PS3 Review: ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Classics HD

Have these classics stood the test of time?

I must confess, I never played the original ICO or Shadow of the Colossus. They slipped me by as I was playing games on another platform, but I was curious to finally play these “classics”, but are they still as fun to play as they were when they first came out? Well, I don’t really know the answer to that seeing as I never playing them to begin with…but I did enjoy my time with each game, although there are gameplay issues that are inexcusable for a game of this generation like shoddy camera work and jumping mechanics that are dated by today’s standards.

Both games tell a very different tale. ICO is a story about a boy who has been abandoned in a castle because he has horns, he escapes with a princess and the game focuses on their relationship of working together to overcome the obstacles in their way. Shadow of the Colossus is a love story in which the main character has to go to distant lands to kill Colossi in order to bring his love back from the dead. Each story is good, but the plot isn’t told through traditional cutscenes like in today’s games..Instead it’s told mostly through gameplay, which is refreshing.

ICO gameplay is more focused on puzzles, working together to reach a solution and moving on. You’ll have to fend off enemies, who are after the princess, but it’s not the big focus of the game and it’s not as much fun. While, SOTC is the opposite…focusing more on combat instead of puzzles, with some battles lasting an incredibly long time. I can see why each game is a classic in their own right, but the controls don’t help matters.

The problem is that these HD remakes haven’t quite had the attention that they deserve. Oh they might look good for PS2 games that have been turned into HD, but they haven’t focused on improving the controls or the camera, which is just lazy in my opinion. There’s also the issue of non-existent checkpoints, meaning if you die you’ll go back to where you last saved…and save points are scarce, which is pretty mean in this era of gaming. But I guess what annoys me the most is how complicated the controls are to do small things like jumping and climbing, when it should be so simple.

The Verdict

ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Classics HD gives gamers who missed out first time a chance to play the classics, but it’s hard to recommend for those who have already played it as not a lot has improved beyond the visual presentation. The gameplay is left unchanged, as is the camera which can be problematic at times. These are classics in their own right, but they haven’t had the care put into them that they should have.