A timeless classic that returns to give great emotions after almost 15 years.
Shadow of the colossus game review
It was the year 2005 when Team Ico, in his second work, gave the world a title like Shadow of the Colossus. Compelling as slow, enigmatic as exciting, the adventure directed by Fumito Ueda arrived on PlayStation 2 almost like a bet, after the Japanese studio had published a few years before Ico on the same platform Sony, a game that had shaken from within critical and public and that in those years had already become a popular phenomenon.
Repeating the same success, even keeping the same atmosphere Ico breathed, would have been a colossal undertaking for anyone – forgive the pun – but Team Ico once again proved to have an extraordinary talent, thus establishing its status as a cult development.
Although Shadow the Colossus has already witnessed a re-release in high definition for PlayStation 3 in 2011, at the last E3 conference of Sony the company announced a remake for PS4, characterized by a new graphic engine and an exquisitely modern graphics, whose work would have been taken care of by Bluepoint Games, a Texan studio known to most for taking care of some of the most beautiful and interesting remakes and remaster of the videogame panorama, including The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection published in 2011.
With strong shoulders and a great popularity that precedes them, the guys of Bluepoint Games have been invited once again to get their hands on the title of Team Ico, but this time working from scratch on the original code of the game and probably offering one of their best remakes ever.
And while you wait with trepidation on February 7th, when Shadow of the Colossus will return to shine on PS4, let’s try to explain why it is so extraordinary.
In Shadow of the Colossus, we play the role of Wander, a mysterious young man who, riding his trusty steed Agro, reaches a gigantic stone temple, the Shrine of the Cult, after having made a long and exhausting journey that is told through an intense and suggestive introductory cutscene. Wrapped in a sheet, lies Mono, a girl with a pearl-like skin apparently asleep, that Wander gently lays on a stone altar inside the Shrine.
We discover that the hero has come to the temple to invoke Dormin, an obscure spirit that has the ability to awaken the dead from their eternal sleep, so that he can give back life to the girl he carries with him, the victim of a sacrifice.
To awaken Mono, Wander discovers, thanks to a voice that echoes inside the shrine, that to invoke Dormin and bring back, therefore, in life the girl has the task of facing sixteen different Colossus, scattered in the vast world map outside of the temple, in order to unleash the shadows that these gigantic Titans enclose within them.
Once the sixteen massive creatures are defeated, Wander can express his desire and bring Mono back to life.
And it is exactly here that the fascinating game world of Shadow of the Colossus opens up before our eyes and literally engulfs us. Jumping into the saddle of Agro, in the company of Wander we leave the Shrine of the Cult and begin to explore the vast wasteland that welcomes and hides the sixteen colossus that we have the task of destroying, and already from these first minutes of play we notice the great originality that , already in its time, had distinguished the game of Team Ico.
Our only and only guide to reach the Colossus massifs is the magic sword that Wander brings with him, which – thanks to a beam of blue light – shows us the path we must travel to reach the immense creatures. Once the beam of light turns golden, it means that we are near the Colossus and that we must prepare ourselves for a fierce battle.
No further enemy, no obstacle or hindrance that can stop our race against time and against the Colossus: we are just us, Wander and Agro, busy to cross a game map far and wide, despite the dark adventure that we are facing, hides truly heavenly and impressive places.
However, the first major difficulty to face in Shadow of the Colossus, which in itself is the first puzzle to solve, is to understand exactly what is the right path to follow to actually reach our gigantic enemy.
Although Wander receives from the mysterious voice the indications on the next Colossus to be faced and despite the magic sword in his possession shows us the direction to go, we will often find ourselves wandering around the game map for a few tens of minutes, because, much often, the road traveled ends with a massive stone wall or in a cliff, forcing us to back off and try another route.
This expedient allows us, however, to enjoy the fantastic and varied views that make up the game map, each characterized by a different setting – you go from the desert to the thickest forest in a few rides – and that hide a fascinating Colossus inside them theme.
In our continuous wandering, we really have the chance to admire in its entirety the commendable work performed by the Bluepoint Games. What was once a very squared and undefined world, perhaps blinded by excessive overexposure or “eaten” by a mist too thick to hide some defects given by the lesser technical possibilities of the past, finally opens up to us in its extraordinary beauty, demonstrating the excellent ability of the Texan study to give back new life to a game that carries on its shoulders the gigantic weight of 13 years – an eternity for the videogame sector.
The meticulous care that Bluepoint has put in the reconstruction of the various environments that make up the map is the same that is found once we come across the Colossus. Each of the sixteen imposing titans has been recreated flawlessly, highlighting aspects and characteristics that, for obvious technical reasons, have gone a bit lost at the time.
When, through Wander’s eyes, we look at the Colossus from afar or from below to understand what the right way to climb it and inflict our deadly blows, it is impossible not to be stunned by the meticulous attention to detail that Bluepoint Games put in recreate the Colossi, starting from the hair on which we will often be forced to climb or cling to reach the weak points of our opponent.
Its animation, which fully restores its sinuosity to the flooding of the Colossus, is something miraculous, almost unpredictable if one thinks of what the original material might be. In other words, all that Bluepoint has touched on while restoring the original code has been brought back to life, restoring a new, lively and pulsing world that, even after so many years, manages to really leave us speechless.