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42 hot games only on PS3: 5 - 1

We countdown the best Sony exclusives over the next 12 months...

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The player sighs with relief. Welcome back to Ico.

"There are some areas where I look back on Ico and I think, 'Why did I spend so much time and energy on this part of the game?'", says auteur director Fumito Ueda of the 2001 masterpiece that started one of PlayStation's most epic, original adventure sagas.

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"Now I realise that I put an unusual balance of energy into its development. Maybe I'd do that differently now."

Thank goodness he didn't back then. Ico's deceptively simplistic gameplay, emotional concept and breathtaking vistas inspired not only follow-ups Shadow Of The Colossus and The Last Guardian but also much-loved games like Prince of Persia: Sands of Time.

And the reissue for PlayStation 3, packaged on one disc with SOTC, is set to look better than ever, with upscaled HD graphics, a widescreen ratio and optional 3D. The bundle price is currently unknown, but we'd be more than happy to pay a regular £40 RRP come the HD collection's rumoured April 2011 UK release - though the God of War HD collection was only £25.

"Both Ico and Shadow Of The Colossus were designed in a very 3D environment with a lot of depth of field," says Ueda.

"So the power of the PS3 will allow these environments to come to life in real 3D at last." We haven't seen the 3D yet, but Ueda is not one to let quality slide. Throw in Trophy support and you've got an unmissable package due in spring 2011 - just in time to get you up to speed for The Last Guardian's winter release.

2. Shadow of the Colossus: One of the PS2's most immense experiences reveals its hulking frame to a new generation.

Felling a giant beast is never easy. For one thing, their weak spot is nearly always on top of their head.

And then there's the matter of getting up there, gripping tightly to the monster's matted hair as it tries wildly to shake you off. Plus, you need to figure out how to get a grip of some hair in the first place, because the thing about giant beasts is that they keep their hairy bits quite high off the ground.

No, it's never easy. But, oh, so very fulfilling.

Back in 2005, Shadow Of The Colossus on PS2 took Ico's grand landscapes to a whole new level, with young Wander saddling his horse Agro to ride across vast plains in search of monsters that are, well, colossal.

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Unlike Ico - now being developed for a Hollywood film - this focuses on the thrill of bringing down one gigantic Colossus at a time.

"The natural assumption is that we've simply ported the PS2 versions of the two games to PS3, but it's not that simple," says director Fumito Ueda.

"We're reworking all the textures into HD, which is coming along very nicely. And there were areas in Shadow Of The Colossus where I was unhappy with the framerate, but this time it will have solid 30fps throughout."

Like Ico, Shadow Of The Colossus will run in 3D and feature Trophy support. So far we've only seen a work in progress version, but the visuals are incredibly bold in HD - well, they always were - and the game runs like an absolute dream.

As for speculation that some Colossi cut from the original release might be reinstated, Ueda killed it stone dead. "Immediately after completing Ico or Shadow Of The Colossus, there were moments when I thought, 'I wish I could have done this or that.' But after all these years, I think they play really well just the way they are."

1. The Last Guardian: Ico creator sets 2011 date for his technically astonishing epic.

The Last Guardian is going to be big. Literally. In a small conference room at the recent Tokyo Game Show, Fumito Ueda - reclusive director of PlayStation 2 epics Ico and Shadow Of The Colossus (both due HD remakes) - revealed to a reverent media crowd the latest information about his long-awaited new game, in which a small boy makes a larger than life friend.

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