Shadow of the Colossus
Cited as one of the most important games to be released on the PlayStation, the revamped and re-visualised version of the 2002 PS2 classic will appeal if you’re in a mood for nostalgia – but may frustrate if you remember some of the issues of The Last Guardian’s release last year.
Essentially a spiritual quest with some fight sequences thrown in, Shadow of the Colossus puts you in the position of playing Wander, a boy who, as the game starts, appears to be carrying the body of a girl on the back of his horse.
As he lays her body down in a shrine in a temple, Wander’s given the chance to bring her back to life – if he slays the various Colossi wandering the land. Each of their deaths returns a piece of his beloved’s soul to life.
However, it’s not that easy to achieve.
With a sword that shines a light to the location of the nearest Colossus and a trusty steed to transport you to where you have to go, it should, in theory, be simple.
But the game’s edges may leave you extremely frustrated if you’re not fully engaged with the arc of the journey.
While the remaster for the PS4 has made the vast lands that Wander travels through sparkle and come to life, with the grasses swaying in the breeze and horizons seeming more defined than earlier iterations of the game, there are still some previous console tics that make the game a rip-your-face-off frustration.
Principally, an appalling camera that spins around really grates – it barely centres on what you fully want it to when it’s most crucially needed.
Much like The Last Guardian’s camera issues which left jumping a gamble, Shadow Of The Colossus’s camera can take you out of a fight at a crucial moment, meaning you’re stomped on and dead before you can take stock of where you are.
Equally, Wander’s horse Agro is nigh on uncontrollable at the most basic of times – unless you’re doing anything other than flying forward in a straight line. It’ll hurtle into walls, graphic glitches cause the critter to mesh with rock formations and bizarrely, it’ll climb some rocks and not others.
The lack of consistency is puzzling at best, and irritating as hell at worst.
It’s a shame because these two central niggles actually do more to remove you from the gameplay than you’d ever like.
At the moments when it soars, Shadow of The Colossus is incredible.
Taking on a titan and clambering up and around it to bring it down is a task in itself. Whether the beast tries to shake you loose or you spend time hanging on for dear life, the fight scenes, along with their stunning orchestrations and OST, are riveting to play – and warrant the time investment.
There are spiritual moments within the game as well, but while the original Shadow of the Colossus may have garnered a PS2 and PS3 redo, the PS4’s lush-looking remaster looks great, even if it plays like a last gen game.
It’s obvious that Shadow of the Colossus is trading on the nostalgia of users at a quieter time, and while this is definitely a game that’s more about the journey than the stopovers, it may be puzzling to the current generation who trade other specifics over emotional investment and time.
Rating: M Fantasy Violence.