Ico remastered preview: Not too little, definitely not too late

I'm going to say something now and I don't want you to get mad. Promise that you won't? Promise?! Okay, fine -- I've never played Ico. It just didn't happen. A mixture of procrastination and disc-read errors have conspired to keep me from the lauded PS2 classic.

That changed late last week at a Sony press event, where the publisher showed off the forthcoming, double-game remaster Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection.
%Gallery-102414%

It may surprise you to learn that the original games have undergone little in the way of artwork replacement, with the intent of preserving the original look in high-definition. Additionally, as Ico was originally released with second-playthrough extras for Europe, the master code for that version of the title forms the basis of the PS3 port, which adds HD and 3D support. (That means you'll get the watermelon ending -- in HD).

The 3D effect is very impressive.

Fumito Ueda, the creative lead at Sony's Japan Studio and creative lead for both Ico and SotC, originally intended both games to launch with 3D functionality, but tech at the time wasn't up to the challenge, a Sony rep told us. "Sometimes people ask if the conversion to 3D is difficult, but because of the way the game was designed and put together, it was pretty straightforward actually," he explained. The rep also confirmed that both games have been locked at 60 frames per second, per the 3D display requirements. It seems I'll never experience the legendary slowdown of either game!

For a nine-year-old title, Ico easily stands up to current graphical standards -- especially with the aid of the remastering process. The 3D effect is very impressive as well, giving the already enormous environments of each game a truly spacious feel. And, considering I'd never played it before, the game systems and mechanics feel fresh -- fresher than most current games, I'd argue.

Ico was and is a game that leaves you to your own devices. It doesn't hold your hand. In fact, the hand-holding mechanic actually works better than the one in Fable 3. Think about that.

The Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection will be available for $39.99 "this spring."

Update: There has been some confusion in the comments about the game's framerate. A Sony rep explained during the event, "It [Ico] was pushing the limits for the PS2 back in the day, but that's been addressed. Especially with implementing the 3D -- it has to be running at 60 FPS to allow the 3D." With regards to Shadow of the Colossus, the US PS blog says, "The framerate now sits at a fluid, solid 30 frames per second, eliminating one of the few complaints of the original game."

Update 2: Sony has confirmed that both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, whether in 2D or 3D, are locked to 30 frames per second. The representative quoted in the previous update "misunderstood the way 3D works," and apologizes for any confusion caused as a result (as do we!).

This article was originally published on Joystiq.