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ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection

ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection

Just as the PlayStation Portable versions of God of War recently received an HD remake, now it’s the turn of the games with the originality award. The beautiful collection of Team ICO, polished up: ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. At the time already two niche and cult gems for the PlayStation 2 that after years will be provided by Sony with an HD coat on the PlayStation 3. Hopefully they are still playable and they can go into the books as real classics.

That last sentence, we can establish it as a fact; after so many years, ICO and Shadow of the Colossus have not become old hands. There’s always a fear that older games will actually feel outdated, but that’s not the case here. Of course you notice it in the animations, which have been of a much higher level in recent years, but in these games it doesn’t hurt at all.

More atmosphere in your life after ICO

How a developer pulls this off, to create a game that remains atmospheric. Whether it’s because of the Japanese style, I don’t know, but ICO is still lovely to watch. The mystery, the adventure, simply timeless. In ICO you go out with the main character Ico who has a helmet with two horns on his head. Ico is locked in a castle after an exile; of course our protagonist is released, although of course a journey has to be experienced to get out of the gigantic and strange castle. Freedom is the right word in this game and Ico isn’t the only one looking for it. He soon meets a mysterious girl, completely in white clothing, after which they have to face the dangers of the castle hand in hand. The adventurous puzzle drags you along.

Because that’s what ICO is for sure, a puzzle. The game doesn’t explain routes to you and doesn’t tell you what to do at all. The IQ, which is of course relative so we can better call intelligence, logic or thinking ability, is somewhat required during the journey in the castle. No useful tips or spoilers, you’re just going crazy through corridors, strange spaces and gruesome bridges in search of the most wanted in the world. ICO has the necessary simplistic puzzles, which you will certainly need now and then, because your brain will have to endure a number of elements in the game. The playing time of ICO is stretched by these puzzles that you have to think a lot about. Especially because not everything is possible in the castle. Certain routes cannot be taken, because your white-clothed travel buddy is not that strong physically. You will have to constantly hold her, help her up and find walkable paths with her. There are some frustrating moments, but in general you get a big smile after every brain teaser you solve.

Enormities with Shadow of the Colossus

Another gem is Shadow of the Colossus, a pretty unique concept in which you and the boy Wanden have to fight against sixteen behemoths. The goal is to track down the completely different giants and defeat them in almost impossible ways with bows and arrows, a sword and quite a few tactics. You must complete this entire adventure in order for a magical power to free the girl Wanden cares about and bring it back to life. Shadow of the Colossus puts itself on the map by transforming a huge environment into something atmospheric, which you have to go through with your horse. You’ll have to climb or gallop around gigantic rock walls to get the behemoths into view. Some are more difficult to reach than others.

Once you come face to face with such a giant, you have to take an extra swallow and you are still, after all these years, looking with admiration at the brilliantly shaped creatures. Two-legged, four-legged, behemoths that love water or float through the air, you can think of it so crazy. Each colossus also has its own weak spot, somewhere on the body. You’ll be able to climb some giants this way, while you’ll have to get other creatures half to the ground before you can cling to the hairy body parts of such a colossus. In Shadow of the Colossus you get a little more help than in ICO, but it is still minimal. Small hints sometimes appear on the screen, but you’ll have to figure it all out yourself and that’s just such a puzzle. It’s still a shock every time you can’t damage the weak spot enough, because the behemoth shakes you off, you clatter to the ground and have to climb again. A unique experience that no other game has managed to match, as no title resembles Shadow of the Colossus.

Extras and permanent flaws

Relive two fantastic adventures, but on PlayStation 3. Need those extras? It’s nice of course, but the standard addition of Trophies is already very attractive. This increases the purpose of gaming for many players. In addition, the implementation of 3D is of course also a plus; unfortunately I don’t have 3D glasses, but that the function is there is already fine. The graphic update for ICO and Shadow of the Colossus is also neatly done, only the second mentioned title still suffers from small glitches and pop-ups. This was also the case on the PlayStation 2 at the time. No idea how easy it is to fish out these mistakes, but today’s games are improved through patches, so why didn’t Sony fix those glitches? The controls of both games also feel a bit less secure and at that point you notice that the titles are a bit older. The animations are less smooth, don’t always do what you want when climbing or jumping and sometimes look a bit clumsy. However, this should not do much to the splendor that both ICO and Shadow of the Colossus still radiate.


It’s hard to say, but Team ICO’s niche titles are still original and still feel phenomenal after all this time. The atmosphere, the environments, the separate gameplay, all still very chewable. Sony has managed the graphic update well and the additions of Trophies and 3D are of course indispensable these days. Some points of criticism are the slight glitches and pop-ups that are still going on in Shadow of the Colossus and the somewhat less secure controls of both games. It certainly doesn’t spoil the fun, because the adventures, which can certainly be labeled as classics, still take you to higher spheres, so to speak.