It made a GIANT impact on my life.
I’ll say it now at the beginning. Shadow of the Colossus (SotC) is my favorite game of all time and it all started back in ’06 when a friend and I saw it randomly in a shop and didn’t even think twice about buying it. It seemed intriguing and back in those days, I didn’t really have a platform to know everything about every game coming out, so it was a genuine surprise. Either way, we got home, put it on and didn’t stop playing it till it was finished. I’ve played it many times since, either on the PS2 (where it launched) or on the PS3 (where it was sort of remastered but not in the same way). Its currently 8:00 AM and I went to bed around 3:30 AM, and that’s because yesterday was my birthday and to celebrate after dinner, I decided to play my favorite game of all time (beautifully remastered on the PS4) “just like old times”. I barely got any sleep and I loved every second of it.
If you haven’t played SotC before, it’s pretty easy to explain, but with that ease, it makes the game sound less exciting than it is. Essentially, you are a boy, and you want to bring a girl to life, so you make a deal with a god to bring her back. The deal is that you must kill 16 Colossi for an unknown reason, but its hinted that at the end, there will be consequences that the boys chooses to ignore. So that’s it, you explore an open (and beautifully barren but stunning) world and find the 16 enemies and kill them. Doesn’t seem like much, but that’s part of the reason I like it so much. I want to feel alone, I want to feel small, I want to feel helpless and I want to feel brave and this game excels at giving me everything that I would want from a game like this.
I’ll start my review on the gameplay, and its… good? This is something I always go back and forth on. I like the realistic nature of every time you jump high, you stumble and if something rocks an area you’re standing on, you will lose footing. Which gives me a feeling of realism, but I can understand the unfamiliarity for newcomers and then the added confusion as there are other aspects that may be different to modern games. Besides the interesting movement, the controls and basic concepts are also not very often seen today as you’re given a stamina bar and most things you have to do to take down a colossus, use up this bar up. Other than that, there only one other gameplay mechanic that is used often and that’s the faithful steed, “Agro”. This horse can be called to you, ridden, and can be controlled to run up aside colossi as you stand on its back and shoot arrows. It’s fantastic. Although with great power, comes poor controls, as sometimes the horse may get stuck on tiny rocks or small ledges. Though aside from those small gripes, he controls well normally and is a necessity when taking down many of the bosses.
The main take away from this remaster that I personally get the most from, is the incredible jump of improvements in graphics this game now takes. I played this game originally on PS2 and it looked good but in a stylised way. It now looks absolutely incredible and I cannot and will not stop saying it. Even for a game out in 2018, it still looks top in its class. I’m going to put screenshots in every single gap of my writing I can because no amount of words can describe the sheer amount of amazement and joy I got from playing this game.
The music was great although I don’t feel like it got much of an upgrade? I could be wrong, but it felt the same. That’s not to say it isn’t great but some parts fell flat but that could be that I was playing it at 1 am and I was tired, or it could just be plain. I’m not saying this game is perfect (I mean, it is to me) but I can see its faults. The control scheme is a little fiddly and I had to do some crazy hand movements to beat the sand snake boss and I wasn’t too impressed. That being said, the controls were actually improved from the last one (surprisingly) and there is an option where you can change to the old controls, but you would have to pay me to try and play like that now. There wasn’t much else that I didn’t really enjoy, except that it ended when I finished it.
The experience was fantastic, and the game was a joy to play. I can’t guarantee that everybody will like this game. I can probably assume that many of the aspects of the game will not be someone’s cup of tea. But does this mean you shouldn’t try it? Absolutely not. I didn’t know what I was getting into originally and it turned out to be my favorite game for over 12 years. This remaster is brilliant, and I love it, and it almost seems to be made for me, but please if you like beautiful games and you’re tired of the same old thing coming out every year, try this masterpiece.
Note: We were given a copy of Shadow of the Colossus from Playstation to review.