Whenever you get gamers talking about PlayStation 2 games, sooner or later the games Ico and Shadow of the Colossus come up, and with good reason. These two games were the antithesis of the big titles of their times. Both dealt with very human issues in their plot lines and Ico and Shadow of the Colossus were both frequently described as “experiences” rather than games. Soon, you’ll be able to pick up both games on a single disk for play on the PlayStation 3.
Ico, released a decade ago, was an exercise in game minimalism. In a year when the incredibly deep sandbox game Grand Theft Auto 3 topped the charts, Ico stood in stark contrast to Liberty City’s seemingly endless streets and buildings. The game told the story of a boy who, born with horns, was expelled from his village. He escapes from his prison to find a young girl who was similarly locked away. Ico helps the two of them escape by helping the girl through puzzles and fending off shadowy creatures that keep popping up during their adventure.
The game is incredibly cinematic in its presentation, with sweeping camera angles and dramatic settings where our two heroes must travel to escape. Throughout Ico, there is minimal sound. Dialogue and sound effects infrequently make their presence and the consistently soft lighting of the game lends to its ethereal, dreamlike atmosphere. Although the game is short (7-10 hours for complete playthrough), its uniqueness gives the player a lasting experience.
After the success of Ico, the same development team set to work on what is often referred to as Ico‘s “spiritual successor,” Shadow of the Colossus. Like Ico, Shadow of the Colossus is very muted, with a neutral color palette. The soundtrack is basic and the controls, like its predecessor, are simple.
In Shadow of the Colossus, the main character must use his trusty horse, Agro, to travel a vast and barren wasteland to battle a series of huge enemies. Only by defeating them can he save the life of a girl. At its heart, Shadow of the Colossus is a puzzle game, requiring the player to ascend these gigantic beings, seek out their weak spots and slay them by attacking various areas of their bodies with just a sword and bow.
The games have been remastered for HD, now running 30 frames per second, and including 7.1 surround sound. While the improvement is noticeable, it’s not jaw-dropping. Both games have been given PSN trophy support and (meh) 3D capability. Ultimately, the compelling reason for considering purchasing this game is just the opportunity to experience these two fantastic games – either again or for the first time.
The Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection releases on September 27 and is playable on the Playstation 3.
Disclaimer: GeekDad was sent a review of these games.