Review: Shadow of the Colossus (PS4)

Talking about Shadow of the Colossus isn’t an easy task. When it originally released on PlayStation 2, I immediately fell deeply in love with it. This isn’t just a game, it really surpasses that, transforming the overall experience into something you can easily call art. The game got an HD remaster on PlayStation 3 but nothing comes close to this remake on PlayStation 4. The game got the treatment it deserved and will hopefully convince a lot of new players to discover this masterpiece.

Wander around in the valley of death

The start of the story immediately bring you in the right atmosphere. Wander, our protagonist enters a strange castle on the back of his loyal horse Argo. In his hands, he holds a mysterious young woman, carefully wrapped in a blanket. The young woman has met with a terrible faith and died, that’s all we know. Wander wants to bring her back to life, that’s the only reason why he visits this isolated wasteland, a land where no living soul should ever come. The tone of the first minutes is dark and mysterious, youe head will be filled with thousands of questions, none of those can be answered just yet.


Out of nowhere you hear a mysterious voice telling you to leave this land immediately, to enforce these words a small army of shadow-creatures attack you. Only when you raise your mysterious sword it seems like you do have a chance. This sword grants you access to the wasteland and enables you to stay here since it has mythical powers, that’s what the voice tells you. Since you’re there to revive the mysterious girl, you are tasked with a nearly impossible task. It’s your job to hunt down the sixteen Colossi that roam the land and take them down for good. If you do so, there’s a possibility that the girl might come back to life. With this rather vague promise, your adventure starts. Wander immediately jumps on the back of Argo to meet the first Colossus in a desperate attempt to bring the young woman back.

In my solitude, you haunt me

Once you leave the mysterious castle on the back of your loyal horse, you’re dropped into a gorgeous world. By pointing your sword towards the sky, the reflecting sunbeam will show you where to go. Argo is a smart horse and has no problem finding his way with you merely indicating the speed and steering a little from time to time. Argo isn’t here to distract you from the beauty of the environment. Just like in the original game, I felt extremely small in this giant wasteland. The feeling you don’t belong here is pretty strong and only gets enforced by the lack of other human lifeforms. Sure, you see small animals from time to time but generally speaking, this lands isn’t very welcoming.


While you’re traveling towards your next Colossus, you’ll often find yourself overthinking everything. It’s here, in this solitude that you’ll truly understand the harshness of your mission. As a player, you’ll immediately feel deeply connected to Wander and you want to help him no matter the cost. After defeating several Colossi you can’t help but think if this will be all worth it in the end. Why did you come to this land in the first place? It’s amazing that a wasteland like this can result in such deeper thoughts. Thanks to this remake, you’ll truly appreciate those empty environments more since they never looked this good before. Traveling towards the next Colossus is a big part of the game but I think they created it like this on purpose. What better location to question the purpose of life than one where there is no life to discover?

I’ll bring you down

All of those questions are easily forgotten once you finally stand face to face with a Colossus, or rather face to feet. I won’t go into spoiler territory here since it will be the first time a lot of gamers play this masterpiece. Instead of discussing specific Colossi, let me try to explain the feeling they all give you and how you can take them down. Right from the start, it’s quite obvious that the Colossi are here to impress. These giant creatures are immense and you’ll never felt this small before. The first one you meet makes you wondering how you will ever be able to take down such a giant creature. The only weapons you have is your mysterious sword and a bow with unlimited arrows. These are the weapons you started with and the weapons you’ll end with. There’s no need for level progression or new gear, this would only distract you from your challenge.


Taking down a Colossus is like solving a giant moving puzzle. Somehow, you’ll need to get on top of the Colossus to find its weak spot. This spot is a magical sigil that needs some ferocious stabbing to take down the giant. At first, you’ll think this sigil is always located on the highest point of the Colossus but this changes frequently. Just when you think you learned the perfect method to take down the next Colossus, the game will throw you a curveball. You thought you could use the environment to your advantage since it worked the last couple of times? Well, it seems like this Colossus is actually working together with its environment to take you down! This constant change of tactics is what makes this game such a great one. You never truly know what you’re up against and you’ll have to learn the pattern over and over again. Bringing down such a giant monster will never become easy, creatures like this demand respect and you can be sure you won’t go down easily.

There’s beauty in defeat

Learning this process and solving the living puzzle that is the Colossus, is the main part of the game. Put into simple words, you could say Shadow of the Colossus is just a compilation of boss fights but that doesn’t do it justice. Learning the patterns of the Colossi, truly understanding their movements, being able to climb them while drastically keeping an eye on your stamina meter, holding on to the fur, stabbing the sigil… All soon become part of a beautiful ritual. A ritual that only gets empowered with the gorgeous soundtrack. The music of Shadow of the Colossus truly is amazing and tilts the overall experience to a new high. There’s almost something beautiful in destroying these giant Colossi, until you hear the dramatic music that comes paired with the death of another beast. This is where you start to question your motives once more. Are you truly doing good in this world? Are you setting these Colossi free from their prison that is the wasteland or are you killing something that doesn’t deserve to die? You don’t just kill these beasts, the game forces you to overthink your actions without ever giving you another option than to continue your devastating quest. It’s here where the power and the beauty of the game lays, the beauty of defeat, the beauty of a certain death.

Shadow of the Colossus

Masterly crafted

The last thing I would like to say about this PlayStation 4 version of this absolute classic is that Bluepoint Games did it justice with this remake. This version is created from the ground up and all textures, environments, and Colossi are created with the true power of the PlayStation 4 and the Pro model in mind. I tested this on a PlayStation 4 Pro where it ran at an incredible 60fps in 4K, making this whole trip even more magical. The team had high expectations to meet since handling a classic like this isn’t an easy task. Without any doubt, the really succeeded in their goal. The game never looked this good before and new players won’t be able to tell that this game is already more than ten years old. This is the improved and best version on the market without touching the soul or atmosphere of the original. Hats off to the team!


Shadow of the Colossus always had a special place in my heart and this remake proved me why. This isn’t just another one of those adventure games you forget after a couple of weeks. Shadow of the Colossus takes a different approach and takes beauty from its solitude and mysteries. The Colossi are all gorgeously created and you won’t forget a single one of them for the rest of your life. Bringing this classic back to life on the PlayStation 4 was one of the best things that could happen to the system, it’s far more than a simple game, it’s a classic and a true work of art. Either if you’ve played it before, this version is definitely worth every minute of your time.


Played on PlayStation 4 Pro with the help of a review code supplied by PlayStation

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.