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Shadow of the Colossus (PS4)
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Shadow of the Colossus is a remastered version of an adventure game originally released in 2005. The game focuses on a young warrior trying to defeat 16 gigantic monsters with a bow and arrow and a sword. Finding and correctly targeting the weak points of the monsters sprays black blood from its wounds. A character also winds up getting impaled by a sword and shot through the leg with an arrow. Players may find themselves frustrated by the controls, which can be a bit stiff, especially compared to other modern adventure games. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content to be found in the game.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS (PS4) is a remaster of the adventure game originally released in 2005 and re-released in a separate collection in 2011. The game takes place in a mysterious land, and starts with a young man named Wander riding his horse Agro toward a remote temple, carrying the body of a dead woman with him. As soon as he gets to the temple, the reason for his journey is clear: Wander hopes to bring the woman back to life, and seeks any ritual or power he can find to manage his task. In the temple, he discovers a spirit that tells him that to bring the woman back, he has to track down and kill the 16 Colossi that roam the wilderness of this realm. Using only a bow and arrow, a sword, and your wits, you have to use the mysterious clues the voice gives you to find these monsters, and then figure out what their weaknesses are and bring them down to fulfill your mission. Can Wander bring the young woman back? What is the significance of these creatures, and why do they need to be destroyed? Over the course of the adventure, you'll discover some of these answers, and uncover many additional questions about the tale. Along with 4K upgraded visuals and enhanced gameplay features, including a photo mode, this version of the game includes a number of unlockables, including additional weapons and outfits, concept art that compares the original to this new version, and multiple difficulty levels and secrets.
Is it any good?
Much more than a simple update of a classic adventure, this game brings its striking story to a new generation with updated visuals to captivate and amaze. Shadow of the Colossus digs its hooks into you as soon as you start the game, demanding that you actively explore the land to uncover what you need to do and why. You're given only minor details and sent to slay the 16 Colossi, all of which tower over you by hundreds of feet. You don't know why they're there, why they need to die, or how you're going to kill them, but that adds to the mystery. What's more, while battling the Colossi is central to the plot, there's no horde of enemies to fight through or minor foes to cut down. The world is virtually empty save you and the beasts you're hunting, which makes the showdowns incredibly intimate and powerful -- both when you stumble across them and once you finally defeat them. Do you feel bad about killing them? Is it something to celebrate? You'll find yourself going through a range of emotions over the course of the game, which can be beaten in about 10 hours, and even faster on successive playthroughs to unlock some of its secrets.
Regardless of your emotional journey, this game looks amazing. Shadow of the Colossus was always a beautiful title on the PS2 and on the PS3, but its graphics are eye-popping on the PS4, especially with it being playable in 4K. The fact that the initial shrine has more detail than the entire original game speaks to the care and the attention paid to making this game an experience you need to play. It's also driven home in the comparison section of the collectibles, where you can see the original game's look versus the updated one's. It's hard to find fault with the game, but there is one issue: The controls can still be a bit frustrating. They're much tighter than in the PS3 and PS2 versions, and you won't run into nearly as many glitches. Unfortunately, every now and then, getting a good hold on a Colossus can be harder than it needs to be; your grip evaporates faster than you can climb, or the camera gets stuck on a limb of a monster, which makes it harder for you to transition from one area to another. But these are minor legacy issues that can be worked around, and it's incredibly worth putting up with them for the stunning gameplay. If you haven't played Shadow before, you have to play this game. If you have, play it again -- it's a haunting, magical experience.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Does the violence in this game matter when you're facing off against giant, clearly unrealistic monsters? Is it a problem that you're fighting monsters at all?
Talk about whether games can help improve problem-solving skills. Do you find that some games help you to consider real-world problems in new ways? Has a game ever proven an inspiration for a real-world task?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment America
- Release date: February 6, 2018
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Horses and Farm Animals, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Blood, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.