Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection Hands-On

We get our hands on Sony's upcoming HD compilation of fan-favorite games from Team Ico.

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The upcoming Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection for the PlayStation 3 is the highly anticipated HD compilation of Team Ico-made PlayStation 2 games that was detailed at last year's Tokyo Game Show. The fan favorites are getting the red-carpet treatment for the collection thanks to an HD upgrade and 3D support. We were able to get a taste of both games--running in 2D and 3D--during a visit to Sony's Japanese offices this week and are happy to report that they're both looking sharp.

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We went in chronological order and tried out 2001's Ico first, which let us relive the atmospheric adventure that follows a young boy as he tries to escape a castle with a princess named Yorda. The unique puzzle game resonated with fans because of its art direction, music, and gameplay. The PlayStation 3 remaster of the game looks sharp and benefits from the HD upgrade, and the game has a subtle beauty to it due to the art direction. The game's art style has a minimalist look that's clean and shines with the resolution upgrade: just don't expect crazy photo-realism. The game's frame rate was solid in the work-in-progress version we played, as were the controls. The biggest tweaks to the original game are the inclusion of gameplay elements from the European version of the game (including a new ending and a two-player mode), trophies, and 3D support. Given the nature of the environments and gameplay, the 3D effect in Ico is subtler than we've seen in other games. While this means the 3D isn't as in-your-face as in some other titles, we have to say we're happy about that.

On the other hand, 2005's Shadow of the Colossus makes a flashier impression because of the game's scale. You're cast as Wander, a boy on a quest to slay 16 gargantuan creatures called colossi in order to save the life of his special lady. The stylish game was more action-oriented than Ico and featured awesome battles against the colossi. The remastered game looks outstanding thanks to sharper textures that bring the game's world to vivid life. The improved visuals are further complemented by a smooth frame rate, which is much more stable than in its PlayStation 2 predecessor. Like Ico, the game played just as well as we remember it. The implementation of 3D in Shadow of the Colossus bears some calling out because it really adds to the game's visual impact. The upgraded visuals and 3D effect make for a stunning combination, especially when you're fighting the colossi. We have to say we were very impressed by how 3D has been worked into the game without coming across as forced.

We're very excited by what we played of the upcoming collection. The games look great, with Shadow of the Colossus really popping. If you missed these games the last time around, you should definitely pick up the collection when it ships later this year. For those who did play the games and loved them, the upcoming compilation is worth spending some time with. Look for more on Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection in the coming months.

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