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Team Ico Collection - Shadow of the Colossus: The perfect 3D game?

Saddle up Agro and grab your 3D glasses...

The question you almost certainly mutter to yourself when you encounter the first of the titular titans in Shadow Of The Colossus: "How on Earth am I supposed to get up there?"

As young Wander, you have been tasked with felling 16 behemoths that inhabit a vast wasteland, aided by your trusty steed Agro and armed with an enchanted sword and a bow.

That's all well and good. But first, you've got to clamber onto each creature and locate its weak point. Up there. And how on Earth are you supposed to do that?

It's a question SOTC first-timers have asked themselves again and again over the six years since the game's original release on PS2. But now, in glorious 3D, the distance between you and the colossi's heads seems further than ever.

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Shadow Of The Colossus has been lovingly rendered as an HD experience and will be released along with Ico as a double-pack this spring.

It looks stunning with or without the glasses - but especially with. Every rampart on the beasts' armour, every clump of fur on their backs, every nobble on their bodies pops out of the screen, but in the subtlest way. The depth of field is astonishing yet totally natural.

Plunge your sword into a monster's glowing sigil and blood spurts in thick plumes towards the screen, as the wounded colossus flails this way and that in an effort to throw you off.

And as they fall - hard - they throw up dirt and debris that flits into the foreground without ever trying to poke you in the eye.

The game was of course originally made in the 2D era, and the very fact that it refrains from unnecessary 3D tricks makes it all the more immersive.

TRIPLE VISION
Riding across the plains of the forbidden land, with its ruinous mountains and silent caves, offers breathtaking scale - though the effect is deflated slightly by the fact that Agro appears to be floating millimetres above the ground.

Another 3D side effect is that timing jumps becomes that much trickier, especially when trying to grab a thin piece of cloth hanging from the bum of the fourth colossus. But these glitches are far from game breakers.

The 2D is great, too (which, let's face it, is how most of us will be playing). The sometimes murky low-res textures of the original have been upscaled and reborn in luminescent, solid, full-frame splendour that stands up to early PS3 graphics at the very least.

The gameplay itself - thankfully - remains exactly the same. "Ico and SOTC are basically faithful to the original games," director Fumito Ueda says when asked what's new.

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"Of course, where there were problems in the original games, we've fine-tuned them. I probably shouldn't tell you what those were though!"

The controls too are unchanged: move with the analogue sticks, jump with triangle, grip onto a colossus' fur with R1, and hold and release square to thrust your sword or fire an arrow.

Ueda's love for uncluttered design translates to simplicity at every turn, so you can forget about the buttons and put your brain to the task of how on Earth you're supposed to get up there.

Each colossus has its own attack patterns, and more often than not it's a case of provoking it to attack so that you can jump onto a bare patch of fur or cause it to expose a vulnerable point (the sole of its foot, say).

They also each inhabit very different lairs, not only on the ground but above or below it; few experiences are as thrilling as clutching the flapping wing of an airborne colossus as it swoops recklessly through the open sky, your Stamina gauge gradually depleting.

It's such a joy to play, whether you're new to Ueda's world or a seasoned colossus-killer; starting out so small against these giants, finally bringing them down is an incredible rush.

It says a lot when a game that was released so many years ago for PS2 looks better in 3D than any game that has been made since PS3 entered the third dimension. And yet that is utterly true of Shadow Of The Colossus. If you're not yet sold on 3D gaming, you will be after seeing this.

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