16 colossi spread throughout the Forbidden Lands. Wander has been tasked with this quest by Dormin, a formless voice who claims to be able to resurrect Wander’s companion Mono. Wander is one-eyed in his goal. Never stopping or wavering. He never considers the consequences of his actions, but the player gets to.
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I found myself initially giddy at the scale and scope of the battles. The colossi were enormous and figuring out how to climb them and defeat them was a thrill. But the more I pushed forward the more guilty I felt.
The colossi are the only living things in this world and Wander kills them without a second thought, all to revive his companion. He’s greedy and selfish and in that way, he’s like large portions of humanity. We care about ourselves, but not those outside our immediate circles. Wander eventually has to face the consequences of his actions, but the damage has been done.
Open to interpretation
The narrative in Shadow of the Colossus is vague as is the nature of Dormin and the colossi. So much so that each player will be able to walk away with a different interpretation. As I was playing I was struck with the idea that Shadow of the Colossus is a game about grief and loss and the journey towards recovery. I also felt a strong environmental message. Shadow of the Colossus puts players into this pristine, gorgeous world with only one instruction. Destroy it.
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Each of the colossi is ambiguous enough to represent different animals, people or emotions. And defeating them is sure to elicit a different response in each and every player. But that’s the beauty of Shadow of the Colossus. It’s message and meaning are yours and yours alone. You play it your way and see it how you choose. The end result of Shadow of the Colossus will be informed by your life’s journey and not explicit directions on-screen.
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Thankfully, the impact of the story and the emotions are backed-up by great gameplay and puzzle solving. While each encounter is essentially a boss-fight, they’re more akin to giant moving puzzles. Figuring out how to use the environment, their own bodies and your weapons against them take time. Solving each one is rewarding and gives you a great sense of achievement. Similarly, each battle is epic in proportion and feels like an epic struggle between David and Goliath.
No other game comes close to the sense of scale found in Shadow of the Colossus.
Would you kindly?
Shadow of the Colossus on PS4 may be a remake, but it’s easily one of the best remakes ever released. Shadow of the Colossus is one of the best games ever made and it deserves to be experienced in the incredible form Bluepoint Games has delivered.
I hadn’t played it before, but I’m so glad this remake saw the light of day.
This is a title for all PS4 owners, all gamers and all those looking for something that’s guaranteed to make them feel something.
Shadow of the Colossus PS4 Remake Review was carried out using a code provided to PowerUp! by PlayStation Australia.
Game Title: Shadow of the Colossus
The emotional punch it's packing - 10/10
The gently unraveling story - 10/10
Somewhat iffy camera and controls at times - 8.5/10