“Shadow of the Colossus” Thrives in a Open World Devoid of Activity

The Forbidden Land of 2005’s “Shadow of the Colossus” is a barren wasteland containing only a fraction of the elements found in other open world titles. With Bluepoint’s recent HD re-release on the PS4, players can savor the world without the PS2’s muddiness.

Players control Wander, a young man seeking to revive his deceased girlfriend. Wander enters the Forbidden Land and makes a pact with the dark god Dormin; Dormin will return his girlfriend to life if Wander murders 16 colossi. Although the Forbidden Land is vast and covers several biomes, few would consider this title as an “open world” endeavor. The newest generation of gamers, whom have been forged in an environment full of hand-holding and checkpoints, will likely find many minor grievances with Shadow of the Colossus.
• Other than the engagements between Wander and the unlucky colossi, players will have to hunt down waypoints across sweeping vistas. While the game features an expertly-drawn map, it only reveals what the player has already seen.

• When hunting colossi, players must raise Wander’s sword into the air and follow the general direction that sunlight bounces off. This can lead to some consternation as many colossi naturally blend into the terrain.

• Because the game is dedicated to hunting and killing colossi, its massive world is devoid of almost anything else for the player to interact with beyond lizards, fruit and coins.

By tracking and killing certain lizards, Wander’s grip meter, crucial in scaling colossi to reach their weak points, will increase. Certain trees bear fruit that slightly increase Wander’s vitality. Coins were added to this version of the game, with a new sword as reward for collecting all 79. Adept players can find a map that reveals every lizard and fruit tree location. Unfortunately, players have to really explore the world to discover these incremental rewards.

While Shadow of the Colossus offers few things, the colossi fights and exploration are their own reward.