ICO and Shadow of the Colossus Collection Hands-On ImpressionsBy Jake Gaskill - Posted Jun 08, 2011
Of all the HD remastered collections that gamers have been begging and pleading for, the Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection is the one they’ve been screaming for the loudest, and on September 27 of this year, loving fans will get their hands on Team Ico’s beloved masterpieces. During E3 2011, I managed to get some brief hands-on time with the Shadow portion of the collection in stunning HD and in stereoscopic 3D. Given that I haven’t seen this game in action since it first appeared on the PlayStation 2, you better believe that taking on a sky-high colossi on a big HDTV in 3D was simply spectacular.
My hands-on time was spent playing the opening 10 minutes or so, which doesn’t actually include much gameplay to speak of, but gave me the perfect opportunity to soak up the visual feast on display. Not only are the textures smooth and the particle effects like dust kicking up from your horse’s hooves and lighting work top notch, but the 3D is that perfect blend of just enough depth to fill out your field of view but not intrusive to the point of distraction. This becomes even more impressive when I tracked down and took on the game’s first towering foe.
It’s worth mentioning though that the controls are a bit loose, which can probably be attributed more to the character’s uneven animations. Trying to mount my horse proved unnecessarily difficult in that way that just reminds you of last-gen games. It’s hard to put your finger on it, but you just know it when you see it. This was also the case when trying to climb on ledges and/or the first colossi for that matter. Something about the delay when hitting R1 to grab just felt a little off. Thankfully, the sheer glory of seeing such an epic and gorgeously presented battle more than made up for any frustrations I might have been feeling.
The ICO/Shadow HD remastering was handled by Bluepoint Games, the team behind the stunning God of War Collection, so obviously it was more than capable hands. But the team didn’t stop at simply uprezing the textures (and making it 3D). They also introduced new presentation elements like the lighting and particle effects I mentioned before. For ICO, they had to essentially fill out the screen to make it widescreen, since the game shipped in standard definition 4:3. And Shadow is based on the European edition, which, according to the Sony rep showing me the game, was Team ICO’s preferred edition.
Clearly, a lot of love has been poured into this collection, and it absolutely shows. I can’t speak to ICO, but seeing Shadow of the Colossus presented in such grand fashion and in a way that its original creators no doubt envisioned, given its still admired scope, makes it all the more affecting. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I might have to sneak back and find me another colossi to topple.