Shadow of the Colossus is a simple legend about a boy and his mare. It’s a messy narrative, about hubris, and fatality, and the frantic greed of love that can cause us to do stuffs we know full well will be completed in tragedy. It is also, incontrovertibly, one of the main videogames in the most recent record of the medium.
Quiet and barren, the 2005 release offered a reading in the importance of veiled dread and understated tendernes. Like its precede, ICO, it carries a plateau premise set in a scenic world, one that would be beautiful if it weren’t so alien. A daughter has died, a casualty of a awful ritual. In a forbidden wilderness, there is a divine being who are in a position resurrect her. A boy, Wander, takes this girl he affection to the deity Dormin, who promises to resurrect her for a price. There are 16 colossi straying this ground, says Dormin; if the boy kills them, the girl will live.
This week, more than a dozen times after the original, Shadow of the Colossus has been reintroduced, with all the bells and whistles of a modern remake — 4K graphics, easter eggs, and optional 60 frames / second if it’s running on PlayStation 4 Pro. Like any remaking of a popular entitlement, this one is contentious, and the choices made by Bluepoint Games in the process of “modernizing” the game deserve open scrutiny. And yet, while replaying this old classic in a new packet, I find myself instead considering how appropriate, even poetic, it is to be retelling this particular story.