ICO and Shadow of the Colossus Collection Review


The giant four-legged colossus burst out of the cave, his giant hooves creating imprints in the sand. “Hoo boy, what do I do now” I think to myself as I try to figure out how I’m going to figure this big guy out. I notice that the underside of his hooves are lit with the “attack me!” light that all the colossi have, and a well-placed arrow could buy me enough time to scale this behemoth and put him out of his misery.

Ico and Shadow of the ColossusI’m playing Shadow of the Colossus again, and I love every second of it.

Team ICO has packaged its two classic games, ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, into one HD collection that will blow you away. If you are one of the sorry souls who missed one or both of these games during their original PS2 run, there’s no longer an excuse: you must play them.

These two games are simple to understand: ICO tasks you with leading a young girl through a castle filled with puzzles and traps, while Shadow of the Colossus makes you defeat 16 gigantic bosses in order to save your love interest. However, the sense of discovery and understatement is what makes these games incredible. There’s no tutorial mode, there’s no “learn the controls with these missions” missions; when you take control, you’re on your own. When playing Shadow, the only consistent guidance the game provides is the ability to reflect light off of your sword, which will point the way for you to go. That’s it. Hell, ICO starts with you alone in a giant castle with no idea where to go, you just have to explore on your own. That exploration really heightens the sense of adventure, improving the entire experience, and both games have it in spades.

Ico and Yorda

While Shadow of the Colossus remains untouched in this collection, ICO has received some interesting boosts. As this is a port of the European version of the game, some puzzles are a bit different than players may remember them, but the most notable changes don’t come until after players finish the game. A co-op feature unlocks, allowing two players to traverse the castle together. Also, for the first time ever, Yorda will have her speech subtitled as well, so players can FINALLY understand what the hell she’s been saying all this time. It may not sound like much, but these two things will make ICO enthusiasts salivate for multiple playthroughs. The non-gameplay on-disc extras will offer Team ICO fans unprecedented insight on just how Team ICO ticks, with five different videos on development, but it’s the preview for The Last Guardian, the team’s next big project, that will peak the interests of gamers everywhere. It’s one thing to re-experience an excellent past, it’s another to glimpse into the future. Couple all of that with new HD graphics that make the games more beautiful than ever (no small feat considering how they looked before), and you have a collection that succeeds in everything it does.

ICO and Shadow of the Colossus were two of the finest games that the PS2 had to offer. It can be argued that they didn’t need to be repackaged, that they would stand the test of time forever. However, now a whole new generation of gamers can experience the excellence that was ICO and Shadow of the Colossus on one disc in glorious HD. There’s a reason that these two games are commonly mentioned in the “video games as art” debate; now it’s time for those who missed them before to remedy their mistakes.  All other developers looking to re-release games in a collection should take note of the ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection. This is how it should be done.


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Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

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