Have we reached remaster saturation point? This is the question I asked myself when I sat down to start playing Shadow Of The Colossus, the latest remaster from Sony/Bluepoint studios reviving the 2005 PS2 classic with a fresh coat of paint. I never experienced the original but have heard endless praise about how great it is.
The premise of the game remains the same, a young boy is trying to save a dead girl from a cursed fate, he finds a mysterious being who has the power to bring her back. In return the boy must kill the lands Colossi, all 16 of them to be exact. This is also added with the Colossi themselves, having them not feeling intimidating at all or even worthy of being slain leaves that lingering thought of “Is what I’m doing right?” and that is what scared me the most throughout this journey. It sounds quite simple and it is, yet the detail and graphics are where this game shines. The controls and camera are a different kettle of fish and feel lacklustre and laggy at the best of times which unfortunately is to the detriment of the game.
I enjoy a challenge, games that have different controls usually spark my interest because it forces me to learn something new rather than the usual X for jump, R2 for shoot combo that most games default on. Colossus takes this one step too far and requires clunky controls like two buttons to perform a dodge roll is a little antiquated. Combining this with the overuse of Papyrus font (a definite sin!) and annoyingly hard to control camera, the gameplay just doesn’t cut it for a 2018 game.
What does stand out for this game are the jaw dropping visuals, the graphics are so gorgeous and distracting I found myself just wanting to ride around the land over and over, attempting to head off into the distances and explore new areas similar to Breath Of The Wild. This is also reflected in the Colossi as well, they are gorgeously detailed and gargantuan proportions really emit a sense of magic and wonder that other games just can’t deliver. Scale is also a huge (pardon the pun) element of this game. The mere contrast between the main character and the creatures is a great part of what makes this game incredible.
Having the creatures blending into and emerging from the rock wall and scenery is a beauty to behold, they feel natural and like they belong in this world. Similarly the detail and effects of water and light look incredible on a 4K TV with the PS4 Pro in both cinematic and performance mode. I reviewed the majority of this game on the PS4 Slim and found it to be one of the best looking games on the standard PS4 model I have ever played. If you need any further proof head to our Facebook page and check out the image gallery for screen captures and prepare your jaw to drop.
The environment has this fantastical old world feel to it, it reminded me a lot of an 80’s Jim Henson like The Dark Crystal, even with similarly eerie music to add to the effect. The whole feel and design of this world has been so well and thoroughly thought out and detailed it is worth the price of admission based on that alone.
A variety of different modes have been added to the game with an Easy, which the original game didn’t have as well as a photo mode that is calling my name after this review is done. Hard mode also returns and we found a few collectibles around the world that we aren’t sure what they are for/contribute to but if I find out I will be sure to update this review. There are also time trials to complete that provide you with some upgrades like stronger weapons, different coloured versions of your horse Agro and a parachute that assists with exploration. It should be noted that these are not necessary to complete the game, but they do help and make the game a little easier to complete.
Shadow Of The Colossus is a classic and this remaster cements itself as to why this remains one of the best games ever made. The emotional story that shows true consequences for actions mixed with a sweeping score and jaw dropping cinematics and graphics combine to deliver one of the best experiences I have ever had on the PS4. Control and camera annoyances aside, the story and graphics are what is to be marveled at here and worth every cent.
Novastream were provided with a free review copy of Shadow Of The Colossus from Playstation and was reviewed on the PS4 slim.
Shadow Of The Colossus releases 07/02.
Review by Alaisdair Leith