The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection Game Poster Image

The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection

Iconic, brain-teasing action games are redone, still fab.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The primary theme in both of these games is that wits, ingenuity, and perseverance can help even the smallest of heroes overcome the greatest of obstacles, be it a Byzantine puzzle or a skyscraper-sized monster. Violence plays a notable role in Shadow of the Colossus, but it’s fantastical and directed toward utterly inhuman monsters.

Positive role models

Our heroes are paragons of nobleness. The young boy in Ico strives to protect a girl, while the warrior in Shadow of the Colossus is a David-and-Goliath style archetype. However, the girl in Ico appears all but helpless next to the boy, who does virtually all of the physical work and fighting.

Ease of play

Though the controls will feel slightly dated to modern players, navigation and fighting both remain fairly intuitive. The real difficulty comes in recognizing and piecing together the clues and patterns that will allow players to solve puzzles and defeat monsters. Both games are true head-scratchers. Don’t be surprised by the occasional need to consult an online play guide. 


In Ico, shadowy monsters attempt to kidnap a pale girl, dragging her into inky pools of black. Players fend them off by hitting them with a stick. In Shadow of the Colossus, players take on a series of towering beasts, attacking them by plunging a sword into their weak spots. Blood can be seen in small bursts.

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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection bundles together a pair of PlayStation 2 games that have been remastered for PlayStation 3. These games are identical to the originals, save that they now appear in high-definition and can be played in stereoscopic 3-D (assuming you have a television that supports this feature). Both games distinguish themselves based on their clever puzzles, which require close examination of environments and monsters and hefty amounts of both logical and lateral thinking. Parents should note that Shadow of the Colossus is the more violent of the two, with players going up against tower-sized monsters into which they must occasionally plunge their swords, resulting in some blood. Ico is much less violent, but the game’s female hero plays a passive role, relying time and again on her boy companion to rescue her and perform the physical work involved in solving puzzles.

What's it about?

The latest in a series of multi-game bundles for PlayStation 3, THE ICO & SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS COLLECTION combines two of the most artistic, innovative, and critically acclaimed games originally released for PlayStation 2, both made by the Japanese studio Team Ico. Ico, which debuted in 2001, stars a boy who leads a strange, pale girl through a mostly deserted castle by the hand. He must occasionally use his stick to ward off shadowy creatures who want to kidnap the girl while solving complex environmental puzzles.

Shadow of the Colossus, which originally arrived in 2006, features a lone young warrior who travels great distances in a lonely world to fight skyscraper-sized beasts that he must climb in order to reach their weak spots. Both have been remastered for display on high definition screens, and can now be played for the first time in stereoscopic 3-D on supporting televisions.

Is it any good?


Games typically don’t age as well as other media, but these two titles stand the test of time. Though their controls feel a smidgeon dated, both remain remarkably atmospheric thanks to their large, lonely worlds and sparse but beautiful ambient sound effects. The puzzles in Ico are just as challenging as they were a decade ago, and the towering, lumbering monsters in Shadow of the Colossus have lost none of their awe or spectacle.

More than that, they continue to stand out as works of art in a medium known for its graphic sensationalism and snarky protagonists. The young but clearly stoic heroes are nearly inscrutable in their muteness, and their long treks through evocatively Spartan settings are often as moving as the games’ more action-packed sequences. There’s a reason why so many critics have drawn comparisons to both games over the last decade, and it’s wonderful that these unique interactive adventures are now available to a new generation of players.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether games can help improve problem-solving skills. Do you find that some games help you to consider real-world problems in new ways? Has a game ever proven an inspiration for a real-world task?

  • Families can also discuss the roles of women in games. How do you feel when you see a woman or girl limited to the role of damsel in distress? Would you change Ico to make its female lead act differently, or is her demeanor integral to the game’s story?

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date:September 27, 2011
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Superheroes
ESRB rating:T for Blood, Fantasy Violence

This review of The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection was written by

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Teen, 15 years old Written bykniroid May 30, 2014

A beautiful experience

I just want to say that, if for nothing else, you should get this game for your child so that they can still experience it as a child. Dont wait for them to be older. This is a game that instills wonder better than disney movies, and it is a game that your child will remember fondly of when looking back on.
Parent Written byfreedman15 December 28, 2012

A mistake CommonSenseMedia made

While the description of the content of these two games is accurate, I would like to point out one major mistake made by CommonSenseMedia. Wander, the protagonist of Shadow of the Colossus, is in no way a hero. He goes out of his way to kill others who the game's story very specifically states do not originally wish him harm and only fight in their own defense. This is a very important piece of the game's story and message which shouldn't be overlooked, as it gives the game's ending appropriate context.
Adult Written bysanguinius_kain September 29, 2011

A classic game and one that stands the test of time as a fight that games are art.

One thing that is failed to be said in this review is that in Shadow of the Colossus is that the Wander is doing what he is doing for his OWN reasons and with it he is killing off those beings that have been around for far longer then he has been. It is shown that want he is doing is wrong in the fact that as the game goes on and he kills off more and more of the beings he himself starts dieing and becoming more and more zombie like. On a side note the Wander ends up becoming the first horned boy from the coffins in the start of Ico. If you look under the skin of this game it is VERY dark and it is ment to bring a feeling of "I just killed that poor thing for no reason at all." More so to the ones that don't even fight back till you attack them first.