Ten years after Ico's original release, the HD version has hit shelves along with the sequel and loose prequel Shadow of the Colossus. Both games now run in full 1080p with stereoscopic 3D and are packaged on one disc for $40. Rather than haphazardly remake this collection, Team Ico has demonstrated their full talent in game design by making these classics just as memorable as they were years ago.

 There exists no better example of a cult classic than Ico. Receiving generally favorable scores when it was first released in 2001, Ico never fully caught on with the public. This is the chance for those who missed the PS2 version to experience a tale of believable companionship and unprovoked sacrifice. The main character Ico, the basis for the name of the game and developer, has been imprisoned within a mysterious castle where he finds a girl of unknown origin. Controlling only Ico and prompting the girl, Yorda, to follow, players have to escape the castle while solving mind bending puzzles and fighting off shadow beasts.

 Not much has changed in the realm of gameplay. Players still drag Yorda along, fighting off enemies with the swing of a stick or sword, and she still acts as an unusually gangly, helpless maiden whose only purpose is to open locked doors. However, the relationship between Ico and Yorda is as strong as ever, making these frustrating segments seem less pointed and unbearable. One noteworthy change is that this HD collection is based off the PAL version of the original, instead of the North American version. While this means little for those in Europe, those elsewhere receive slightly altered segments; the primary difference being a new game plus mechanic that enables co-op play with Yorda. The other, slightly less noticeable alteration is a new puzzle half way through the story. Furthermore, bonus content in the way of commentary and early concept videos pertaining to both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are also available.

 Moving on to the second updated game in the collection, Shadow of the Colossus is as much a sequel to Ico as it is an improvement. Regarded by many critics as one of the greatest PS2 games, it is the primary driving force behind video games as an art form. Players control the mysterious traveler, Wander, as he tries to resurrect his sacrificed love by toppling 16 colossi with the help of a magic sword and his horse, Agro.

 Fans should be glad to hear that the HD version doesn't dilute the original's reputation in any way. The scenic vistas are actually improved with the higher quality visuals, as is the sense of awe at being in the huge open world. Quickly changing terrains, from grassy plains to arid desert, is still amazing. One previous complaint from the original was its funky control scheme. A button configuration option is now available, making the button layout more comparable to today's standards. Some of the later colossi are still frustrating beyond comprehension, but with the option of a new control scheme, this frustration is more due to player error than a misstep in game design.       

 With the enhanced graphics and better controls, this is the optimal method to experience these two classics. Both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are masterpieces of gaming and the HD update simply serves to solidify their standing.