A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
Talk to your kids 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?
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