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Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection hands-on preview

Upscaling last-generation’s best games is a trend we can get behind, especially if they’re all handled with the love and care that went into the God of War and Sly Cooper HD collections. Sony’s latest expedition into the past has brought back Team Ico’s critically acclaimed PlayStation 2 games: Shadow of the Colossus and Ico, both of which could use a little cleaning up for the current generation.


 

After getting some hands-on time with the titles, an opportunity we’ve anxiously awaited since word came of their release, we’re happy to report that they’re more whimsical and wonderful than ever before. Bumped to 1080p, outfitted with optional stereoscopic 3D (so long as you have the TV and glasses for it), and granted the added bonus of Trophies, it looks like it’s going to be one of the best HD compilations yet.

Any worries that their transfers would suffer in the slightest can be put to bed; both games flawlessly ace the test of time. We played the opening few areas in Ico and crumbled several colossi in Shadow of the Colossus, and after becoming reacquainted with the games’ unique controls (triangle is jump—why is triangle jump?!) we found it incredibly difficult to put the DualShock down.

Ico, being the older of the two games, suffers slightly from blurry textures and lighting issues, and features more loading times than we’re used to seeing in modern games. This might not have been all that noticeable when Ico was released in 2001, but in 2011 it feels strange when we crawl out a window and the game loads. Despite these admitted nitpicks, the game looks and feels magnificent in HD. The characters, in particular, pop out of the screen, even without putting on glasses and activating the 3D.

When they developed Ico for the PlayStation 2, Team Ico put a lot of work into building the relationship between the two main characters. It’s important to like Yorda, or else it won’t be as distressing when enemies try and take her away. Now, with the game running in 1080p, we found ourselves even more attached to the mysterious characters, literally shaking as we fumbled to save her when she was grabbed by enemies—and that was only after a few minutes of playing.

And for as much as Ico benefits from the HD conversion, Shadow of the Colossus takes to it even better. It has some of the same lighting issues and blurry textures, but the character models look absolutely fantastic, and the colossi are utterly awe-inspiring. After running up the large, stone sword of the third boss, climbing up its hairy arm and shoving our sword into its rune-inscribed head, we realized that we had completely forgotten that we were playing a PlayStation 2 game. The part of our brain that we told to pay attention to the differences had shut off. It wasn’t just easy to do—it was impossible not to.


 

We’d be lying if we said that we were surprised by how much we enjoyed our time with the Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection. We knew we would. Anyone who has played either game knows how much they stood to gain from being converted to HD, and we’re happy to see that the developers have taken the time necessary to make sure they look, play, and feel as wonderful as possible.

Aug 10, 2011

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21 comments

  • Draijan - August 12, 2011 9:56 p.m.

    "It's not a game that xbox 360 players would appreciate anyway." I can understand that IF and ONLY if a 360 was there first system, but seeing how nintendo/sega/playstation came before xbox, to me there is no such thing as a true xbox fandome unless your under the age of six, or have played nothing but boardgames your whole life. So yea...I know plenty of xbox people who have gone out to get a Ps3 to be able to play this masterpiece, that quote should be takin as blasphemy against the vidja game populace. Console wars are just lame and old news anyways. Grow up :]
  • lovinmyps3 - August 12, 2011 4:11 a.m.

    I can't wait for this game. Hopefully I'll have a new PS3 not too long after it comes out.
  • lawman2593733 - August 12, 2011 12:56 a.m.

    @ItBurnsWhenIWii: Yes! The Jak games were part of my childhood. Only wish they would have done one more like the first one. Hope they ,make a new one for the PS3. A guy can dream..... Sincerely- Justice Law (a.k.a. Lawman)
  • Dlinedj09 - August 11, 2011 4:11 p.m.

    I agree with Syncmaster. ICO was extremely overrated. The world that it took place in was beautiful and atmospheric, yes, but having to deal with Yorda was a chore. She had no sense of self-preservation and only slightly more intelligence than a rotted log; not a good combination when the entire game is an extended escort quest. At no point in the game did I ever feel emotionally attached to the characters, which is rare for me. (I totally cried during both of inFamous 2's endings) SotC was much better. Though I still had a hard time attaching myself to the characters. However, the combat was so solid that any difficulties I had connecting myself to the characters in the game world were fixed by the joy and accomplishment of slaying another colossus many times my size. I think I might give them another go, even though their stories and atmosphere didn't quite live up to all the hype surrounding them. So long as it is a decent price I might pick this up.
  • Syncmaster - August 11, 2011 3:51 p.m.

    ICO is way overrated. it makes you care for Yorda and have some beautiful scenaries, but thats it. Now, Shadow of the Colossus is a real masterpiece.. the looks were impossible amazing even at its time
  • hppop1 - August 11, 2011 6:03 a.m.

    I'm really glad that this is a ps3 exclusive It's not a game that xbox 360 players would appreciate anyway. smart move team ico and by the way what happened to the last Guardian?
  • Yeager1122 - August 11, 2011 5:44 a.m.

    Now if only i had a ps3...
  • ItBurnsWhenIWii - August 11, 2011 1:30 a.m.

    I never played ICO but Shadow was a fun game. It also seems way easier to make HD because there are only 13 Colosi, the guy, the girl and the horse. Not too much to do. Only game left that needs to get done is a jak and daxter collection that includes the four ps2 titles and the two ps2 ones. I would be willing to pay $100 dollars if all six titles came on one blu ray disc. A guy can dream..... reCAPTCHA: injective ateath. hopefully i don't dream about that!
  • Zeb364 - August 11, 2011 12:21 a.m.

    I've had this collection (along with Last Guardian) pre-ordered for quite some time now and I can't wait to play all three games.
  • crumbdunky - August 10, 2011 11:04 p.m.

    Bugger! Aside from finally having a SotC with a frame rate in double figures all the way through all this is gonna do is make my TLG cravings totally unbearable. Great that more people will get to play these incredibly moving, emotion raising experiences. For me, though, it's going to make the wait feel even longer for the next TI game.
  • Nodoudt - August 10, 2011 10:21 p.m.

    Ah yes, the two reasons why I've envied the PlayStation.
  • LSZ - August 10, 2011 9:56 p.m.

    I've had this pre-ordered since before I was even born.
  • MyCoolWhiteLies - August 10, 2011 8:59 p.m.

    Ever since I played the early demo for ICO on the OPM disc so many years ago, I've been a fan of Team ICO. I'm really excited that a lot more people who never had a chance to play the games will now have the opportunity to. As long as you can look past a little bit of last-gen clunkiness, you'll find two of the most finely crafted and atmospheric games of all time.
  • Zepaw - August 10, 2011 8:13 p.m.

    I would love to play these but no PS3. Everything else GR has loved like Limbo and Braid I have as well so I am certain I would love them both.
  • Mooshon - August 10, 2011 8:11 p.m.

    Finally going to have to buy a PS3 then, balls.
  • emeraldphoenix7 - August 10, 2011 7:54 p.m.

    Day one buy for me. I'm even forgoing Starfox 64 3D to get this one. Oh, and by the way... *puts hipster glasses on* I was into these games waaaaay before they were popular!
  • spencertucksen - August 10, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    If this were given the treatment that the Halo: Combat Evolved re-release is getting, it would be amazing. The graphical quality and detail on the colossi would be insane.
  • Bawheidbob - August 10, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    Looking forward to these as i had not played them the first time round.
  • KNITEpanda - August 10, 2011 7:45 p.m.

    @jackthemenace, I've never really played Ico myself, nor had the want to play it. SotC however I've always wanted a remake for. Shoot, I'd like to see the ps2 and the new ps3 HD side by side just to see the difference of it. However, take it from someone who has played the game numerous playthroughs (since the game unlocks more content each playthrough) that it is indeed worth a day 1 buy. You probably wouldn't get much out of it through a rental. Anywho, As I stated previously, GamesRadar, it would be great if you guys could manage some side by side footage of both games! Dying to see the look :D
  • jackthemenace - August 10, 2011 7:38 p.m.

    I've never particularly cared about ICO, but I've always wanted to play SotC, and since they're in the same package, I'm pretty excited for both. Unfortunately, I've never cared enough about either to guarantee this as a day one buy, so it's probably a second-hand/rent deal :/

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