Shadow of the Colossus Hands-On Preview
Shadow of the Colossus Box Art
System: PS3
Dev: Team ICO
Pub: SCE
Release: September 27, 2011
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p
Colossal HD
by Patriel Manning

There are few games that warrant a rerelease. Strike that. There are few entertainment experiences that warrant a rerelease. It's a small crowd. The original Star Wars trilogy could be counted among the small few, though truth be told, Han always shot first in our hearts. To be counted among the few works of art that warrant this special treatment is a real honor. Two such games that will be receiving this honor are two PlayStation 2-era titles from Team ICO, Shadow of the Colossus and ICO. In this article we'll focus our attention on the former.

Shadow of the Colossus Screenshot

If you were previously unaware of this masterpiece, here's a quick recap: Shadow of the Colossus stars Wander, a boy whose sole goal is to restore the life of Mono, a girl who is believed to have been sacrificed to avoid an unfortunate destiny. Wander's only way to restore the girl's life is through defeating sixteen monsters known as the Colossi, who were enormous in size. A shadowy spirit known as Dormin promises to restore Mono's life after the defeat of all sixteen Colossi. You traverse the immensely vast landscape on your trusty steed, Agro, who at times offers a battle assist. It's a fairly simple setup, but the payoff comes from the masterful way Team ICO handles the emotional content contained within the story.

On the gameplay side of things, Team ICO implemented some pretty innovative ideas. Among them was a stamina meter. Stamina had been measured in games before, particularly sports titles. However, the way it was implemented in Shadows was truly impressive. In the lower right hand corner of the screen, there was a stamina meter. Running on foot or scaling walls or battling the Colossi themselves for long periods of time drained Wander's stamina meter. Given the size of the monsters you were battling, it was vital to take into account the efficiency with which you had to carry out your battle plan. This meant that a haphazard attitude would be consistently rewarded with failure. Your stamina and health could be increased by consuming certain foods found in the vast natural environments.

Shadow of the Colossus Screenshot

On my playthrough (before I was made aware of any of this), one thing quickly became painfully clear: the difficulty that was present in the original PS2 title has not been watered down. Not even a little. Adding to that difficulty was the fact that the classic Team ICO control scheme was kept intact. That meant that "jump" was mapped to triangle instead of cross (or x if you prefer), which took more getting used to than I'm comfortable reporting on, let alone playing in front of a few hundred strangers and the expert handholder who'd probably been watching people suck all evening. Ledges and objects could be grabbed onto by pressing and holding R1.

None of the Colossi would come looking for you. Instead you had to go searching for them. Thankfully the enchanted sword you carried worked as a sort of compass that would point you in the proper direction. All you had to do was stand in the sunlight and press circle and pan the area until the points of light that were emitted from the sword pointed in one general direction. This same mechanic was also used during boss battles, as each of the Colossi had a specific weakness that had to be located and exploited in order to bring them down.

Shadow of the Colossus Screenshot

My performance anxiety notwithstanding, one other thing was also clear: the updates to the graphics were minimal. That's not to say that it looked bad, far from it. The demo was running in 1080p, which showed the incredible fidelity of the original models still being used. The textures appeared to be a bit blurry but not drastically so, which, again, is a testament to the quality of the work Team ICO turned in nearly six years ago.

I was told by a Sony rep that Shadow of the Colossus HD will also support 7.1 surround sound and 3D, as well as trophies. Shadow of the Colossus HD will be available in the Ico & Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection, available on September 27th. Stay tuned to CheatCC for more on the Ico & Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection and more at E3 2011.

By Patriel Manning
CCC Contributing Writer

Game Features:

  • An artistic masterpiece developed by the critically acclaimed game developers of ICO.
  • Innovative gameplay combines the puzzle and action/adventure genres.
  • Journey across picturesque landscapes and unearth the ferocious beauty of the sixteen Colossi.
  • Combat each Colossi with great skill and resourcefulness of a magical sword and sturdy bow and arrow.
  • Overcome a variety of terrain challenges placing great emphasis on pure exploration.
  • Travel on horseback across miles of ancient land.

  • Screenshots / Images
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