You know, I was just looking through our database and when I learned of a certain oversight, I believe my reaction was- “wait…we don’t have a preview for this? …the hell is wrong with me?!” It’s true. We’ve known about the ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection for quite some time and besides lauding it to high heaven in my Week in Review and keeping up on the relevant news, we’ve never presented the readers with a what-to-expect preview. I should be taken out back and beaten for such an omission. I suppose one could claim we don’t really need one – heck, we know what these two games are; we played and loved ‘em way back when, right? – but really, we can’t overlook this fresh high-definition pairing of two memorable classics from the last generation. Featuring full HD and even 3D support, the unbelievable artistry should come to life and amaze yet again.
Here’s a quick synopsis for each title if you never had the pleasure: in 2001’s ICO , you played as a young boy who tries to escape a castle. This isn’t innovative or unique on its own, but the aforementioned artistry, beautifully designed puzzles and environments, and above all, the cooperative element between the boy and the princess, Yorda, set ICO apart. Thing is, these two brave travelers aren’t superheroes, and you always get a sense of their vulnerability, which added a poignant sense of urgency throughout. The HD upgrade will be wonderfully clean and even downright brilliant in some spots, and there should be one significant change: the gameplay elements from the European version will be included, and that means we get a new ending and a special two-player mode! We’ll also get the benefit of 3D and Trophies, but interestingly enough, we’ve heard the 3D in this overhaul isn’t exactly in-your-face; i.e., it’s a bit more subtle. But that makes sense, we think.
However, "subtle" may not be the case in Shadow of the Colossus HD. Given the vast scope of that game and the gargantuan Colossi, high-definition and 3D could make you leap clean out of your seat. As the character Wander, you must locate and slay 16 huge beasts in succession, each of which presents its own unique set of challenges and obstacles. In addition to the shinier visuals, we can even expect a smoother frame and yes, Trophy support. This latter bit really has us interested because the developers could definitely get all sorts of creative…let’s see, taking down a Colossus in a certain amount of time, doing so without falling off once, etc. The limitations of the PS2 processor meant we did have some stuttering frame rate here and there, depending on the situation, but that should disappear entirely. Furthermore, we’ve heard “European alterations” will be featured in SotC as well as ICO . This could impact both the gameplay and storyline.
For the most part, though, the games should remain mostly unchanged. The smoother frame rate doesn’t mean we’re getting a massive upgrade of 30FPS to 60FPS (both games will still run in 30FPS, as far as we know) and of course, the adventures and goals are the same. But the point of this Collection is to allow a new generation of gamers to see true originality in an HD format, and it also gives older fans of the titles a reason to play ‘em again. Let’s not forget; it will have been nearly a full decade since ICO wowed critics and gamers alike, and SotC will be a good five and a half years old. Too much time has passed; we must revisit the greatness! The ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection should release this spring and as we’ve said before, if you don’t plan to have this in your library, you might have to trade in your PS3. Either that, or take some art courses and gain an appreciation for such stunning creativity and imagination. At the very least, you’ll give it a try, won’t you?