I recently completed the remake of Shadow of the Colossus for PS4. I did not play the original. I did my best to not compare it to current games while playing or hold the dated elements against it (which is difficult to hold from doing).
At first I found the game to be rather frustrating, for the same reasons as The Last Guardian:
1 - Janky Camera
2 - Janky Controls
For the first few battles I struggled to understand why I fell when getting too close to the joint of a colossus. The feedback when climbing felt disjointed. Controlling the horse was a bit awkward.
Over time I fell into the controls and mechanics, and didn't really have a problem with them. Climbing wasn't a big deal. Charging up the sword attack for critical hits on the weak points of the colossus kinda/sort of made sense. I learned the horse would auto navigate. And I ignored how lame it looked to swim with your sword out.
Side point about controls: I literally had no idea what the yellow meter was until I was on the 2nd to last colossus. I guess that is the drawback of not including instruction manuals these days.
The camera, on the other hand, remained an unfortunate frustration from beginning to end. I was constantly struggling against the camera that would demand to be in a position it favored. The camera would dip below the water level or collide awkwardly into a wall. It would rubberband away from what I wanted to focus on. It was, in the end, the most difficult enemy in the game.
The architecture, monster design, and landscapes were the highlight for me. They were totally beautiful.
At first I felt the empty world to be strange, when I looked at it from the perspective of it being "wasteful". In other words, why not fill the large areas with smaller enemies, more things to discover, achievements to complete, etc? I was in the mind set of Breath of the Wild. But when I allowed myself to relax, and look at it from a different perspective, I saw the vastness as a key element to the story: this was a cursed land that had not been seen by man in a very long time. I started thinking of it as a a fairy tale or ancient myth, where the key elements to the story are the most important, and the fluff in-between isn't. It allowed me to look at the environments and simply enjoy the look of them, rather than stressing over the thought I had in BOTW: "have I looked over every inch of that area yet"?
The story was simple yet interesting. It was a bit lame and repetitive to hunt, kill, return, and get your next mission over and over again. I think there was a big loss in not building up more story of the elder that storms in at the end. There was one cutaway mid-way that showed them on the outskirts, and I would have liked to have seen that built up a little more...just something to break up the repetition.
The ending was....exciting at first, then weird, then confusing. I really don't know how to feel about it.
In summary, the mechanics are simple and dated, and the camera is a bit wacky. The environments are beautiful. Overall I enjoyed it quite a bit. I hit some frustrating snags that were worth getting through in order to complete what was a fun game.
Brian Riggsbee lives in San Francisco CA. He enjoys practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, creating art, gaming, chasing adorable dogs, and spending time with his wife and boy.