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Shadow of the Colossus (2018) review
Exceptional
by Elia Mercatanti

Ottimo restauro/remake che non va minimamente a stravolgere l'originale ma a riproporre la stessa formula potenziandone la grafica e la fruibilità con la possibilità di gioco a 60 FPS fissi o una modalità grafica più appagante a 30 FPS. Il gioco in se è una piccola perla, un'atmosfera estraniante, lande desolate colline montagne, abissi senza fondo e burroni elevati, cascate altissime e scogliere sconfinate, il tutto pervaso da un silenzio e una pace quasi innaturale dove solo il rumore del vento o del protagonista si colgono. La trama principale ricorda le fiabe più classiche, un guerriero, una ragazza da salvare, o meglio da riportare in vita, e degli esseri misteriosi, i colossi, che sembrano la chiave per riuscire nella nostra missione, e che devono essere sconfitti per arrivare al nostro obiettivo, così per lo meno ci viene detto dal misterioso essere che abita il tempio delle lande proibite. Il nostro unico compagno è il nostro fedele cavallo Agro che ci accompagnerà nelle nostre peripezie. Il design dei colossi è unico, essere giganteschi fatti di pietra e terra che assumono le più disparate sembianze, tutti con i loro punti deboli e strategie per poterli abbattere. In una prima run il bello del gioco sarà proprio riuscire a capire come abbattere i vari colossi che incontreremo che apparentemente sembrano così invulnerabili e minacciosi. La narrazione silenziosa riesce perfettamente a creare un atmosfera ed un'immaginario veramente originali e magiche. Anche la colonna sonora e il sound design è molto curato ed riesce ad enfatizzare le fasi di battaglia con i colossi e i momenti di contorno, ma anche i suoni dell'ambiente. Il gioco offre un'elevata rivocabilità permettendo al giocatore di risfidare i colossi sconfitti, anche con sfide a tempo, e con la possibilità di sbloccare nuovi oggetti per potenziare le abilità del personaggio o introdurre alcune nuove possibilità di attacco o strategiche. Infine il gioco ha una lunghezza moderata che però si sposa bene con il tipo di narrazione e racconto che vuole proporre.

VOTO 9/10
«Blew my mind»
«Sit back and relax»
«OST on repeat»

Other reviews9

A great remake of a masterpiece of a game. The definitive version!
«Blew my mind»
Short: on of the best remasters (remake) I know.
The graphic part is awsome and the game is short and enjoyable.
However as you kill giants the game becomes repetitive. There are a lot of collossus and it's almost the same mechanical for each of them. Sometimes it could be very frustrating because you have to repeat a lot of mechanical things. Besides it's hard to control the horse and this is also frustrating.
I was tempted to drop out the game several times, but I persisted and looked for guides in internet to defeat most of the collossus (or to get to them).
This was the first game that made me physically exhausted while playing.
«Blew my mind»
«Time-tested»
I can see why people would have been impressed way back when it was originally released because of the large scale to the game. I never played it back then. I do not get why this remaster deserves such high reviews. The controls aren’t good and the game is boring. I didn’t finish it. I did probably 8 or so bosses. The boss fights weren’t that clever. I didn’t think they were good puzzles. I saw so many posts on Reddit from people praising this game. I think they are just hopping on a bandwagon saying they liked it because they heard it was a good game or they are blinded by nostalgia. It’s not good. Not worth your time.

Final Score: B-
A slow burning, brooding game that leaves you time to think about who you are, what you're doing, and why you're doing it.

In 2020, when nearly every game I play (with an exception to a few) are immediately and urgently occupied with giving you a laundry list of things to do and see. Shadow of the Colossus instead leaves you with a few words and a light to follow. There is no one shouting commands at you, no constant objective on your display. It is a beautiful and strange wasteland where saving a unnamed girl brings you to align yourself with the epic task of slaying a band of Colossus's. 

The Story & Setting

You play as a young boy who is trying to save his... Sister? Friend? Girlfriend? It doesn't matter, really. Because that serves as the blank slate for you to get engaged with the story. The girl serves as a conduit for the player to place their own loved one, an initial push to take on your first Colossus. 

Although it isn't until about two thirds into the game where things start to shake up from the usual formula of slaying variously shaped Collosus's. The setting of the game overtakes as the primary force for engaging with the story, wanting to know which Collosus is next, what they look like, how they act, what habitat they have chosen. All of this shrouded in a delicate and cunning mystery, a sense that all of the places you go and things you interact with in the game world could end up being nothing like you expected. 

As you traverse the barren wasteland no music plays, you are simply left with the sound of rustling trees, waving grassland and the panting of your horse and yourself. It allows the player to ponder on all of the above, and that's what makes this game so good. It's so simple, but in it's simplicity opens your mind to dozens of questions and reflections on this world. Debates and thoughts which come internally, which are projected from yourself onto this landscape. 

The Gameplay

Again, the gameplay is super simple. But I will say it can be awkward and cumbersome at times. There were a few key moments where I wanted to throw my controller out the window, and one or two occasions where if not for the help of guides, I wouldn't have been able to progress for the game hadn't laid out the mechanic which I needed to engage with in order to. (The use of the flame torch against the first Bull Colossus & jumping the bridge with Argo for the final Colossus.)

However, plummeting your sword into a Colossus for that final kill, with the accompanying excellent sound design was a satisfying feeling. And seeing these behemoths fall at your, in comparison, tiny feet, made you feel like a flare of might in a man. 

The Colossus fights themselves were all delightfully different, with only a couple finding their way into the 'overly frustrating' category. Shout outs to the Flying Sand Colossus, The Raging Bull Colossus and the Sea Serpent Colossus. All exceptional fights. 

Tech Ranks

Graphics - 4/5 - Exceptional scale and array of landscapes. True feeling of a Forgotten Land, but some sections were overwhelmingly dark to the point where I had to turn my brightness to maximum. 

Animation - 5/5 - While some of climbing was awkward at times. Grabbing onto the hairs of a giant Colossus and being swung from side to side as it tries to shake you looked and felt incredible. A lot of the 'giant' feeling from these beasts was done through the balance of the player being flung around featherweight style and the Colossus taking humongous thundering motions. 

Art - 5/5 - Cohesive and beautiful, the world felt like an alien planet via mythos and legend. Accompanied the metaphorical mulling of the story extremely well. 
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Feels amazing to take down Colossus
8/10

+ Incredible scale of boss fights
+ Intriguing story told subtlety
+ "games as art"
+ Remake preserved atmosphere/feel of original while adding gorgeous visuals

- Camera is very frustrating
- Finding Colossi is annoying in empty world
This cult classic changed the way I view everything around me, and got itself a great place in my heart. This new perspective of the game makes me want to spend an eternity just listening to the ambience sounds and the mare's soothing trot.
«Blew my mind»
«Can’t stop playing»