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Shadow of the Colossus: A First Time Players Perspective

Despite it's original release being 13 years ago Shadow of the Colossus remains one of the all time greatest games ever released on the Playstation 2. Many things have changed since then, and the game may have even got a port to the PS3 in 2011, but the most recent version on PS4 is unlike any of its predecessors. Complete with remastered textures and a crisp soundtrack, it's nearly impossible to tell that this game wasn't made in 2018.

The game starts out with a beautiful cutscene showing the main character, Wander, traveling on horseback with his fallen soulmate Mono. In an effort to bring his love back to life, Wander has traveled to the end of the Forbidden Land to seek answers at the Shrine of Worship. Upon arrival Wander places Mono's body upon the altar and proceeds with begging the god of the dead, Dormin, to resurrect her. He agrees to do so on one condition- slay the 16 ancient monsters scattered across the land and pay a great price. Without any further questioning, Wander sets out to begin his epic journey.

Locating each monster is rather simple and consists of the player holding Wanders sword into the sunlight and following the beam. However, upon discovery, fighting the 16 Colossi is no task for any mere mortal. Each Colossi presents itself to be a gargantuan competitor and even towers above the top portion of the screen. In order to defeat each monster you need to mount the beast and find it's weak point. After enough damage has been done the monsters energy is released and Wander will return to the temple in search of his next battle.
All in all the the PS4 version of Shadow of the Colossus looks absolutely beautiful and is a huge step up from its antecessors. The game looks less blocky, is more colorful, and the music is much clearer. In the below gif, courtesy of an Imgur user, the vast difference from each of the three versions can be clearly seen. The game loses its hazy look and in return develops an overall warmer tone, instead of a flat green slate the player rides upon waving blades of grass, and rocks no longer look like gray slabs but instead like detailed stone. Everything visually about this game is a wonderful improvement.
One thing that I wish had been altered more in the remastered version is the games controls. Often times, especially right at the start of the game, it felt more like I was fighting the controls rather than the Colossi. Over time navigation does become easier but that's aside from the point. Yes, Shadow of the Colossus was originally a PS2 title and the control layout may stick to its traditional roots, but I feel like this is one thing that REALLY needed to be modernized. The navigation feels so clunky that at times it takes you straight out of the games epic atmosphere and frustrates you.

With its one flaw aside I'd like to take a moment to mention the games soundtrack. From the moment the opening cutscene played I was taken away by the score. If you've read any of my previous reviews you'll know how important I believe a games music is. It has the ability to set the tone in an instant due to the human bodies ability to interpret sound faster than any other sense. The music in this game is amazing and even if you don't plan on playing the game I recommend hitting play and checking out the games soundtrack in the video posted below.

All in all, Shadow of the Colossus is well equipped with breathtaking updated visuals and a story that stands the test of time. While the controls really take away from the experience at times, the player eventually adjusts and learns to deal with this minor hiccup. All things considered, this brings Shadow of Colossus to score an 8/10. If you're a long time fan you will 100% want to check out this remastered version, and if you're a first time player like me you'll wonder why you didn't play this game sooner.


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