Take down massive monsters as you try to revive a girl. Sounds like a plan? That’s exactly what Shadow of the Colossus is all about.
For those unfamiliar, Shadow of the Colossus isn’t a new game. This action-adventure was first released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2 and was initially developed by SIE Japan Studio and Team Ico.
The game garnered much critical acclaim during its first release and won awards for its design and overall quality. A remastered version was released for the PlayStation 3 in September 2011. Bluepoint Games was in charge of the development back then, and now they’re at it again on the PlayStation 4, building on what was already a good game and making it look even better.
To appreciate just how much has changed from 2005 to 2018, watch this video below.
Now that’s what I call a glow up!
It’s easy to get lost and just marvel in the vastness of the Forbidden Lands of Shadow of the Colossus. That’s the first thing you’ll notice once you dive into the remastered version of this game.
The grass looks like it moves naturally, the fluidity of the water is captivating, and the way light hits the entire landscape is an absolute sight for sore eyes. Even after playing for a while, you never really get over how mesmerizing the view is. It’s definitely part of the game’s appeal.
Take the image below for instance. First look at the grass in the foreground; that’s about as real as you can get. Also notice the different shading on the areas that hit the sunlight versus areas that do not. Looking further to the background, the sides of the mountain look blurrier, indicating how there is some distance between where you are and where the mountain is, which is exactly how it would look like in real life.
This is where the remastered version truly shines. The level of detail is eye-gasmic and the physics of the environment you move around in are all on point. I personally wasted about an hour running around the Forbidden Lands just to soak in the place.
Even the colossi look so much better in the remastered version! There’s a certain more realistic feel to their actions — as realistic as one can imagine if there’s a huge being lugging itself around.
So onto the game. You play the part of Wander, a young man who went to the Forbidden Lands with hopes of reviving female character Mono. Upon arrival, you’re told by a mysterious multi-voiced entity called Dormin that in order to restore Mono’s life, you have to defeat the 16 colossi scattered on the Forbidden Lands, and this is where your journey truly begins.
Not much else is told about Wander, Mono, or any other character which means you don’t get too attached to any of them. However, as the game goes along and you defeat more colossi, the sequences that follow will leave you questioning one of the character’s motives.
As you progress you might also start questioning if what you set out to do will actually happen. In the later stages of the game, you might feel this doubt is reinforced. I’m not here to throw in spoilers so I’ll leave it at that.
As earlier mentioned, there are 16 colossi. If, like me, you didn’t play this game back when it was first released for the PlayStation 2 in 2005, then you’d think you’re in for a lot of grinding and powering up before facing off against each of the opponents. However, that’s not the case. The game feels more like a series of boss battles, each one with its own set of strengths and weaknesses.
There are two stages to beating the colossi. One, you have to find where the colossus is first. You’ll be assisted by your sword. Lift it up where there is sunlight and it will reveal the direction you need to go to find the colossus you must vanquish.
Part of the challenge and thrill of the game is locating the colossus. That includes needing to check your map from time-to-time and going through a few obstacles here and there. Finding each colossus can feel like a puzzle in itself; beating one though, that’s another story.
The Dormin assists you during colossus battles by giving vague clues on how to take it down. Initially, you have two weapons at your disposal — a sword and a bow that never runs out of arrows. You should be able to pick up another sword or two as you go along, if you look hard enough. You’ll need both depending on which colossus you’re up against.
If you’re curious to see how a battle looks like, here’s me trying my best not to get squashed by Gaius — the third colossus.
Each colossus presents a different challenge. Most of them are incredibly large and all of them possess a lot of destructive power. You’ll have to rely more on your problem-solving skills than anything else to get through each one.
In some cases, you’ll need the assistance of your trusted horse companion Argo. I found those challenges tricky, but they’re really fun once you get the hang of it.
Defeating a colossus can take anywhere between five to 30 minutes. Since they’re massive, a huge chunk of battles will have you holding on for dear life as the colossus tries to shake you off.
It doesn’t take too long to finish the entire game. My first and only run so far lasted only about 12 hours. That’s on normal mode. After completing the game, you have the option to play time attack mode where, as the name suggests, you’ll need to defeat each colossus within a specific period of time. Take too long and you have to start over.
As you keep playing the game, you’ll unlock more items that will increase either the length of your grip or strengthen your blows. Incredibly useful if you’re after all those trophies.
Should you play it?
Overall, Shadow of the Colossus is a moderately challenging game that has enough replay value for anyone’s gaming library. It’s not bogged down by too rich a story nor does it require hours upon hours of grinding to get the characters to a certain level.
Will I play it again? When I’m in between role-playing games, I will most definitely give the time attack mode a try.
It was even voted on the PlayStation Blog as the Players’ Choice for February 2018’s best new game. So if you’re still on the fence about it, know that a lot of other players found it to be worth their time and hard-earned cash.
It’s perfect for when you’re feeling stuck in another game or any other situation in life. A good hour or two should be enough to take down a colossus and you’ll feel pretty accomplished after doing so no matter how long it took you to take one down.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be out soon
Square Enix is being such a tease!
With the Game Developers Conference happening in just a few days, Square Enix recently announced a teaser for the Shadow of the Tomb Raider. This will be the third action-adventure game in the rebooted Tomb Raider franchise.
As to the specifics of the game, it has just been crickets and tumbleweeds. Square Enix is keeping their lips sealed — leaving us with just a cinematic trailer with a few quick shots of the upcoming game.
On the bright side, they’re promising a “full reveal” on April 27. They may hold off on some details on the game for E3 though, seeing as E3 is right around the corner.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is following Rise of the Tomb Raider which was released three years ago. It’s nice to see the franchise return to Lara Croft. As for what to expect, people are looking forward to new features besides the usual supernatural mystery, thugs to take down, items to collect, guns and bows, and tombs to, well, raid.
Unfortunately, fans will have to wait for more announcements next month. Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be available on September 14 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
Google is opening Maps for game developers!
Get ready for more AR games
There’s a wave of location-based augmented reality games that highly depend on Google Maps. However, the inability to create accurate mapping has been keeping developers from optimizing game design. Luckily, Google just announced that it’s opening up its mapping platform to game developers. This means anyone one can create AR games now with more ease.
Google says that its new Maps platform has been optimized for game developers. These developers can start by signing up to be given access to real-time Google Maps data.
To support developers after signing up, Google is also working on launching a new software development kit on Unity. Unity is one of the most popular game engines in the world so incorporating mapping data into this engine will help aspiring developers everywhere.
Even further, Google is introducing a new API to help create gameplay experiences around real-world locations. Google will be working closely with developers on this aspect, especially regarding appropriating elements, like span points and quest locations, within games.
One of the goals of the project was to help developers build detailed worlds using Maps data as a base to paint over.
“In this way you can create unique game environments that still feel connected to the real world,” says Patrick Donelan, lead engineer on the project.
This is a much-awaited move from Google. Following the raging success of Pokemon Go’s launch, they started receiving a surge of requests from developers looking to utilize Google Maps data for mobile games.
Over the years, Google has had a multitude of discussions with game developers and players as to how to help create a platform that optimizes AR game development. Google’s new Maps gaming initiative is the result of those discussions. This, Google says, focuses on location-based AR mobile games.
Google says it will be talking more about the initiative at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on March 19-23.
6 Best Gaming Smartphones (Q1 2018)
Each phone has its own power!
It’s easy to dismiss gaming smartphones as any flagship phone that’s currently available. There’s truth to that, but there also some factors we want to consider when looking for a smartphone that’ll be primarily used for mobile gaming like display size, battery life, and any accessories that’ll help improve the gaming experience.
Without further ado, here are our top six picks for the best gaming smartphones:
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
Whether you like iOS or not, you can’t deny that iPhones (especially the latest releases) are one of, if not the best mobile gaming platform. Apple’s devices run smoothly and are favored by developers so it’s a no-brainer that games released for iOS are guaranteed to be in tip-top shape. We chose the iPhone 8 Plus here because of its larger display at 5.5 inches and bigger battery compared to the iPhone 8, and it doesn’t have a notch that gets in the way like with the iPhone X.
Motorola Moto Z2 Play
Motorola’s game-changing Moto Mod accessories make their Moto Z series special. If you pair the Moto Z2 Play with the Gamepad Moto Mod, it’ll be an instant portable console. The Gamepad adds dual control sticks, a D-pad, and four tactile action buttons which mean you don’t have to rely on touch controls anymore. Also, the Moto Mod magnetically attaches to the phone with no wireless pairing required and has its own built-in battery. The gaming accessory works with the much powerful Moto Z2 Force, as well.
If you’re looking for an Android powerhouse but don’t want to shell out much cash, the OnePlus 5T is the way to go. With its top-of-the-line specifications and beautiful AMOLED display, the OnePlus 5T is an ideal gaming smartphone without breaking the bank. It even has an insane amount of storage and memory options available if you need more space to keep your big games in your pockets and running in the background while you do other stuff on the phone. The display’s 18:9 aspect ratio also makes gaming more immersive than the conventional 16:9 ratio.
When we were shortlisting our gaming smartphones, the Razer Phone was already on the top of the list. The phone is focused on being a true gaming smartphone since it’s made by Razer. It’s got the latest specifications to play popular and demanding games, a 5.7-inch IGZO panel with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate, front-facing stereo speakers, and a long-lasting battery. It also has other features to make it a daily driver, but you can immediately tell that the Razer Phone is built for gaming.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
One of the best and biggest Android smartphones is the Galaxy Note 8. It positions itself as a productivity phone with its S Pen and accompanying features, but thanks to the powerful processor, it can run demanding games, too. Its curved 6.3-inch Super AMOLED display is not only huge but also among the highest-rated displays in the market which will spoil you with pleasing visuals. While its battery is not as high capacity as others, it’s still sizeable at 3300mAh and the efficient processor can provide long hours of gaming.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2
Gaming smartphones don’t have to be expensive, especially for those who are fond of graphics-intensive games which are mainly shooting or racing titles. Some are just in for casual or multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games. For that, we recommend the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 — a large smartphone with midrange specs but sits in the budget price point. Its large 6.44-inch display is ideal for any game and the Snapdragon 625 can handle tasks pretty well. The phone is priced under US$ 270 (or even cheaper depending on where you buy it), making it the cheapest gaming smartphone on this list.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Review
Are these new features worth the price increase?
Samsung Galaxy S9: An honest review of AR Emoji and more
Find a phone that gives you both
Samsung Galaxy S9 Review: Brilliant but underwhelming
Brilliant but underwhelming
Flagship Mi Store opens in the Philippines with Redmi 5 Plus in tow
Huawei P20 Lite leaks in full unboxing video
Vivo V9 will launch on March 22 in the Philippines
Cebu billboard hints that Amazon is coming to the Philippines
Samsung Galaxy S9 Unboxing with Georgina Wilson
Best Budget Smartphones in the Philippines below P10,000
ASUS officially announces ZenFone 5 and 5Z powered by AI
Best Premium Smartphones in the Philippines above P30,000
OnePlus destroys Apple and Samsung phones in latest advertisement
Best Midrange Smartphones in the Philippines from P10,000 to P20,000
News2 weeks ago
ASUS ZenFone 5 Lite to be called ZenFone 5Q in the Philippines
Reviews1 week ago
Samsung Galaxy S9 Review: Brilliant but underwhelming
Gaming2 weeks ago
Asphalt 9: Legends now available on iOS, coming soon to Android
Camera Shootouts1 week ago
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ vs Google Pixel 2: Camera Shootout
Features2 days ago
6 Best Gaming Smartphones (Q1 2018)
News2 weeks ago
11,000 people lined up for $50 iPhones and discounted Apple products
India2 days ago
Vivo V9 goes live on official website before launch
Reviews2 weeks ago
Meizu M6s Review: A refreshing sight among budget options