Ico Overshadowed – The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection Reviewed

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Some games age with regal splendor and their standings grow greater with the passage of time – I think about Super Mario Bros., which maintains a spark of innocence after all these years.

And then there’s Ico.

I played Ico back in the PlayStation 2 days. Back then the graphics and gameplay felt so cutting-edge and the experience was a sublime exercise in minimalism. I was really excited to play it in sparkling new high definition.

What I got was just a really boring game that felt dated. The controls can only be described as goofy at best and the camera is frustratingly inept. I remember the castle feeling so massive and detailed, but it just doesn’t hold up. If I had never played Ico before, I might have been impressed by how alternative it is to traditional gaming, but for me, now, it is just weak.

On the other hand, I never got to play Shadow of the Colossus on the PS2. I’ve always heard about it from my hardcore gaming friends – about how it was such an innovative game and how amazing it is.

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Shadow of the Colossus can essentially be described as a platform jumper that fills part of its gameplay with an element of the sandbox genre. And by singular element, I literally mean just a horse to ride with nowhere to go.

I got on my horse with no name and rode to the edge of the map and eventually found a tree. That was cool. I looked out over a cliff and it was pretty and such, but there are no random encounters, no side quests – sure, you can kill some tiny lizards and shoot some fruit in a tree, but that doesn’t really qualify as extra.

The real genius of Shadow of the Colossus is in the level design, which involves climbing up the bodies of giants, finding weak spots and killing them, all while holding on for dear life. There is a puzzle element to each giant as you have to figure out how to even begin to climb them. All of Shadow‘s atmosphere of mystery and menace comes out of this very basic but very deep gameplay mechanic.

Shadow of the Colossus handily gets four pies, while Ico rates one pie. That being said, the double pack averages out to three pies.


Rating: Three out of Five Pies
(a word about our ratings)


George likes to stand on the shoulders of giants to decapitate them – watch heads fall at @Georgecollazo. The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection is available exclusively for the Sony PlayStation 3.

Games, Review