The hotly anticipated Shadow of the Colossus remake launches on PS4 next week, letting fans of the iconic action adventure game enjoy it in a new light. The game was first released on PS2 in 2005 but the PS4 version in 2018 improves its graphics and rebuilds the game to make it best-suited for the PS4.
In addition to the improved graphics, the Shadow of the Colossus remake introduces a Photo Mode, letting players edit the game’s look (e.g by using filters) and take better screenshots. Plenty of other modern games offer the feature and so it makes sense for this remake to include it too.
But does Photo Mode feel like a gimmick? And should fans of the game still purchase this version even if they played the PS2 original and the HD re-release that launched on PS3 in 2011? These are the questions that critics have answered in their Shadow of the Colossus remake reviews.
DualShockers (Logan Moore)
The enhanced graphical qualities of Shadow of the Colossus haven’t just simply made the game more pretty to look at, they’ve also added an even greater sense of scale to a game that relies heavily on size and scope. Each colossus that you battle feels ten times larger than you remember it being, which adds to that feeling of freshness that I mentioned before.
Eurogamer (Oli Welsh)
It is an authentic labour of love, this release, and it improves Shadow of the Colossus in real ways. It runs better, it’s easier to enjoy, it’s more beautiful. It’s bigger, which in this game really counts for something. But it’s vital that Bluepoint has preserved the game itself absolutely unchanged, because Shadow of the Colossus has poetry and economy that you rarely find in games.
Game Informer (Kyle Hilliard)
Remakes are often complimented for allowing you see dated games as you remember them as opposed to how they really looked, but Shadow of the Colossus goes well beyond that sentiment. You can see individual blades of grass as you ride with Agro, and the portals to the sky that appear above defeated colossi take on a new beauty. With so much to look at, the added detail leads to fewer moments of boredom as you travel. It adds more weight to the moments between colossi, and made me more eager to explore.
GameSpot (Edmond Tran)
Shadow of the Colossus is a tremendous journey, and one well worth taking and retaking. The visual overhaul is stunning, thoroughly enhancing every facet of Wander and Agro’s excellent adventure. Galloping through the tranquil world is always breathtaking; felling a monumental colossus is always humbling. Shadow of the Colossus is a beautiful reconstruction of an already exceptional title.
GamesBeat (Jeff Grubb)
This isn’t a major problem, but I think Bluepoint lost something special about Shadow of the Colossus during its transition. Where the world once felt like a dream, the remake gives everything a crisp, clean look.
I miss that ethereal look even if the new game is technically marvelous.
IGN (Marty Silva)
There are still a handful of minor nagging issues that exist: for instance, the scope of some of the battles and your close proximity to a giant, hairy colossus means that the camera will occasionally get lost in tufts of fur and obscure your view at a crucial moment. Likewise, success in a few of the encounters relies on getting the colossus to stand in a very specific position, which can sometimes be a bit like trying to get a dog to stay in a bathtub.
PlayStation LifeStyle (Chandler Wood)
Never have I been more enamored with Shadow of the Colossus as in 2018. Never have I understood this game as well as I was able to while playing the PS4 release. I think that both the game and I have done a lot of maturing since 2005, and yet it’s amazing to see how ahead of its time Shadow of the Colossus was. It’s like Bluepoint reached into my memories and extracted what I remember the original game to be.
The vast majority of reviews seem to agree that the Shadow of the Colossus remake is perfect – or is very nearly perfection. While remaking such a well-regarded, era-defining game as this could have been a huge risk for developer Bluepoint, it has more than lived up to fans’ lofty expectations. Those who have loved this tale from the moment it debuted in 2002 will love the 2018 remake just as much.
That’s not to say that there aren’t frustrations, though. Several reviews noted a finicky camera that doesn’t clip through the environment when it’s supposed it (or in moments which would be helpful) and the control system, though overhauled, still doesn’t feel so intuitive for modern players.
But the reviews also say that this doesn’t detract from the overall Shadow of the Colossus experience, making this remake a gold-standard of what a remake should be and many will hope that Bluepoint takes on many more PlayStation remakes in future.
Shadow of the Colossus releases on February 6th, exclusively for the PS4.