Shadow of the Colossus on PS4: New Details From Our Paris Games Week Hands-On

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Shadow of the Colossus on PS4: New Details From Our Paris Games Week Hands-On

We scale the daring new heights of the gorgeous remake at Paris Games Week 2017.

hen Shadow of the Colossus made its memorable debut back in 2005, it managed something refreshingly different in modern games at the time – it changed the narrative. During an era where visual fidelity was going through a seismic shift on PlayStation 2, this title kept its story minimalistic and its gameplay pure: hunt the looming colossi one-by-one.

But when it was announced at E3 2017 that Bluepoint Games and JAPAN Studio were remaking the game for PlayStation 4, the excitement was tangible. Because even though Shadow of the Colossus thrives on minimalism, the power of PS4 Pro makes a suitably colossal difference to just how affecting this already emotional game is.

1. It’s big on detail

You’ve likely already seen the beautiful new opening cut scene – but it’s something else to witness the in-game visuals when Shadow of the Colossus starts. At Paris Games Week I was given the chance to track down and battle three colossi to get a good idea of how some of the different environments look. From battered ruins, to a barren sea shore, to a dusky desert, each location is rich with detail.


Pebbles crumble under Wander’s hands as he clambers up fragile rock faces. His faithful steed Agro leaves footprints in the sand which eventually disappear in the wind. Blue butterflies dance between the leaves of a sun-dappled woodland. All the while you gallop through to the target: a magnificent, intimidating colossus that (for the most part) wants nothing more to be left alone.

2. The colossi pack an almighty punch

And if you thought each colossus was impressive on the PS3 re-release, then wait until you see these magnificent beasts on PS4 Pro. Their fur rustles in the wind and deforms as Wander does his best to cling to it, while each movement is slickly animated to further convey the sheer size and power bearing down on you.

Smart use of lighting, motion blur and depth of field effects only help to completely throw you into the desperate and frightening battles you’re in.

3. Streamlined controls make it easier to play

Bluepoint Games hasn’t just settled on a visual make over, either. The controls have cleverly tweaked to improve the gameplay experience.


The PS4’s touch pad handily lets you bring up a map, while jump has been moved to the X button instead of the triangle button. The dodge roll is also now mapped to the circle button, making it easier to deploy than the previous R1 + triangle combo.

4. But you can still play with classic controls

Although purists still have the option to go back to the classic controls, these changes show the developer’s willingness to make the game as accessible as possible, while retaining familiar quirks for veterans.


And as such, it all feels natural and intuitive. Crucially, although moved, Wander’s grab button (which you’ll be using a lot – no, seriously) is still located on the Dualshock 4’s shoulder (R2), meaning clinging to a colossus for dear life is still as terrifyingly intense as it always has been.

5. It’s every bit as beautiful as you remember

Which is all to say, the restrained core of Shadow of the Colossus remains, but the considered controls and restructured visuals have underlined the unforgettable beauty of it. When Wander and Agro tenderly look at each other in a brief respite when you leave the Dualshock 4 controller alone for moment, it’s hard not to just let them linger a bit longer in peace. And as each colossus falls and those emotive strings strike up, it’s all the more haunting.


If you’ve played Shadow of the Colossus before, the power of the unaltered original story will still make sure you feel the gut-wrenching remorse of every act of violence… but now it’s even more heightened on PS4. After our battle with the 13th colossus, staring at Wander’s dirt-stained clothes and haggard demeanour, I was instantly brought back to the feelings that made the original so memorable.

Shadow of the Colossus has found a perfect partner in Bluepoint Games, where the title’s elegance has only been elevated by a stunning visual overhaul. The only real question is whether your soul can handle the emotions of what awaits on 7th February 2018 when the game releases on PS4.

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  • How is the Camera ?

  • Great game, and I love all 3 of the team ICO games, but I’ll pass until the bargain bin this time around. Did everything to do on PS2 then again on the PS3. I am interested to know if this one will have its own trophy list though

    • I played it on PS2 and loved every minute of it, skipped it on PS3, and cannot resist to play it again with all those improvements on PS4.

  • There seems to be some online debate on whether or not this is a Remake or a Remaster; how does Sony, Bluepoint or JAPAN Studio weigh in on this? Obviously, from the details of this post, I can tell that the visuals are definitely improved, but that was also the case on the PS3 re-release. I can also read that there are optional controls and purest/original controls. Regardless, Remake or Remaster, it’s a classic beauty, that I look forward to revisiting.

    • After E3 when that question first started getting asked, Sony clarified that it is, indeed, a from-the-ground-up remake, not a remaster.

    • The PS3 version was an HD port of the PS2 original

      This PS4 version of the classic game is a ground up complete remake.

  • Oh I can handle it. Really looking forward to going back into this incredible world :-)

  • Bluepoint are the true masters of the best ports/remakes. Can’t wait for this game. What is next for Bluepoint? Perhaps a Ico port?

    • I’ll be buying this again for PS4 and if they give Ico similar treatment, I will certainly buy that again as well.

  • Glad to learn that the game features an updated control mapping option, but I just hope that’s not where the gameplay improvements end. I feel that it’s crucial for this game’s success upon release that some of the gameplay mechanics are updated as well for the modern age. Most importantly the aiming of the bow and control of the horse. At least from the looks of things, it seems the aiming is untouched which will surely receive poor reception by players. I don’t see why a modern 3rd person, over-the-shoulder aiming method couldn’t be implemented for this title. Unless of course there’s a reason why this would some how break the experience.

    It would be great if a rep close to the project could put my concerns to rest.

  • Unless there’s extra content (for example, some of the 8 cut colossi), there’s no real incentive to buy this game again just for some prettier graphics.

  • Bluepoint are the best at remastering. I wish they had of done arkham asylum and arkham city would have come out a lot better. Can’t wait to check this out.

  • i just want them to announce a collectors edition :-( i would pay $500 for a collectors of this game.

  • Can’t wait to play this again! Small question though, will the pre-order Life Sword DLC also come with the physical version? It isn’t clear at this point lol.

  • Can’t wait for this, it’s day 1 for me. I already play the original ps2 version years ago but haven’t tried the ps3 version, I remember ps2 version has R1 as a grab button though, not R2, so the ps4 will have R1 as a grab button too, right?

    Also, will there be a steelcase + artbook version of the game? If not, I’ll buy the digital version since it’s only $40.

    Ps. Can’t wait for the next game that bluepoint will remade/remake :)

  • Remakes of Shadow of the Colossus and Secret of Mana within two weeks of each other! Amazing time to be a gamer.

  • All I care about is if this game has Stereoscopic 3D like the amazing port on the PS3! PLEASE do NOT forget that MANY of us STILL love our 3D in our games, and some devs on the PS4 are still helping to keep us entertained with Stereoscopic 3D in their games, like Daylight, Super Stardust Ultra, Trine 1,2 and 3, Zombie Army Trilogy, Sniper Elite 3 and 4, and a few others, making their games stand out above the rest!

    If this game does not have Stereoscopic 3D, like Uncharted 3 left out, then this game will look FLAT AS PAPER, and certainly not worth the purchase. PLEASE listen to the fanbase, and give us what we had on the PS3 version, and make FULL USE of the PS4 Pro power! The HUGE difference between PS4 Pro and the XBone X is that the PS4 Pro supports 3D and PSVR Headset, which the XB does NOT support either.

    Please make this Remaster in 3D, and this will be a true masterpiece! Otherwise the PS3 version will STILL make this version look inferior, and that’s not cool as the PS4 Pro should EASILY handle 3D in their games at 1080p, as I play ALL the others in 3D and they look fantastic and play perfectly in 3D on my OLED 2016 LG TV and my 2013 Panasonic Plasma VT30 1080p 3DTV set!

  • I’m very pleased to hear that they have added an alternate control scheme. Jumping with X is just a cherry on top of everything else. Thanks to Bluepoint Games for paying attention to the little things like that!

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