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I have Shadow Of The Colossus (Wander and the Colossus, ワンダと巨像 Wanda to Kyozō) and ICO (イコ Iko) games on my PS3 but I never ever have played them. They always were in my To—Do—List but as you might know (or maybe you are suffering from it like I am) there is always new games coming and always something to play now days. It’s like a mass production of games in the making 247 and there seems to be no end of it.
I never even knew what kind of games ICO and Shadow of the Colossus were. I knew they’re like indie games or something and I love indies. I had already saw them on PS2 aeons ago but they never “seemed” to be my cup of tea so I never took a sip of them (when I was younger and when PS2 was relevant). First time when I saw a gameplay video of the remake of Shadow of the Colossus for PS4 I still didn’t get the idea what the game was about. I kinda knew it was good, even great, game so I had to try it out.
When I started playing the Shadow of the Colossus I was blown away of the graphics and how the game looked overall. It is no secret that this game is gorgeous and vivid and playing this with my 4K HDR TV it is even more that. This game uses 4K graphics on PS4 Pro and HDR is also available and I used both of them, of course.
After the entry scenes and the story I already liked the game. The story seemed to be simple and no complicated at all.
So my first impression of this remake was absolutely positive and that is great way to start playing a new game.
You control a young boy whose name is unknown to me (update: quickly googling revealed to me he is called Wander. Now the Japanese name makes sense to me). It may be said in the game but I totally have missed it, so I just call him a boy.
The controls overall is super simple, there is no gimmicks like combo moves or pressing multiple buttons to make a special move or so.
The boy can walk/run, jump, climb, roll, crouch, use two weapons (a sword or a longbow), use sword to show where the next colossi is and also climb up along vines or a colossi’s fur.
The boy moves very well and very lifelike (he stumbles and falls like any normal human being would do) but when you are on a colossi and trying to climb on top of it, it gets little bit tricky since usually the colossi knows you are on it and it starts to shake its body, head, hands, or whatever to get you off of it. And as I mentioned the boy moves very lifelikely and maybe too lifelikely and usually he stumbles and falls off of the colossi when it starts to shake itself.
Climbing is even more challenging since you have a stamina meter that indicates how long you can hold on and sadly it will dry out sooner than you think.
Also when the boy is holding on a colossi’s fur/hair it might get difficult to climb since the camera will turn to different angle as the colossi moves itself or the colossi shakes you so much that the boy changes his position and you start to move to wrong direction.
The camera is one big buuuu in this game but I’ll go to that later on.
The boy is not alone. He has a horse called Agro (Aguro アグロ) and you can summon it by a whistle (like in The Legend of Zelda —games) and it’ll come to you and will take you to the destination you need to go. Going by yourself would take forever since the playing area is huge!!
About the horse and how it moves; pretty OK. There is sometimes difficulties when you need to move Agro slowly and turn specifically.
That was all the controls of the game and *sigh* (because I don’t know is the controls good or bad overall.)
If I think this through I would say the controls are fantastic. It is lifelike but not too much. Sometimes I was yelling to my TV while playing “why you need to stumble on every little thing you little shit!!” But then I quickly realized that this game is what it is and I just need to adjust myself to that. Every game has its own mechanics and gimmicks so suck it up buttercup. And if I really think about this the boy doesn’t move too lifelikely, that would be impossible to maneuver. The control scheme is either copied from their other game The Last Guardian or it resembles it very much. Either way after playing The Last Guardian this Shadow of the Colossus feels very natural to me. I remember the first time when I played The Last Guardian and moving the character (a boy as well) felt so different what I have used to. He stumbles, tumbles, lurch, wobble, falls, you name it so much that it is natural since everyone would do the same if they have to move in that kind of environment but it quickly becomes kinda annoying but I believe player will get used to it fairly quickly. If the boy would move more unnaturally it wouldn’t work. It would take a huge part off of the gameplay. Him stumbling around makes player feel the environment and moving ground beneath him and the unforgiving blowing wind that throws him around.
So my last statement about this matter is that the controls is good and it works in this game super well.
The tale of the Wander
After playing this game through I realized how sad it was and how the main menu came in front of me and it suggested me to play it again. Even though the story is not voice acted to its fullest and characters not acting and interacting with each other, like in a Hollywood movie, the story still is amazing. Amazing because all the minimum things it needs to full fill the story and tell the tale to the player.
The story starts with a young boy (you, the player) riding a horse slowly along the narrow mountain path with a mysterious thing with him. It is covered by a blanket of sort and it’s hard to tell what’s under it.
You ride slowly until you come to a huge area what seems like a desert and a long, I mean loooooong, bridge that leads to a huge structure made of stone. You go along the bridge and finally end up in the structure which seems to be some kind of altar or a sanctuary. Now the boy reveals what’s the blanket covering and it is a young girl. A DEAD young girl and he put her lying down on a altar of some sort. Quickly there is a voice telling you that if you want to bring the dead girl’s soul back you need to kill all the colossis one by one and then you can bring back her life.
The boy also have a special sword with him that the voice tells it to be a enchanted one and it can show the way where the colossis are and with it, kill them. So without any further adue the boy is going on his way to kill his first colossi.
The story mostly is that you kill one colossi and return to the sanctuary and then the voice tells you where to find second colossi and so on.
Every now and then there is shown other people and how they are coming towards the place where you are. It is unclear who these people are and what they want?
Towards the end the story gets little bit intense and lots of things happens and all that makes you think everything what you’ve done in the game so far. The ending also is little bit cryptic and that is something I like. I love how the story is complete but how it is represented giving audience a cryptic side of the story that will leave you thinking the whole truth and that is like a magic to me.
Sounds like a colosseum
There is video games that have great sound effects BUT (and it’s a big but) they are out of place and with that I mean the sound effect’s source is just passively put there. Which mean the sound effect is there but it’s source is whatever. In Shadow of the Colossus the sound effects are in place almost 100%. There was couple situations where the sound was off, let say the horse’s gallop sound is coming from left when in reality the horse is positioned in right side of the screen.
If I dig deeper in to the sound effects and background music I have to say it is absolutely beautiful. Specially the theatrical music when it starts to play in a dramatical way when you start fighting with a colossi. It’s like a theatre or opera of some sort and as much as I have been in operas and theatre the music is a huge part of the feeling what they wanna the audience to have and in this game the music scheme works like a charm. It is just beautiful.
All the rest of the sound effects like walking, jumping, swimming etc. they are well—thought. For an example the horse’s gallop; the sound changes when you ride from sand to a rock. And that is those little details that umphs up the whole experience.
I also have to say all the noises from the nature around the player takes you with the world and sometimes I could feel the breeze when I rode alongside the cliff.
This game, this piece, is absolutely breath taking. It’s one the most gorgeous games on PS4 to date. Mostly the environment is nature and structures made of stone and pulling that off to look as realistic as possible is a job to do. I don’t know what kind of tips and tricks they used (I’m referring to Horizon: Zero Dawn, since they used all kinds of tricks to pull out the amazing graphics) but the game looks gorg.
But of course when you zoom to the statics it doesn’t look that fabulous anymore but I think it’s in all games and even in the real world, too, that looking everything close up it doesn’t look that good anymore (and with this I’m referring to a drag queens makeup.)
With that said I have to tell you about the Photo Mode of this game. I red from somewhere that the Photo Mode in this game is the best on console games yet, but I beg to differ. I think in Horizon Zero Dawn has the most advanced Photo Mode (notice: I don’t know anything about PC games so if there is million times better Photo Mode in PC games then there is. I only play consoles and these reviews are only from console games and everything I refer here is about console gaming) than Shadow Of The Colossus have. I’m not saying the HZD Photo Mode is flawless but I think there is features in both that could be unite as one and there you have it: The Most Perfect Photo Mode!!
I really don’t know what more to say about the graphics than that the game is like a fantasy come true.
Shadow Of The Colossi is movie—like experience. The factors are music, sound effects, camera, visual effects and how the character moves. This resembles me of Uncharted —series but without all the cutscenes and explosions.
The camera was the first thing I noticed when starting to play this and it feels very imperative with its angles. Sometimes is is very difficult to see around you or trying to make sense of a huge colossi but the camera won’t let you see where you wanna look. That is maybe half of the time so player should get to use to that.
What I already said about the character and how he moves. It is very realistic and I think the whole moving scheme is taken from The Last Guardian —game (they have made it so they can use it if they like so). The player stumbles and tumbles and rolls and faints when falling from too high or getting hit by a colossi.
But I think this time it is better than before. At least it feels like that and I think it’s good thing that they have fixed it little bit better. I remember playing The Last Guardian and how annoying the climbing was since I most of the time climbed in the wrong direction since the player was always facing upside down or the bad camera jumped around like crazy. But in Shadow Of The Colossus everything seems to work like it should be minus that sometimes it was difficult to know which way to climb.
But it is super exiting to climb on a huge colossi and trying to figure out how to take it down (which means you have to find a right spot and hit it with your sword until the colossi is down.
Every colossi has their own way to kill it and the player have to find it and figure it out and usually it is very logic and easy to understand but maybe difficult to execute. Difficult since the, maybe too real, character moving and bad camera comes to your way, but don’t let these little things to stop you from saving your loved one!!
The colossis aren’t always huge like a building but sometimes they come in more proper size. As in the cartoons, movies and video games the bigger the character is the more slowly they move and all the smaller ones moves faster and are more agile. That is something I don’t understand but it is what it is so in Shadow Of The Colossus the bigger colossis are slower and smaller ones moves so fast that there is no way of dodging their attacks.
The bigger ones are more exiting to kill since player needs to climb on it and the smaller ones are killed by ingenuity. The player have to figure out the pattern or a trick how to win.
That is the best part of the game. Every colossi is unique; the main theme is to find the spot or spots to hit with player’s enchanted sword but sometimes you need to do things before the spot is revealed.
The gameplay area is huge, not like Skyrim huge, but it is pretty vast. It was relaxing when I was riding with my horse to my destination and all the beautiful landscape before me and ever changing nature and the sound of the wind and gallops… Ok this went too far to a cheap romance book you can find just before the cashier in a supermarket for 4,99$.
In options there is lot of choices for the gameplay. You can even use e filter (same as in the Photo Mode) through the whole gameplay. In options you can find things, like “cinematic mode” or “performance mode” which means do you wanna better graphics but 30fps or faster fps and lower graphics.
I personally didn’t find this game to be excessively difficult. I played in Normal mode and the very last colossi was the hardest one since feels like everything came together right there. I need to move very fast and time my movement right. Also a bad weather made it difficult to see plus the annoying camera angles. Of course when you manage to get on top of the last colossi it moves and shakes you off if you manage to be that kind of spot that can’t be grabbed on.
So the difficulty is very dynamic since it depends lot of where you manage to get and when. And when the idea of how to take down a colossi comes clear it is easy to make sense what to do next and how take down someone which is hundred timed bigger than you.
Even though the game felt pretty easy there is hard mode (I don’t know is there even more difficulty mode after hard one) and I don’t know what it means in practice. Do you loose more health from taking a hit or do are the colossis more aware your presence and they shake you off more easily? That I do not know so maybe you should try it out yourself…
When I looked all the trophies I found some pretty nasty ones like “Don’t die once in whole playthrough” or “Complete Hard Mode Under 5:41:28”. So there you have it. The game is more to easy side but if you wanna a challenge there is challenges waiting for you.
I wanna play this game again. I wanna search every inch of this world and find every secret it holds. I don’t wanna use any walkthroughs, I want to pretend it’s mid 90’s. This game is something special and it reminds me of The Legend Of Zelda —series and I’m whipping myself AGAIN that I have missed this kind of diamond that was right in front of me all these years (talking about Shadow Of The Colossus on my PS3 library).
I think I’m gonna play this on PS3 and see what it’s like. Maybe I wanna go even deeper and play this on PS2… we’ll see about that.
My ultimate feelings of this game is super duper positive and I just don’t know what and why but this game is just so good because everything in it works like a charm (minus the sometimes—bad—camera).
I don’t know does this game go to the indie category but it feels like an indie game. Team ICO has made the original game but Bluepoint Games made this PS4 version of it and whatever that game company is I have to thank them deeply of making this game.
I really dunno what else to say about this game other than it’s wonderful and everyone should experience it.
Here is photos I took along the gameplay:
Every colossi has their own way to kill it and
the player have to find it and figure it out and usually
it is very logic and easy to understand but maybe difficult to execute
(There is a ongoing giveaway. You can participate here.)
Release Date: Out Now
Genre: Action / Adventure
Developer: Bluepoint Games / JAPAN Studio