Ico HD Looks Like The Game's Third, And Best, Release

With the games to be released internationally over the next two weeks, the Tokyo Game Show was our last chance to check out both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus in HD before they hit the shelves.

Sadly, I didn't have time to get to Shadow of the Colossus (it was a little busy in there), but I was able to settle in for an extended session with Ico's opening sequence, and walked away impressed.

Not with the game. I mean, this is a classic we're talking about, and one that's aged well, so how it plays wasn't really going to be a problem. I was more concerned with how it looked. And it looked great!

This isn't a straight re-release, as some work has been done. Yet neither is it a remake, as the upgrades are subtle and restrained, only being used in those areas that, in 2011 and on a HDTV, were deemed necessary.

For example while mostly untouched, everything in the game, from the characters to the levels, now runs in true HD, and some stuff even looks like it's been retouched to improve on failings in the original, something you don't really notice until you zoom right in on Ico's face and notice that instead of being rough polygonal blocks he's now got a smooth face that scales as you zoom out.

It's also locked into a consistent 30 frames per second (the original would sometimes slip below this during busier sections), which might not sound important but makes everything look smoother and a little more contemporary while you're running around.

For all the critical acclaim the game has received over the years, it still hasn't sold that well, especially when you consider it's been released twice already (once in 2001 and a reprint in 2006). Hopefully this loving application of spit and polish convinces those who haven't yet realised hand-holding and empty castles can be a lot more awesome than they sound.


    I don't even remember Ico in Australia.

      It absolutely was released here. I even managed to snag myself a beautiful limited edition with art cards. Maybe you were too young to notice at the time?

        In fact, here's an Australian Billboard ad for it from when it was released: http://www.retrogamingaus.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ICO.jpg

          Ico was one of those games everyone was talking about but hardly anyone was buying, unfortunately. Kinda like Beyond Good And Evil in that way.

          That's a fantastic billboard for Ico. Totally captures the game and it's very simple too.

          I, too, snagged a limited edition of ICO with those lovely art cards (same goes when Shadow of Colossus was released). I remember playing ICO and loving it but I don't think I ever finished it.

          Awesome billboard, btw. I don't think I saw that.

        I'm 24. I've never recalled even seeing a pre-owned copy on the shelf, even when it was rereleased in 2006. I picked up "Shadow of the Colossus" though, because everybody was talking about it at the time.

          Yeah, if pre-owned copies appear they're grabbed fairly quickly. These sort of games don't hang around forever filling bargain bins like your average blockbuster FPS does.

            That's usually because there wasn't that many shipped.

              Indeed. It's such a shame.

                Not really surprising. Just a simple supply and demand. Not that many people demanded it, so they didn't supply it.


                  SUPPLY AND DEMAND! YEAH!

            Slightly off topic but Braodmeadows EBGames was selling SOTC for $25 brand new with art cards because they were trying to get rid of them. I regret not buying more then one.

            Also, I managed to get Ico preowned in awesome condition with art cards from my local game traders.

              Haha Broadie - thats because the bogans who live around there are too concerned with Call Of Duty and any game with "sick" Fords and Holdens.

        I have a copy of it.
        I've personally never seen it in store, though. Mine was sent to me from a guy who found it at his local EB Games.

        Very difficult game to find.

      That would explain why I have never heard of it =D

        1987 good vintage that one mate

      I bought ICO from a Target store in Sydney. I bought it after playing a demo disc that came with the Playstation AU magazine of the time. I can't remember the exact year, but I think it was around 2002.

      I remember being blown away by some of the graphics. The water effects around the windmill were incredible, as well as the swaying tree just past the indoor waterfall section (from memory).

      Can't wait to see what the updated graphics are like. Already have my copy on preorder.

        Another thing that'll be interesting is playing the game on a 3D TV. I bought one a few months ago. I wonder if the stereoscopic effect will add to the game.

          ... Uh, that's not how 3D TVs work. It won't make non-3D things 3D. Sorry to be the one to inform you of your ill-advised purchase.


            Oh it is in 3D. Well my point remains.

              No probs. I know what you were trying to say. But I already knew that the ICO/SotC remake was designed for 3D. So, it's going to be very interesting replaying this game, but in full 3D stereoscopic vision. Can't wait!

    Cannot wait for this to come out. Never got around to playing Ico, only played SoTC. Excitement!

      Ditto, can't wait to play Ico for the first time and replay SotC in HD. Pre-ordered from ozgameshop a while ago, won't be long now!

    Ico definitely came out in Australia during that second release (When Shadow of the Colossus was released).
    No idea about the original release though.

    It was as I own one of the original copies released back in 2001. (I think I bought it in 2003 though) This game is an amazing story that everyone should play at least once. I already have my copy for the 3 ordered.

    I have the original Australian version (in the lovely cardboard packaging with art cards etc). And I also have the original Australian release of Shadow of the Colossus with the similarly lovely cardboard packaging and art cards, etc.

    So yeah, they definitely came out here.

      When Shadow Of The Colossus came out I couldn't afford to get it. I was incredibly lucky to be able to find a pristine pre-owned version about a year later, art cards and all. I think I even did a little happy dance right there in the shop!

        I remember grabbing a new cardboard copy for $18 from Big W (maybe). Then later grabbing Ico from a brick and mortar new for $70. Happy days!

    Recently hooked up my ps2 to my HD LED TV to play a pre-owned copy of Shadow. Doesn't look so pretty that big.
    Both games need the polish to work on a scale which properly suits them.

    I remember seeing advertisments (which used gameplay) at the cinema at both Village and The Astor here in Melbourne.

    Little known fact.

    Even we uneducated dirt grovellers down in ye olde Hobart Town got it - the limited edition cardboard sleeve with art cards edition too. I'm staring at it lovingly right now on my shelf, next to its slightly less attractive sister, Cardboard Sleeve Shadow of the Colossus.

    I wonder if by "true hd", he means 1920X1080. Hope so.

      ICO is 1080x1920. Shadow of the Colossus is not, by some way. Have a look at the Eurogamer/Digital Foundry piece. Can't check now (on the phone) but basically you should play Ico in 1080 from the XMB and play SotC in 720 and let your tv do the upscaling, was the recommendation.

    I haven't played either of these games, and I don't have a PS3, so looks like I'm out of luck... Hmm, maybe I can borrow my friend's for a couple of weeks

    I used to work at Game a little while ago, and I remember checking our computer system to see if there were any copies of Ico floating around the other stores that I could snag up. Turned out there was 1, and only 1 copy left, at a store that was notorious for being a bit slack with transferring games from one store to another. Accepting the fact that it probably either was going to be a re-release copy, in horrible condition, or simply not arrive at my store, I gave them a call and asked them to send it my way.

    Long story short, it ended up arriving at the store, and it turned out to be the limited edition, with all 4 art cards and in immaculate condition. As we had a 2 for $30 deal with all our pre-owned PS2 stuff, I managed to pick it up for $15 :D.

    Got my copy preowned at EB Box Hill, after being directed there by an employee who checked the system and found it there. I have always wondered why EB doesn't make that catalog public... would be a huge time save and it's bound to help sales.

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