Review – Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection
The onslaught of HD remakes continues.
Sony and a few others are moving at great pace to give their back catalogue a new coat of high definition paint and now it’s the turn of Team Ico’s masterpieces but do things really look good a second time around or are certain things lost in translation?
Released in 2002, Ico was the critically acclaimed debut which never really made the mark in terms of sales. It had a re-release back in 2006 but, for those that missed out, this is another chance to pick up the atmospheric, short and sweet cult favourite. Naturally, with an HD re-release you have to take certain things into account. Having revisited the land of standard definition recently, I can safely say the guys at Bluepoint have done a real number on bringing the game into focus. Textures are looking crisper whilst still looking like a game from an age gone by.
Gameplay remains the same, shock horror. You escort a strange girl around a castle and are trying to escape after being placed there by men on horseback. Animation hasn’t suffered in the jump to HD. It all looks very lovely and refined. Same can be said for how it sounds. I forgot just how much of the game is played out in stark silence. It makes the game feel so distinct and its easy to see why some saw this as a gaming watermark.
Shadow of the Colossus
Arguably the better received, Shadow also had a few technical drawbacks which really held the game back. Personally, slowdown was never a real deal-breaker for me but, those with sand up their arse will be happy to note the game runs smoothly. The impact of HD doesn’t really hit home in this one – it looked pretty good in 2006. The game provides enough spectacle with its boss run gameplay and functional platforming. One issue does remain, however. The game’s camera does sometimes get completely out of hand and can sometimes be a real pain to negate. There are options to tweak the camera speed but I’ve preferred just to lump it.
Replaying this reminds me of just how well-designed and different each colossi battle is. Both games can be quite brief but neither feels underdone and its unlikely you’ll feel short changed by this package. Both games feature a very deliberate, less-is-more design approach and both prosper for it. For those curious to return to the Ico universe of those who missed these games first (or second) time around, it’s a really nicely packaged product. If nothing else, this collection really wets the appetite for The Last Guardian which is currently being pegged back by delays. Take your time, gentlemen.