Shadow of the Colossus (PS4 remake)

Shadow of the Colossus release date

Shadow of the Colossus will launch on PS4 on February 6, 2018. The news was confirmed on PlayStation’s official website, shortly after its latest trailer was shown off during Paris Games Week.

Shadow of the Colossus Trailers

Take a look at the latest trailer from Paris Games Week

Shadow of the Colossus hands-on preview

Quick confession: I’ve never really played Shadow of the Colossus. When it originally launched way back in 2005 on PS2, my impatient, youthful mind couldn’t take the challenge. By the time the PS3 remaster arrived, it hadn’t aged well, the controls were clunky and it wasn’t the prettiest of games thanks to some rather murky textures. But, with this PS4 remake, none of that is true: it’s drop-dead gorgeous and plays superbly. This game is ready to become a classic all over again.

Shadow of the Colossus

The Paris Games Week demo offered three Colossus to tackle: one, three and 13. Anyone familiar with the game will immediately know exactly what’s in store in each of these enormous boss battles. But for anyone coming into the game fresh, they’re in for a real treat.

The first thing that’s striking is how beautiful the game is. Making excellent use of HDR, it’s simply stunning. This doesn’t just look good for a PS2 remake, this looks great for a PS4 game, period.

The lighting effects as the sun rises over the mountains, or breaks through the trees as you journey through the forest is beautiful. Taking on the Colossus also reveals great detail in their fur. Bluepoint has truly done a stellar job bringing this game to Sony’s latest console.

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Shadow of the Colossus

The game plays exactly as it used to, or more specifically, how you think it used to. While still retaining some of the quirkiness of the original, the game is now way more fluid, and is fully up to date with modern gamers’ expectations. The movement controls feel tight, and getting around the environment feels smooth, and traversal comes naturally. This is crucial in combat, and the camera keeps up with rapid movement well, which is crucial in those all-important Colossus battles.

It took a few attempts to get to grips with climbing. Learning to hold R2 the whole time, letting go only in the brief moments I felt brave enough to leap up a Colossus, or from one ledge to the next, was tricky. A few failed attempts and I was up to speed.

Riding on horseback can also be cumbersome at times, especially if trying to either use your sword’s light to guide your way or fire arrows. The camera zooms in very close, meaning you completely lose track of where your horse is going, and can completely veer off course while trying to aim a shot. But most of the time this isn’t a problem.

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Shadow of the Colossus

One thing this game definitely hasn’t added for a new audience are better tutorials. Don’t expect Shadow of the Colossus to hold your hand much; if you don’t know what you’re doing, grab a guide to learn the basics. This is very much a game that presents a world and expects you to learn on the go.

There were a couple of times where I felt completely stuck, and it was only after being told how to combine some of the game’s control mechanics that I was able to move on to the next part of the game. For example, I got completely lost trying to find the thirteenth Colossus, taking the wrong exit through the forest as I followed my sword’s light and ended up in a swamp, as opposed to the desert where the game was (poorly) trying to guide me.

It’s new, but still very much old-school. Traditionalists will love it.

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Shadow of the Colossus

The star of the show is of course the fights with the Colossus themselves, and all three were incredible. Each offering something a little different, they carried that thrilling sense of accomplishment that follows an epic and challenging battle.

I remember becoming so frustrated when I first played the game back in the day because I kept getting thrown off the first Colossus thanks to clunky controls and the inconsistent ability to grab, but that was definitely not the case here. Keeping a close eye on my stamina, I slowly but surely was able to work my way up the giant beast, and take it down.

The excellent camera really does capture the sense of scale, pulling out to a great distance as the Colossus moves away or prepares an attack, before zooming in close as you attack or climb around it. Every single battle was utterly thrilling, and the frustration I previously felt playing this game in both its iterations fell away and were replaced by pure fun.

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First impressions

I’m gobsmacked at how good Shadow of the Colossus looks and how great it feels to play. It certainly retains the core old-school challenge that made it such a classic, but it feels modern and won’t alienate a new audience looking for a challenge.

Finally, I can jump on board with a game I’ve been told for over a decade is amazing, and now can see everything people have been talking about for so long.