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.