Shadow Of The Colossus HD - PAX Hands-On

By James Hawkins in Hands-on, PAX 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011 at 3:00 pm
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Sony's media-only PAX preview was held in the basement of a hotel about a quarter-mile away from the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Inside, about twenty five or so bloggers and journalists were milling about, at any given time, clasping icy waters and snacks in the cool air-conditioned conference room. A few donned headphones and played the games. There were flat-screens and consoles lining the perimeter of the room. It was a pretty standard conference affair.

After a brief PR introduction, I walked to the only available console to get some hands-on time while I waited for Journey, thatgamecompany's upcoming title, to free-up. I sort of recognized the "start" menu. I put on the headphones. I resumed play. I was in the Shrine of Worship.

Shadow of the Colossus has gone down in history as one of the most important titles ever on a number of fronts. Visually, it has always been arresting, with colors and designs that are still very relevant. From a narrative perspective, it is minimal, muted, and brilliant -- a facet that plays a very important part in the dialogue of video games as art today. Its scale is unprecedented. Its soundtrack is gorgeous.

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And I was hit with these at once -- only in a sharper, lusher, remastered version of what I knew vaguely from playing all those years ago. It matched what I remembered of the game, and how I remembered it. In retrospect, I recalled the game's lavish backdrops, scenery, and aesthetics in a glamorized version of what they really were -- those harsh edges and scaly textures are in the original version of the title, but I'd glossed over them, remembering the game better than it actually was (its only limit being the capacity of its technology). What the HD brought for me was a realization of that romanticized mental version. The fluid mechanics and responsive controls remain untouched.

The polished visuals and crisps sounds were exactly what I'd expect for an "HD Remake," and fans of the game can all be rest-assured that what they're going to receive is well worth all the money that have to spend on it. Shadow of the Colossus is just that kind of game. If you didn't play it seven years ago, you've been granted a perfect opportunity when it's reissued on the same disc as Ico later this year.

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