Make no mistake, ICO and Shadow of the Colossus are old games. The two titles from Team Ico released more than six and 10 years ago (Shadow of the Colossus in 2005 and ICO in 2001). As such, their mechanical features feel dated.
However, these two masterpieces stand as a pair of the best video games ever created. I state that with an unchecked sense of severe honesty: ICO and Shadow of the Colossus are among the greatest games I have ever played, and the pair have rightfully earned their own sports as landmarks in the gaming world.
While I had played Shadow of the Colossus before this, though never for very long as it was an old roommate's game, this marks my first experience with ICO. Initially, the combat and basic premise felt almost too simple. I found myself wondering why the game ever gained as much critical praise as it did. I seriously considered dinging the full package for the shear fact that ICO's mechanics were boring by today's standards.
But then I stepped back. Playing the full game lead me to the realization that the combat and such was simplified on purpose. This game was initially meant to stand apart from other games around it. And, considering the field of video game releasing in 2001, Team Ico likely achieved that sense. It was then that I admired the design decision as a strong one and respected ICO a lot more for it.
As for Shadow of the Colossus, like I said, this marked my first full playthrough. As far as I'm concerned, the camera remains the single blemish on the otherwise wonderful experience. Completing the game felt great, as did taking down every single colossi (is that a genuine pluralization?). The game's tone, world, presentation and narrative are all incredible. Moreover, the concept of only conquering bosses and the landscape is still a completely foreign one in the gaming world.
These are remastered remakes, so the only thing that's seen changing between now and their initial release comes in the form of textures and aesthetics. ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection is a volume of the same games from years ago. It's the price point and the HD touch-up that warrant them as worthwhile purchases if you already own the PlayStation 2 versions.
They were beautiful before, but they've been made stunning now. While they may not rate as the most graphically advanced games in this modern age, the HD remastering has worked wonders on extending the longevity of their appearance. ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection is very, very playable despite the graphical powerhouses that surround both titles.
If you have never experienced either property and own a PlayStation 3, buying them now is an absolute requirement. If you consider yourself both a gamer and an expert on the medium, these games have to have a spot in your collection.
Both properties do have minor mechanical flaws, like Shadow of the Colossus' awkward camera, but the sum of the works together in one collection is unparalleled. I'll call it the best HD collection released yet.
For the $40 asking price, ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection is perfect.
Full Disclosure: CraveOnline was sent a review copy of ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection well before its release. The game started with Erik Norris, the gaming channel's editor, but eventual made its way to me, Joey Davidson. I played both titles to completion and actually restarted Shadow of the Colossus and am four Colossi away from my second victory. Our review copy did not include any of the bonus features the retail release contains.