Developer: Bluepoint Games
Release Date: February 8, 2018
Written by Rick Warren / Gfn2112
The announcement that a Shadow of the Colossus Remake was on the way came out of nowhere but was welcomed by virtually everyone. It’s a game that’s cherished by so many, and it’s stood tall for years as an example of why video games are so special. Having already remastered it for the PlayStation 3, Bluepoint took on a greater task by fully recreating this iconic game for PS4. Thankfully, they absolutely succeeded, and in doing so created something special that raises the standard for all remakes in the future.
“Thy next foe is...”
To get it out of the way, there are no new colossi in this remake. Truthfully, though? That’s okay. As incredible as the cut colossi may have looked, Fumito Ueda and Team Ico had never been able to make them work. Trying to do so now would be an unnecessary risk and could ultimately damage this beloved title. Shadow of the Colossus is an all-time classic where Wander faces 16 gigantic foes, and that’s the exact game Bluepoint adapted for modern day. Further, that adaptation is absolute perfection.
All sixteen of the iconic boss fights remain the same, with the attacks of the colossi and weak points seamlessly carrying over to this version. Saying that it was a joy remembering how to take down the colossal opponents would be an understatement. Every fight remains jaw-dropping, and the diversity of each battle remains a tremendous strength of Shadow. New players will be mesmerized that this was once a PlayStation 2 game, because every aspect of it feels modern and smooth.
The soundtrack and storyline remain intact as well and deliver the same punch they did over a decade ago. The beautiful score makes every plunge of the Ancient Sword satisfying, and it doesn’t let up until the 16th Colossus falls, and the game comes to its heart-wrenching conclusion. Time Attack Mode remains accessible for anyone who is looking for more of a challenge, along with Reminiscence Mode and New Game Plus. Everything that was great about Shadow of the Colossus is here, and it is still great today.
Though the majority of PS4’s version of Shadow is exactly like the original, Bluepoint took the liberty of adding a few clever touches. Accompanying the fruit and lizards is a new collectable, which you may have heard of due to the sheer mystery of everything: the gold coins/enlightenments. There are 79 of them, and the player can gather them like any other collectable: through exploring the open world. The key issue, however, was that their locations (and their reward) remained hidden. All that was given to the community was a hint at how many coins there were via the credits. The search resulted in Shadow of the Colossus fans from all eras coming together to solve the puzzle, and after days of hard work, they succeeded. This extra collectible offered a cool-but-small reward, yet its sheer existence offered so much more. Bluepoint managed to bring its player base together in a way that was different from any singleplayer game, and it happened without damaging the regular experience. It was a perfect fit for a game that led to so much theorizing and searching years ago.
Next up is a feature that any visually impressive game today can’t live without: photo mode. Everyone who likes exploring will be thankful for this addition, as it’s one of the best takes on the screenshot tool yet. Everything necessary to compose box art-worthy pictures is available, including a series of filters. Those filters go beyond the camera, though, and by doing so they’re my favorite new feature by far. The entire game can be played in a filter of the player’s choice, and these can be changed at any time. Night mode is particularly stunning and offers a brand-new look at the Forbidden Lands that completely changes the feeling of the world. It’s amazing how much of an impact something so simple can make, but the permanent filters encourage replayability in one of the most replayable games ever.
There are also a handful of extraordinary easter eggs that reference Team Ico’s other games, and they’re worth finding for yourself.
The Perfect Remake
When the closest thing to a complaint about Shadow of the Colossus is “Agro moves a bit too slow in forests”, it’s safe to say that the game is something special. Literally everything about the game works, with the new control scheme making movement more fluid. Agro is easy to control, the bow feels responsive, and climbing colossi is cooler than ever before. The noticeable frame-rate issues in the original version were smoothed out in the PS3 release, and here, they’re nonexistent. Finally, the most obvious improvement: the graphics.
Built from the ground up for PS4, this is one of the best-looking games on the platform. It runs perfectly on the original version of the console, and the PS4 Pro only adds to the visual feast with its Cinematic and Performance modes. Whether they’re taking Agro for a ride through the desert, climbing a colossi’s fur or praying at a shrine surrounded by lush grass, every player’s jaw will drop at some point during the game. Bluepoint was right to keep the same title for this game as the original, because this is the definitive version of the masterpiece that is Shadow of the Colossus.
Sony should absolutely work with Bluepoint more in the future, as the talented studio has managed to create the greatest remake in video game history with Shadow of the Colossus. Whether you’re somebody who has played it multiple times or someone who missed their chance to play it back when it released, this is something you need to pick up. It’s as close to perfect as a game can be, and something every gamer needs in their collection.
Shadow of the Colossus is a game that has stood the test of time, and thanks to Bluepoint, it will continue to do so...
Visually Stunning +3
Coin System, Photo Mode & Filters +3
Colossi battles are better than ever +2
Smooth new control scheme +1
Story and Soundtrack remain strong +1
FINAL SCORE: 10