One of the PlayStation 2’s most iconic games is back. Shadow of the Colossus, hailed at its 2005 launch as one of the console’s artistic greats, is set to get a full remake for the PS4 on February 6. Reviewers weighed in with their opinions on the redux, and it looks like publisher Sony is onto a winner.
“In 2005 Shadow of the Colossus was a masterpiece and that remains so in 2018,” John Robertson wrote in his five-star review for The Telegraph. “This is one of the greatest games ever made and is an accolade that shows no sign of being detached from its monumental presence.”
Created by Fumito Ueda, the same mind behind PS2 classic Ico and PS4 sleeper hit The Last Guardian, the game focuses on a boy that visits a forbidden land to slay 16 giants in a quest to win a girl’s heart. Although it seems fairly pedestrian on paper, the landscape’s rolling emptiness and the sheer size of the beasts that captures the player’s imagination.
“Shadow of the Colossus is such a sad, beautiful, thrilling game,” Oli Welsh wrote in his review for Eurogamer. “It’s so bold in its austerity; compared to the frantic busywork of today’s games, its sheer emptiness comes as a relief. So does its rejection of the triumphalism and moral certainty that underwrite virtually every other action game. It’s a classic, and it’s a privilege to play it in this stunning new form.”
In the 13 years since its original release, developer Bluepoint has taken advantage of the power of the PS4 and PS4 Pro rebuild the game in 4K resolutions. This has allowed the game to move past some of the technical limitations of the older hardware, delivering a more immersive experience.
“On the PS2, it came off like a game that was too ambitious for the hardware,” Stephen Riach wrote in his review for Game-Over. “The PS3 version was hamstrung by being too close to the PS2 original for authenticity, while the remake takes the core game’s concept and shows you how it can be done with modern-day hardware. The experience is incredible on both PS4 and PS4 Pro hardware and a must-buy for anyone who always wanted to play the game but didn’t have either the hardware to do it or the time to play it before.”
However, some aspects of these changes didn’t sit right with reviewers. The landscapes, now sharper in focus, make the game feel less hazy. Whether this change is acceptable depends on the reviewer.
“Faraway vistas originally looked formless due to a coupling of artistic vision and technical limitation,” A.J. Moser wrote in his review for Daily Dot. “Without Fumito Ueda’s direct oversight and with the PS4 Pro’s 4K capabilities, Bluepoint Games was able to eschew both halves of that equation for this new version. What this means is that while the new Shadow of the Colossus is more impressive, it can’t help feeling less expressive.”
Ultimately, it seems the PS4 Pro has received one of the best ways to demonstrate its visual prowess just one month into the new year.
“This Colossus is very much its own uncanny thing,” Chris Plante wrote in his review for Polygon. “Like dreaming about a childhood vacation, it feels real, and yet, slightly askew.”