Friday, August 18, 2000

The ICO and Shadow of the Colossus Collection | 9.0

It's difficult to believe that over 10 years have passed since Ico was first released, alongside other 2001 classics like Metal Gear Solid 2 and Final Fantasy X. Unlike those two games, Ico fared poorly in the sales charts, despite its incredible graphics, great story and gameplay.
However, this was not the end, as 4 years later, the second game by "Team Ico", Shadow of the Colossus (SotC), was strongly promoted and achieved much better sales figures.
Now, Sony has breathed a second life into these games, thanks to this hi-def PS3 re-release.

Both games have been significantly enhanced in this PS3 remastery by Bluepoint Games (who also remastered the God of War Collection and the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3 games), with the most important changes being:
+ 720p or 1080p @ 30fps framerate, with very little slowdown as found in the PS2 version during intense Colossus battles
+ Native widescreen support for Ico
+ Gameplay is ported from the European version, with the extra puzzle, weapon, and other small changes
+ Trophies! [16 for Ico, 31 for SotC]
+ 7.1 surround sound
+ Behind the scenes videos + 2 dynamic themes (yours to keep!)
+ Reversible cover insert containing original cover art for both games
= 3D support (but only at 720p, and framerate reduces down to 15fps during some of the battles in SotC)
- Textures appear to be more detailed, but they still look blocky close up, and the polygons look the same
- The menu/map in SotC is stretched on a widescreen TV, while the menu for Ico looks sharp and completely redone

I have already beaten Ico and the first few battles of SotC on PS2, and am finding this remake just as enjoyable, especially since there is virtually no slowdown even at 1080p. Do realize that both of these games are relatively short with limited replay value (<5 hours for Ico and <10 hours for SotC, much more if you want all of the trophies). The high production values of both games is maintained during their short stories, and you will likely spend several hours just looking at the beautiful environments in both games (especially Ico). The orchestrated music during each battle in SotC is terrific and fitting, as are the ambient sounds throughout both games. The controls are very simple, but some of the puzzles/colossus battles are incredibly challenging the first time around.

An in depth comparison of the various graphical settings can be found at [...]

For the $40 MSRP, you are still getting a good bargain, even if the games have been out for 6-10 years, as the visual experience is so much better on an HDTV (if you don't have an HDTV, get one).

Now go out and save a "princess"!

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