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Shadow of the Colossus PS4 Review: The beauty of battle

Our Shadow of the Colossus PS4 review reveals if this is the definitive version of the original PS2 game. What is different, and will it please fans and newcomers alike?

Quite a lot of recent console releases are actually remastered versions of older titles, with a healthy bit of spit and polish to bring them up to date. However, not many games have proven themselves worthy of a second remake. Shadow of the Colossus is one of the blessed few.

This legendary title is now in its third incarnation in this PS4 re-release, following its PS2 debut and PS3 update. Question is, what’s changed and is this latest version the definitive Shadow of the Colossus experience?

What’s new in Shadow of the Colossus on PS4?

To really get the most out of this updated title, you’ll need to own a PS4 Pro.

Owners of the Pro model will enjoy crisp Ultra HD 4K visuals in the new Cinematic mode, running at 30 frames-per-second. Alternatively, if you’d rather enjoy a supremely smooth gaming experience, the Performance mode will satisfy. This doubles the frame rate to 60 frames-per-second.

You also have the option of an updated control scheme, to fit more in line with modern titles. You can switch between this and the original layout in the game’s settings.

Besides that, Shadow of the Colossus on the PS4 is basically the same game we (mostly) all know and love.

Do the new graphics make a difference?

Those updated graphics are certainly spectacular on the PS4. As we rode towards each battle, we could have sworn we were watching some breathtaking cinematic scene rather than playing a game. The camera sweeps around the majestic scenery and occasionally catches the light, to stunningly realistic effect.

Meanwhile, coming face-to-face (or rather, face-to-toe) with an enormous Colossus remains a seriously humbling experience. Scaling these beasts is as epic as ever, especially with those 4K visuals. Everything from the realistic hair to the blur of the distant ground as you clamber onto a titan’s head really adds to the experience. We were getting serious vertigo in some of these fights.

Shadow Colossus PS4 Review

However, we have to give a massive shout-out to Kow Otani’s absolutely perfect soundtrack, which has been beautifully implemented by the game’s developers. Shadow of the Colossus boasts some of the best music of all time, and we’re willing to bet that many won’t even notice it. And that’s because the audio does its job so well.

Every bar, be it dark and moody or fast and frantic, matches the on-screen action to a tee. A rousing score follows you to each battleground, where things suddenly become quiet and ominous. And then, the moment you leap onto your foe and begin to scale, the music returns with pounding drums and excitable strings, building to a crescendo as you plunge your sword into the glowing weak spot. Rather than distracting, the music draws you into each moment and completes the immersion.

Frankly, it’s absolutely marvellous. You really need to grab the soundtrack and listen to it outside of the game, to truly appreciate how great it is.

Should I buy Shadow of the Colossus on PS4?

Absolutely. We’d already completed the game twice before tackling the PS4 version and we were still gripped from start to end.

Thankfully the gameplay stands the test of time and feels fresh every time we return. This isn’t one of those titles that you remember fondly, only to be shocked by how badly it’s dated when you dip back in ten years later.

You can grab Shadow of the Colossus on PS4 right now.


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