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.