PS3 Reviews: ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection Review

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ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection Review

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Graphics:

 

9.3

Gameplay:

 

9.8

Sound:

 

9.7

Control:

 

9.2

Replay Value:

 

9.6

Overall Rating:       9.5

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

SCEA

Developer:

SCEI

Number Of Players:

1-2

Genre:

Adventure

Video games aren’t art. …whoever says that has never seen ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, and they definitely haven’t seen them in brilliant new high-definition. For years, both titles have been considered to be elite productions, ones that excel in the realm of innovation and artistic production. Now, they’ve been re-released in the latest awesome collection; it’s the ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection and there can be no better addition to a veteran gamer’s growing library. Even if you still own both PS2 versions (and I do), this is simply a step up.

Obviously, the biggest upgrade involves the visual presentation, which reminds us once again that Team ICO only employs artistic visionaries. The improved frame rate makes both games move fluidly and without any hint of old-fashioned limitation, and the new 3D support is absolutely mindboggling. If you thought the Colossi looked amazing before, imagine them lumbering towards you in stunning HD; consider the 3D view when hanging precariously off the side of a fantastical, mammoth creature. Honestly, though, 3D isn’t required to enjoy the fruits of the developer’s labor; that shines through in the timeless, unique gameplay and refined graphical palette. No complaints here.

If you’re familiar with these adventures, you know subtlety plays a significant role. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the audio work; very rarely is there any voice acting and in-your-face effects are shelved in favor of atmospheric style and tone. That being said, what we do hear works beautifully because it enhances that singular feeling of loneliness and vulnerability. The world is big and mysterious and we’re just trying to survive and somehow conquer. The soundtrack is there and it swells to accompany particularly harrowing events but for the most part, it’s subtle. And yet, very, very effective.

You may already know the plots and gameplay formats for both games, so let’s keep the gameplay introduction and explanation brief. In ICO, you will guide a girl through a dark, almost surreal castle. Her name is Yorda and while intent on following and making her way, she’s not very athletic. And being just a little boy, you aren’t exactly a superhero, either. Therefore, your adventure consists in finding ways around and through various obstacles, helping Yorda wherever necessary, and battling shadows that often rise up from the ground to attack. It’s a puzzle platformer with a bit of action, and it’s a classic.

In Shadow of the Colossus, you have to seek out 16 Colossi that exist in a large, stark landscape. Taking them down requires a great deal of creativity and timing; again, you’re not some muscle-bound hero with supernatural powers. You’re just a slightly awkward young man with a sword, so it’s going to take all your observation and attention to slay these mammoths. ICO features more of a linear and traditional storyline while SotC is more focused on the gameplay throughout, but both operate in these unbelievably engrossing virtual worlds. It’s impossible to look away.

One fact to note is that ICO is based on the European release, so American gamers might spot a few differences. Some of the puzzles have been altered, for instance, but the biggest change is as follows: upon completing the game once, you can replay and Yorda’s gibberish will be accompanied by subtitles, so you can finally understand what she’s saying. You can even try a new co-op mode that lets a friend play as Yorda, and that changes the entire complexion of the adventure. Not only are these awesome additional features, they also enhance this collection’s longevity.

There isn’t anything so significantly different in SotC, but that’s okay. It makes the best use of the graphical overhaul and remains just as mesmerizing and addictive as ever. Plus, with the addition of Trophies for both titles, fans will almost certainly try for one of those elusive Platinums; it might be easier to attain here and you’ll thoroughly enjoy yourself going for it. You’ll be lost in the compelling characters and worlds, original gameplay that demands your undivided attention, and overall sensation provided by gifted director Fumito Ueda and his staff. You just don’t find environments like these; the subtlety complements every flair and wonderfully orchestrated pacing change.

The ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection isn’t just a couple of old games that may or may not benefit from a glossy sheen. It’s not just about wondering if titles from yesteryear can stand up to modern productions. It’s about realizing that unique, singular experiences never really die, and will always retain the roots of creative inspiration. The only downside is that the control still seems a little clunky and even unresponsive, as it did when the games first arrived. That hasn’t changed and can present a potential obstacle for younger/unfamiliar gamers. It’s the only flaw that kept these titles from being almost perfect.

But it’s even more forgivable now. What surrounds these upgrades is an air of amazing accomplishment; it pervades every second of your journey and continually reminds us why we love originality in the world of interactive entertainment. The only other downside is this- after playing, you’ll probably cry at the thought of a long wait for The Last Guardian.

The Good: Artistry and exemplary atmosphere brought out to the fullest. Gameplay additions to ICO greatly enhance longevity. Adventures prove their staying power. Two of the best titles of all time in one package.

The Bad: It’s all over a little too quickly. Control still feels a bit clunky.

The Ugly: Only the realization that if we aren’t careful, such creativity and innovation might start to die out in a blockbuster-driven industry.

9/13/2011 Ben Dutka

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Comments (36 posts)

Riku994
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 9:40:19 PM
Reply

How much is this collection?

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 9:43:39 PM

$40 or $30 if you were smart like me and preordered them from Newegg months ago :)


BTW this collection could be listed at $120 and still be worth it.

Last edited by LimitedVertigo on 9/13/2011 9:44:13 PM

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johnld
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 11:07:30 PM

ill wait till it goes on sale for $20 like i did with sly cooper collection.

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 9:42:53 PM
Reply

Very jealous that you got your copy before me. Some of the most fun I've ever had was playing these two games and both games stay with you long after completion. It's a shame they didn't see the sales they deserved during the PS2 era, I hope now they can with this PS3 collection.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 10:49:13 PM

I had it three weeks ago. ;)

Embargo date was September 9, by the way.

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Qubex
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 11:30:41 PM

Damn Ben, you must have been itching to get the word out. Great review and will surely be getting it for my PS3 - or if not, the Vita!

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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TheAgingHipster
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 10:07:32 PM
Reply

I'm so glad you gave this a good review, Ben. I've been concerned about some of the reviews I've seen popping up lately criticizing the games for their age and gameplay. They may be a little clunky, as you put it, but these are gaming masterpieces that deserve to do well in today's market!!

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 10:51:39 PM

I think the review average is around 91%. What dolt-ish critics are saying bad things about this collection? I'd like to have a word with them.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 9/13/2011 10:52:20 PM

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Claire C
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 @ 7:21:21 PM

GameTrailers gave it an 8. I couldn't believe it. :/

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mike rlz
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 10:23:21 PM
Reply

i said 9.4.... not bad ;)

nhl 12 tomorrow, this later this month

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TheCanadianGuy
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 10:27:45 PM
Reply

terrific review! i own both on ps2 already. & can't wait to finally see SOTC on a console that can do it justice. also like the fact that we'll be able to see what Yorda is saying in ico.
i'm sold! (ah who am i kidding ? i already was :)

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BigBoss4ever
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 10:57:17 PM
Reply

two greatest games of ps2 era, along with The Last Guardian, Dark Soul, Uncharted 3 and the MGS HD collection, they are my most anticipated games for the year!

p.s. ICO is my first PS2 game bought with the console at price 499.99 in 2001. 10 years later, it still stands as one of my most beloved game of all time.

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 9/13/2011 11:01:29 PM

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AcHiLLiA
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 11:49:35 PM

500 bucks, where in the hell did u pay that much for a PS2 and whatever the game. U got ripped off back then. Oh, wait a minute do u live in Australia?

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johnld
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 11:06:57 PM
Reply

i want to get or at least try it. i never got to play it though since it wasnt the type of games i played in the ps2 era. i played rpg, fighting, and racing games. it doesnt look like my type of game but i did start playing sly cooper games via collection on the ps3 and loved them. ive been playing a lot of different variety games this gen and most of them ps3 exclusives and loved them all.

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Karosso
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 @ 4:37:00 PM

Do yourself a huge favor and get it. These are the kind of games that keeps Sony at the tip of the true gaming pyramid. I have bought over 10 copies of both games and will purchase this collection for myself, family and friends.
I won't open until I get my 1080p 47" HD 3D TV at the end of the year thou, I need to play it that way :)

Last edited by Karosso on 9/14/2011 4:40:50 PM

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SmokeyPSD
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 11:15:14 PM
Reply

Can't wait to experience these gems!

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StubbornScorpio
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 11:25:13 PM
Reply

Man, I never got the chance to play these gems. So glad I preordered this months ago, this has to be my most anticipated title this year by far.

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Qubex
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 11:31:37 PM

I don't think you will be disappointed... the atmosphere looks amazing... real cinematic feel to it...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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556pineapple
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 11:33:44 PM
Reply

Is this out already!? Damn! I was supposed to be rich by now! I guess I can wait a little bit for it. That's alright, patience is a good virtue... right?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 @ 11:46:47 PM

September 27.

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556pineapple
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 @ 9:25:44 AM

Oh good, I have a while. Thanks.

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AshT
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 @ 1:05:43 AM
Reply

I want them like now, thanks Ben for this great review.

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Lawless SXE
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 @ 3:57:07 AM
Reply

Can't wait to pick this up. I never finished my playthrough of ICO, thanks to fresher games coming out, being stuck and then my PS3 going belly up, but I intended to, and I've wanted to play SotC since I first heard of Team ICO. Glad to see the collection stacks up well, and I REALLY can't wait to see TLG. Shame that it isn't at TGS.

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___________
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 @ 5:29:22 AM
Reply

sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cant wait for this!
never got to play them when they first released so its the perfect opportunity to do so.
saw the IGN video review last week, while they look crap the gameplay looks really fun.
i just hope its not too much of a typical japanese story, ive never been able to enjoy games that are a little too much of their style.

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CrusaderForever
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 @ 7:57:23 AM
Reply

I never played either one of them and now I am honored to have the chance. HD Gaming FTW!

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gumbi
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 @ 8:03:24 AM
Reply

Excellent review Ben. Although, it didn't really matter what you had to say about it, this collection is a day 1 purchase for me. I've been dreaming about an HD SOTC on the PS3 for years. Once in a while, dreams really do come true!

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Highlander
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 @ 10:54:02 AM
Reply

Will be getting this....

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Devhour
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 @ 11:08:44 AM
Reply

Thanks for this review Ben.
I actually finished SoTC 2 years ago with a ps2 and game borrowed and went straight to my top 5 games of all my life. Now it comes with another excellent game in the pack. Awesome!
Definitely a must buy for me. :)

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Underdog15
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 @ 2:01:33 PM
Reply

I had this pre-ordered for about 2 weeks now.

Glad to see the review has reinforced my pre-order decision!

I missed this during the PS2. I didn't buy a lot of games then. Very glad to be getting a second chance at this!

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Teddie9
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 @ 3:01:49 PM
Reply

BUY.

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Claire C
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 @ 7:21:56 PM
Reply

I've had this pre-ordered for months. Can't freakin wait. =D

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AcHiLLiA
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 @ 7:47:36 PM

months is a long time.

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Claire C
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 @ 7:48:34 PM

Thanks!

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Lairfan
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 @ 9:13:53 PM
Reply

Definitely getting this beauty. I never got a chance to play the originals, but I always wanted to. Now that I see how much they actually added to the games (without taking anything away), its a D1P.

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Pyramid
Thursday, September 15, 2011 @ 6:05:02 PM
Reply

What im gonna do with my PS2 copy of SotC i played 2 times. If i found it great before now that is HD gonna blow my mind. I waiting this for almost 2 years. Thank Sony!!!

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YashaZz
Thursday, September 15, 2011 @ 8:49:07 PM
Reply

I've waited 4, long, goddamned years. I've waited since I was 12 years old. And now, I will finaly get to experience SotC once again but on my PS3!

Here in Australia the collection's release date is the 25th of this month. C'mon, 10 more days!

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