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Shadow of the Colossus — finally, getting some hands-on with a classic

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Here’s one of the secrets from my video game pile of shame. I never played Shadow of the Colossus, the hit game that came out in 2005 on the Sony PlayStation 2. But I got a chance to remedy that yesterday at a Sony event in San Francisco, where I played the remake of Shadow of the Colossus on a Sony PlayStation 4 Pro.

During 2005, I remember putting a lot of time into titles like Age of Empires III, Call of Duty 2, Battlefield 2, Guitar Hero, Sid Meier’s Civilization IV, and Lego Star Wars: The Video Game. But Shadow of the Colossus looked a little rough. The graphics were one of the drawbacks, and I didn’t really see the attraction of playing a game with 16 boss fights.

Over the years, it seemed like that was a bad decision as I’ve run into so many people who rave over it. And when Sony announced that it was doing a remake of the game during its E3 2017 trade show event, it got a roar of applause.

Above: Shadow of the Colossus remake is coming in February 2018.

Image Credit: Sony

During my gameplay session, I noticed what I didn’t see so long ago. The developers put a lot of care into delivering a believable world.

And in 4K, it comes alive. The game runs at a resolution of 4K and 60 frames per second on the PS4 Pro and 1080p and 30 fps on the standard PS4. It looks beautiful as you see the sunlight coming through the trees and mountains rising out of the distance. Back in 2005, it didn’t look nearly as good, and it played at 30 fps. Now, SIE Japan Studio and Bluepoint Games are crafting the remake to look great, but they aren’t changing much else. It still has the same number and type of creatures as the original.

As I started the mission to fight the first colossus, or boss, I looked out across a big plain. I called my horse and mounted it. Then I rode toward the mountains. In the sunlight, I checked to see where I was being guided, and I rode to a cleft between two peaks. I dismounted and climbed up the walls, learning how to maneuver both upward and sideways. I eventually saw the stamina circle that told me how much energy I had to keep climbing.

I also noticed how well done the animations were. The draw distances were huge, which meant I could see far into the distance. The sound design was awesome as my horse galloped across the terrain. The sand blowing around on the plain looked so real. The music was enchanting.

Then the colossus stomped past me, making an uncanny amount of noise. I ran after it, trying to keep pace. As I trailed it, I saw one of its legs was very furry, as if it were growing tall grasses. That, of course, was a pretty big clue. I jumped and grabbed for the grass. I hung on and kept climbing as I was getting bounced around. Then, with the square button, I stabbed my sword into a vulnerable spot on the giant’s calf. I kept at it, and the wound turned red, causing the giant to pause.

That was my cue to climb up further. I got midway and had to pause on a convenient balcony built onto the creature’s back. Then I got my stamina back and kept climbing. I crawled up the fur/grass to the top of the creature’s head, where there was another vulnerable spot. I plunged my sword into the cracks multiple times, and the creature finally went down with a crash.

Above: Shadow of the Colossus features 16 boss creatures.

Image Credit: Sony

Next, I went on to Colossus No. 13, which you see in the video. I had to ride a long distance to get to the beast, and then I used my arrows to deflate the creature’s big sacks. That caused it to start flying low. I rode my horse to catch up to his wings, which trailed near the ground. I wish I could say I mounted those wings with perfection. But in reality, I jumped for the wings and missed. And then my time was up.

Shadow of the Colossus is coming to PS4 on February 6, 2018.

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