Sony's Team ICO have a knack for creating experiences in video games that feel unlike anything else. They have accomplished this twice on the PlayStation 2, with their two masterpieces, "ICO" and "Shadow of the Colossus." While both games are ten and six years old respectively, they are just the prelude to the studio's next game, "The Last Guardian," and what better way to remind your fans of how good your games are, than to re-release them in high definition. Following in the footsteps of some other, high profile, re-releases "ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection" brings these two beloved games to the PlayStation 3.
As two games that redefined the action/adventure genre, "ICO" and "Shadow of the Colossus" need little introduction. This "Collection" brings both games together on to one disc, drastically updates their visuals, adds 3D support, and takes you back to the magical world of the boy with the horns.
Less Abstract Art
One of the things that made the original versions of these games stand out was that they pushed the PS2's graphics capabilities, which resulted in two of the most beautiful games on the platform. Taking those creations and bringing them to an HD console only ups the overall experience, proving that games can look like living pieces of art. In addition to the re-done graphics, Sony has included 3D capabilities in both games, for anyone that possesses a TV that can take advantage of them (note: this reviewer does not).
European Edition Addition
When the original versions of these games made their way to retail, the PAL releases actually included more features than the Japanese and U.S. releases, since they had the benefit of a couple extra months of development time. For fans of the series, these changes actually made the European games the definitive versions. Sony must have agreed, because those are the versions that are included in this collection. While the most of the additions and changes can be considered minor (especially in "SotC"), U.S. fans will have the opportunity to play a 2-player version of "ICO" and even read Yorda's translated dialog.
Included alongside the games are a series of bonus videos that will give longtime fans a behind-the-scenes look at these games, as well as the team behind them. There's a little something for everybody here; if you aren't a big fan of watching games in their prototype stage, at least there's some brand new "Last Guardian" footage to whet your whistle.
Same Games, Same Problems
The PS2 releases of these games were great, but they weren't quite perfect. Since the versions of each game included in this collection are straight ports of those games, the same potential issues remain. For example, the cameras are still fixed in "ICO," and can cause some obstructed gaming. Additionally, the platforming in both games can be a bit finicky at times, and is pretty much the only point at which the games show their age. Traditionalists may enjoy the fact that nothing was changed, but it seems like a missed opportunity to fine tune these great titles.
Not much as changed with either "ICO" or "Shadow of the Colossus" in this collection, but maybe that's a good thing. Unlike many action/adventure games on the PS2, both of these games still hold up against some of the best games of this console generation. If there is a chance that you missed one, or both of these releases last time around, do yourself a favor and pick up this collection. While there's a chance that the bonus videos might not be enough for fans that have already played through both of these titles, just remember, "The Last Guardian" is right around the corner, and another play through of these games would be a great primer for that game's 2012 release.