Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection

Review: The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection

11:00 AM on 09.08.2011 // Dale North

Two of the finest PlayStation 2 titles I know of were created by the same team. Both Shadow of the Colossus and Ico were crafted by the creative minds at Team Ico, a group that is slow to release games, but makes masterpieces each time. I hold both in such high regard that I've been known to force people to play them. One friend of mine in particular came to my city for a short visit not too long ago. I insisted that he play Shadow of the Colossus, and I monitored his progress throughout, clearly stating that he was forbidden from doing anything else until he completed what I consider to be one of my favorite games of all time. If he didn't love it, at least he knew better than to tell me otherwise.

Obviously I was excited to hear that both games would appear on one compilation, remastered in high definition on the PlayStation 3. My heart wants to say that the original PS2 titles were perfect, but the game critic in me knows better. While both games are still among the most expressive, artful and influential titles ever created, they had their issues. Even this die-hard fan will admit that there were hardware limitations, graphical glitches, low frame rates and some control issues. So again, news of a HD remaster for PS3 was a dream come true for me. 

Yes, a dream has come true. I said that. I think you know where this is going.

The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection (PlayStation 3)
Developer: Team ICO 
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
To be released: September 27, 2011
MSRP: $39.99 


Here's the CliffsNotes version of Ico's story for those who have somehow missed this game: Ico's opening shows a young boy with horns being dragged off to a massive stone temple. He is placed inside a large stone container and put on an even larger stone shelf containing many more of these containers. The boy was to be the next sacrifice. Some kind of natural tremor happens just after his imprisonment and this allows him to escape. While working to make his way out of the temple, he encounters a mysterious girl held captive in some kind of bird cage, held up and away from scary shadow people who seem to want to drag her underground.  After freeing her, the boy finds out that they will have to work together to make it out of the temple. 

Ico's gameplay is platforming, but the twist is that this boy has to drag along his companion, Yorda. Literally. You'll hold down the L1 button to hold her hand and guide her away from danger, onto platforms, over ledges and more. She really sucks at all of that, but at least she holds some mysterious power that lets her open temple doors for Ico. Together their powers make for excellent puzzle platforming. There's also a bit of scaredy-cat combat, with Ico swinging a little stick at Yorda's creepy pursuers. Your stick doesn't do much, so the swinging is frantic and sad. Still, you'll find yourself doing what you can so that she isn't dragged under. 

Puzzle-platforming, dragging a girl around and wimpy stick combat together sounds tedious, but it works really well, and we have Team Ico's beautifully paced and designed levels to thank for that. Fantastic artwork, eerie audio and innovative storytelling all add to this combination to make this an unforgettable experience. It's a game that you'll be happy to get lost in. It's one of those rare games that takes you away to another place, one that's hard to forget after completion. Sure, you could nitpick on edge/ledge detection or the syrupy-slow camera movement, but I promise you that once you complete this hauntingly beautiful title, you won't be hung up on minor details like that. 

Everything I've said so far applies to both the original and the PS3 remake, so if you've somehow missed this game, I'm hoping my high praise will get you to pick it up. Well, either that or its technical upgrades. Ico is even better now with its graphical overhaul. It won't blow your eyes out with color and shininess, though. Ico was always a visually muted game, and the remake does not change that. The lighting seems to have been tweaked; it's so pretty now, though not always perfect. The higher-resolution textures make the game's design and architecture even easier to appreciate. It's so true to the original that those who have played Ico won't think much about it after it gets going. They did just enough with this overhaul to make sure that anyone who wouldn't be able to get over early PS2-era graphics would have nothing to complain about here. Seriously, there's nothing to complain about.

Shadow of the Colossus

If you thought the opening to Ico was depressing and heavy, get a load of this: A desperate guy travels to a strange land on the back of his trusty horse. His only other companion is his dead girlfriend. Their journey ends at a sort of temple (Team Ico loves temples), and there he places this girl on an altar, begging for her life to be restored. A huge voice from the sky actually responds, telling him that he has to visit every corner of this realm to slay 16 colossi in order for his wish to be granted. Sure, no prob. 

Shadow's gameplay is a mix of open-world exploration/platforming and massive, drawn-out, insanely-scaled boss battles. Our hero has to travel rugged, varied land by horse, guided only by a legendary sword that focuses sunlight as a sort of compass. About 25 percent of the fun is looking for the big bastards, and the other 75 is taking them down. Beasts of every type await you, and all of them are so huge that you'll have to scale them, working up them like you would a tower in a 3D platformer. You'll ride on the backs of massive flying creatures, hang from the fur of stories-tall upright bipedal walkers, and roll and duck from mountain-sized rammers. Each one is an absolute wonder, so much so that if you're anything like me you'll die many times just marveling at them. 

The magic in Shadow is the scale, and how it shows just how weak you are in comparison. Scaling these beasts takes so long that you could look at each of the colossi as a game level. After scaling them, if you manage to survive and hang on, all sense of accomplishment fades as you peck away at the colossus's life bar with your little weapons. Each beast has a weak spot, and you'll have to use every trick in the book to find them and attack them with your comparatively small and weak sword or arrows. Only after successfully scaling a beast, managing your limited grip strength, and getting in enough hits to take its life will it fall. Trip up and you'll start all over. Trust me on this: you'll start over many, many times. Some of those times you may curse the game's wonky camera or Agro's (the horse) reluctance to let you mount, but most of the time it will be your fault. You won't care about any of this when you see just how beautifully this game's story unfolds.

The original game had a few issues in the graphics department. Maybe Team Ico dreamed too big for the PS2, as I remember the game's frame rate coming down to a stutter in some really intense sections. Pop-in and other graphical glitches were blemishes on this otherwise beautiful game. I'm glad to say that all of these issues disappear in the PS3 version. And unlike Ico's upgrade, which was more subtle, Shadow's really shows off all the fine art and detail we missed in the original. This looks pretty close to a modern-day PS3 release. Everything from wall textures to backdrops looks so much better that I found myself a bit distracted during the heat of battle. I really shouldn't be dying this much, considering how many times I've played this game!


Everyone wins with this collection. I don't know of a fan of Team Ico's games who wouldn't kill to play them again in high definition at 1080p, not to mention with added Trophy support and a 3D option. If you're like me, and have played each of these games a few times, you'll probably forget that you're playing a PS2 game most of the time. Both games really look so good that they feel new. I'm sure that current fans of these games needed no convincing, so I'll stop here. Oh, but you've got to see the colossi in 3D! Borrow a 3D television if you must.

Those who have somehow missed either or both of these titles have the perfect excuse to jump in now. The price is right at $40 for the two. You can see what all the buzz is about without having to deal with those blurry old PS2 textures and frame rates, or hiked collector's asking prices for the originals. You shouldn't notice that these are old games aside from a few small glitches. My guess is that new players will be sucked in, joining current fans in adding both of these titles to their all-time favorites list. 

To the new player: I've slapped a lot of scores on a lot of games in my games-writing career, but I'm asking you to forget about scores for now. Both of these games remain at the top of my list of games to recommend, even today. I really can't think of any other games that I'd recommend more. The originals are both so lovingly crafted and inspiring that I think gamers 50 years from now will still be talking about them. No, they're not perfect, but they're both fine examples of brilliant game design, and they both put forth an experience you won't soon forget. Please, play these games.



Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection - Reviewed by Dale North
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Dale North, Former Dtoid EIC
 Follow Blog + disclosure DaleNorth Tips
I am Destructoid's Editor-In-Chief. I love corgis. I make music. more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

So that just happened: The Talos Principle

Sick, Sad and just dumb news: 25th October - Leighapalooza

Context Matters! Fanservice's Secrets EXPOSED!

To editorialize or not to editorialize: An editorial

Tiny Dangerous Dungeons REVIEW - The Pocket Metroidvania

Cblogs of 11/24/15 + Big Ass Fort

Primal Carnage: Extinction Review (PS4)

Belated Spoiler-Free SOMA Review

Friday Night Fights: The Blackest Of Fridays

Super Destructoid Community Interviews Hyper Encore ##Reload

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Riobux avatarRiobux
Interested in playing some Pathfinder? Trying to arrange a Dtoid Pathfinder group for Saturday nights (GMT) on Skype & Roll 20. If you're new to pen-and-paper RPGs, I don't mind at all and can bring you up to speed quick. Just comment if interested.
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Local convention had a great selection of game soundtracks 5 for $20! I got Halo 3: ODST (2 disk!), Gears of War 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Darksiders 2 (2 disk!), and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Some of the best soundtracks of the last 7 years!
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
Photos and videos are back on quickposts but clipping on some devices. We're going to add a new quickpost editing interface so photos and videos can only be displayed one way (a la twitter) to solve this. Also, a My cBlog link was added to your user menu
Flegma avatarFlegma
Machine-washed my Wii Fit meter yesterday by accident. Took the battery out and let it dry for the night. Luckily the meter still worked - but it had counted a fair number of steps more that day.
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Finally killed Ludwig, now if I could only get passed the 2 hunters on the second floor. that 2 some is rather annoying,and her holy blade kills in only a few hits. wish mine was that strong.
Casus Gaming avatarCasus Gaming
After reading a blog post about DMC4 I decided to watch all the cutscenes on Youtube. Tried the games years ago and couldn't get into them, but man that shit was stylish. Likeable protagonists, intense drama... still think DmC reboot wasn't that bad tho.
lewness avatarlewness
me on 1st ff14 raid (void ark): ooh so many people and lights, so many lights, lights, fuck I can't see, what is happening, i don't understand, is it tuesday already, get on the platform fuuuuck, wow void helm
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Just a reminder that you have until the 30th to get your Bloggers Wanted post, "Thankful it's over" in. I'm either going to tell you how I ruined my best online gaming experience or rip Twilight Princess a new one. Maybe both.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Huh. I just found out the developers of Hatred (remember that controversy?) region-locked their game to prevent it from being accessed by Australians. Destructive Creations are more censor-happy than Nintendo, it seems. Where's the outrage?
Oh yeah, I have an account on this site.
Parismio avatarParismio
Ever wanted to get that item behind that safe in the beginning of Fallout 4?:
Shinta avatarShinta
Got Resident Evil 4 Wii for $5. Uh ... this might be my favorite version. I'm just getting headshots nonstop. Did I miss any other Wii games that are frequently overlooked? Like, really obscure Wii games that no one talks about? I'm interested.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Poeple due not aprecciate teh hrdships of bein a squid.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Guys, check out your blogs! Just be sure to bring tissues. I wish I had. [img][/img]
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Anyone see the new Captain America trailer? It's pretty dope!
Shinta avatarShinta You're welcome.
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Update: played through Hyper Dimension Neptunia Rebirth, reminded why I don't like the series, and requested a refund on it and its sequel. Not sure if they'll refund the sequel, but if they honor at least the first, I'll use that money to get Undertale.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
I hope the new Star Wars movie answers the biggest question I have about the franchise; do Midi-Chlorians poop?
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Wow, I feel really stupid. You had to give the Zora King the bottle with the letter in it. Like actually equip the... Wow. Oh, modern gaming conveniences, how I take you for granted.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Srry abot tye lak of coments latly. As a squid now it haas bcom hrrd 2 tipe. Im a sqiid now.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -