Shadow of the Colossus
…does a superb job of bringing the work up to a standard appropriate for modern sensibilities…
Shadow of the Colossus is one of those video games that gets talked about in an awed hush as wide-eyed fans tell breathless tales of their first experience with the title. Originally released in 2005 for Playstation 2, the game by developers Team Ico (Ico, The Last Guardian) holds a revered place in the pop cultural pantheon, and with good reason. Shadow is an extraordinary game, mysterious, complex, obtuse and yet somehow emotionally resonant. It’s a dark fairy tale about a young boy, Wander, trying to bring his female companion, Mono, back to life, by killing a bunch of staggeringly massive monsters called colossi.
On the surface said premise sounds a little like this year’s Monster Hunter: World but the titles couldn’t be more different. Whereas Monster Hunter becomes a slash and grind game designed to absorb your precious free time like a hungry maw, Colossus is a shorter, more contemplative experience, which is why it’s often brought up during discussions of video games as art.
Mechanically the game is deceptively simple: you have a sword, a bow and a horse. You can also climb stuff and leap on and off things. Yet even with this small pool of abilities the game manages to change things up to an incredible degree, by forcing you to clamber up the massive colossi – each essentially a living puzzle – and find the hidden way to bring them down.
The news of this HD remaster for PS4 is especially good for people who’ve never played the game. Honestly, if you own a PS4 and haven’t experienced Shadow’s stunningly original charms you need to make this your next purchase. The graphics look superb, especially running on a PS4 Pro, and if you didn’t know this was a remaster you’d absolutely believe the game was a brand new IP, albeit an unusually cheap one at a price point below fifty bucks.
For those of you who have played Shadow of the Colossus before it’s perhaps a little less essential. Don’t get me wrong, the game still stands up and then some, but if you’ve taken this journey a half dozen times before there’s not a lot new waiting for you, other than a beautiful presentation and slightly tweaked controls.
Ultimately Shadow of the Colossus was a near masterpiece in 2005 and it remains so. The remaster does a superb job of bringing the work up to a standard appropriate for modern sensibilities and the story remains strange, sad and a bit wonderful.