The ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection Review

The ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection (Available exclusively on PlayStation 3)
ESRB Rating: T
Players: 1-2
Genre: Adventure
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: SCE Studios Japan & Bluepoint Games
Release Date: September 27, 2011

Parent Talk: Sony’s latest HD remastered collection is rated T for teen by the ESRB because of blood and violence.  The warning mostly pertains to Shadow of the Colossus, as the only enemies in ICO are shadow beasts.  Parents need not worry about their teens playing this collection.

Plays Like: ICO is about a boy and girl escaping a giant labyrinth, and Shadow of the Colossus focuses on a man avenging a loved one by killing giant beasts, which happen to have platforming levels built into their hide.  Does that sound like any other games you know of?

Review Basis: Having completed the original releases, I compared what was changed or altered with this collection.

Note: Given Project C.O.E. wasn’t in publication at the time of ICO’s release, I’ve written a brief synopsis on the game, and the same for Shadow of the Colossus for consistency purposes.

ICO – An adventure in excellence

ICO was a very original September 2001 PS2 release.  The story revolved around a young boy, Ico, born with the misfortune of having horns on his head.  As such he was banished to a cell within a giant labyrinth. When Ico breaks out, he meets a young girl named Yorda, and together they try to escape.

ICO is fondly remembered because of its hand-holding gameplay and intuitive puzzles.  Players controlled Ico as he commanded Yorda to follow him, or stay behind.  Usually Ico would hold Yorda’s hand as they made their way out. Along the way Ico protected Yorda from shadow creatures with basic melee attacks. She wasn’t the brightest NPC to ever grace a videogame, and would be in constant trouble. That remains today, as does Ico’s bizarre jumping mechanics.

Still the adventure is as enjoyable as it was ten years ago, though the gameplay is a little rough around the edges.

Shadow of the Colossus – An adventure of epic proportions

Shadow of the Colossus was a October 2005 release, and is known for some of the most spectacular battles to ever appear on the PS2.  Players stepped in the boots of a young man whose mission was to restore the soul of his lost loved one.  To do so, he had to locate and defeat 16 of the largest creatures ever conceived.  Upon defeating the Colossi, players started to question whether what they were doing was morally right.

The platforming and action is as exciting as it was six years ago.  Taking down a Colossus required you to scale their bodies and locate key weak points.  The strange layout of the creatures’ bodies allow for bizarre platforming and action sequences that have aged tremendously.  Nothing is as neat as trying to hike up a 70-foot beast as he’s motioning to swat you off his leg like a fly.

What’s New?

  • Trophies!  Similar to the God of War Origins Collection released a few weeks back, this collection features two platinum trophies.  Most of the others are extremely simple to acquire too.
  • Stereoscopic 3D support.  If you own a 3D HDTV, you can experience both classics as never before.
  • HD support.  The visuals have been smoothed out, and the framerate significantly improved.
  • Extra features.  From bonus commentary videos to the European ICO 2-player mode, (you must complete the single-player first), there are bonus features galore.

The Lowdown:

ICO and Shadow of the Colossus remain two fantastic games.  Sony having put so much effort and thought into this HD collection shows they too loved these original and innovative IPs.  If you own a PS3, these are two trips well worth revisiting, or experiencing for the first time.

Average Score Scale: 8.0 (+/- 0.5) out of 10

Personal Final Score: 8.5/10 (Inflated)

Reason for +0.5 Inflation: Excellent games that look better than ever.  The bonus material is well worth the low entry price.

Reason for -0.5 Deflation: ICO hasn’t aged as gracefully as Shadow of the Colossus.  If you never liked either game, this collection won’t change your mind.

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