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Team Ico: Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection

I recently finished “Ico” and “Shadow of the Colossus” remastered in High Definition for the PlayStation 3. I’ve had these games for the PlayStaton 2, but never played them. I decided to give these two another chance and I’m glad I did because Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are part of my all-time favorite games.


Both of these games were released in 2001 (Ico) and 2005 (Shadow of the Colossus) for the PlayStation 2. Online, I read and watched videos of people calling these two games masterpieces and Shadow of the Colossus being one of the best games of all-time.


Both games were developed by Team Ico (based in Japan) and led by game designer Fumito Ueda. After college, Ueda tried to make a living as an artist, but decided to pursue a career in the video game industry.


His games have minimal dialogue which forces the player to use their imagination. The art style of the world’s atmosphere and the music also helps tell the story.


Ico


Ico is about a young boy, named Ico who was brought to a castle to be sacrificed because he has horns growing out of his head. He broke out of jail and comes across a young girl named Yorda who was locked in a cage.


They realize that they can’t understand each other because the speak different languages and come from different cultures.


They needed each other in order to escape from the castle because Ico is agile and Yorda can open up special doors that only she can open. Throughout the game, Ico was holding Yorda’s hand trying to find a way out of the castle to freedom.


The game has many undertones that Team Ico wanted the players to receive. From my experience, people fear what they don’t understand (Ico was going to be sacrificed because he was different) and two people (Ico and Yorda) come from two completely different backgrounds and came together to reach a common goal.


The game was a little frustrating at the beginning because of the outdated controls, but once I got used to them I got more invested in the story and atmosphere. The fact that Ico has to hold Yorda’s hand throughout most of the game made me feel like I had to protect her all the time because she needed me as much as I needed her in order for us to escape the castle.


The updated graphics and the art style of the game was beautiful and really nice to look at on an HD television. It really felt like at times that I was playing in a painting because it was so well done.


The ending of the game caught me completely off guard and had an emotional impact on me. I would have to say that Ico has one of the best video game endings I’ve ever experienced. I understand why people say this game is one of the best games of all time.


Check out this fan made montage that I like from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTlpxEKsYSE


Shadow of the Colossus


Shadow of the Colossus focuses on a young man named Wander. He enters a forbidden land with his horse and the hope of saving a girl named Mono.


Wander receives aid from a mysterious entity named Dormin who tells him to slay 16 colossi and there could be a chance that Mono could come back to life. Dormin explains that there would be a huge risk if Wander slays all the colossi, but Wander doesn’t care what happens to him, as long as Mono could come back to life.


The gameplay is just about Wander with his magic sword, bow-n-arrow and his horse named Agro to take down the 16 Colossi with the hopes of bringing Mono back to life.


Trying to find a way for Wander to climb the Colossi, which are like puzzles, is very satisfying. To finally find a way to get on them and find their weak points on their body, then kill them while they try to shake Wander off is exhilarating. Some of the Colossi are hundreds of feet tall, while others are smaller, but are still a lot bigger than Wander.


All of the Colossi were minding their own business, and they only react violently when Wander threatens them, which made me question what Wander was doing right or wrong.


The gameplay and story is simplistic, but it works for the games advantage because of the graphics and atmosphere.


The game is open-world and Wander travels on his horse through lush forests, sandy deserts and old ruin towns to find the Colossi's. Like Ico, Shadow of the Colossus was frustrating at the beginning because I had to get used to the controls and it also felt like I was playing in a painting.


The soundtrack for this game was also amazing, because when Wander starts scaling the Colossi. The dramatic music starts and when Wander finally kills the Colossi, sad and depressing music starts playing making me feel an emotion like “what have I done.”


I like how this game could tell its story without much dialogue, and I love the art style the most from this game. I understand why some people say this is one of the best games of all-time.


Check out this video about one of my favorite Colossi’s from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZ9Q34MZkRw


The Last Guardian is the next game from Team Ico, but it was announced in 2007 and has been in development hell. The last game Team Ico released was Shadow of the Colossus in 2005.


This year players will get to play The Last Guardian in October 2016, and Team Ico just gained a new fan and I’m looking forward to play their next masterpiece.


Check out The Last Guardian trailer from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL2zzgW6YOo


Conclusion


So could video games be art? yes they could. Creating a video game with a beautiful atmosphere, dramatic actions from the main protagonist and supporting characters along with emotional music is what makes video games art.


Which Team Ico game do I like more? Ico or Shadow of the Colossus? After reminiscing about both games after finishing them, I couldn’t come to a decision so I decided that I like them both equally.


The last time I was emotionally invested into a video game was inFAMOUS 2, which came out in 2011, and I haven’t had that feeling since then. For me, a video game becomes more like an experience when I constantly reminisce about the characters and atmosphere that they developers created.


I was also thinking about which video game console is my favorite. I would have to say the PlayStation 2 because four out of the five games that I like were originally released for the PlayStation 2, and re-released in HD for the PlayStation 3.


My Favorite Games:


God of War II (Developed by SIE Sony Santa Monica Studio) played in 2007.

inFAMOUS 2 (Developed by Sucker Punch Productions) played in 2011.

Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando (Developed by Insomniac Games) played in 2003.

Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection (Developed by Team Ico) played in 2016.


Citations and Disclaimer:


I do not own any content from the images displayed from The Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection and The Last Guardian.


No Copyright Intended. All image content is copyright to their respective owners. All content is property of Sony Computer Entertainment America and SCE Japan Studio.


Ico Tribute: You Were There. Perf. Composed by Michiru Oshima, Lyrics by Lynne Hobday, and Vocals by Steven Geraghty. ICO Tribute: You Were There. AttilaJP, 13 July 2015. Web. 28 July 2016. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTlpxEKsYSE


Shadow of the Colossus Gaius Boss Fight - 3rd Colossus on PS3. Shadow of the Colossus Gaius Boss Fight - 3rd Colossus on PS3. Boss Fight Database, 31 Mar. 2015. Web. 28 July 2016. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZ9Q34MZkRw


The Last Guardian - E3 2016 Trailer PS4. The Last Guardian - E3 2016 Trailer PS4. PlayStation, 13 June 2016. Web. 28 July 2016. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL2zzgW6YOo

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