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Game Review: Ico

Posted by Jake, 06 April 2012 · 2,196 views

Shadow of the Colossus is considered a perfect example of video games being "art." SotC was made by a company called TeamIco. It was their second game. What was their first game? You have three guesses...it's Ico! While not quite as mind-blowing as SotC, this game still makes it into my top ten games of all time.

Gameplay: This game blends platforming and puzzle solving. This is a giant castle, after all. You have to escort a girl named Yorda. KEEP HER WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES. There are demons that come after Yorda on a regular basis. If they catch her and drag her into the abyss they create, you die. The world is semi-open, as you can backtrack, but you really won't be exploring unless necessary. There are a variety of weapons, but the only ones I can reveal without spoiling are the 2x4 and the sword. You can defeat the demons by mindlessly swinging at them, which is a sloppy combat system, but this is 2001. What do you expect? Speaking of expecting, expect a lot of frustration with Yorda's AI. She mindlessly wanders and often does not answer your calls to her. She is supposed to be the helpless "Damsel in Distress," but this is taking it too far. As for the core gameplay, it works well for the game's age. There is your basic jumping from platform to broken platform of the crumbling castle, as well as using your enviornment in a variety of puzzles. At one point, you must jump on a chandelier, detaching it and crumbling the bridge below, slanting it down and creating a ramp to the lower level. Other puzzles like this occur throughout the game, and it keeps you thinking. With the demons keeping you on your toes, this adds a sense of urgency and requires you to use your brain in an efficient manner.

Art Style: This game has a cartoony art style. The entire game takes place in one castle, and while the castle has several different areas, the enviornment never changes all that much. However, you still may take the time to enjoy the enviornment. Well, you know, if you don't have demons chasing you.

Story: You are a boy named Ico. His village has sent him to be imprisoned in a castle as a punishment for his curse of growing horns. Due to a timely earthquake, Ico escapes his chains and tries to find a way out. He meets a girl named Yorda, who is also trapped, and Ico finds that shadow demons try to capture her. He teams up with her and begin exploring. He finds the front gate right when it begins closing. He would have made it, if Yorda didn't trip. When the gate closes, a woman steps out of shadows, claiming Yorda is her daughter. She tells Ico to not even try to escape, then humors him by vanishing again. Ignoring her, Ico and Yorda begin to work together to figure out how to open the gate. Along the way, they learn the sinister intent of this castle, its prisoners, and the woman of the shadows.

Lasting Appeal: This game is only about six hours long. If you have the American version, that's it. If you have the European, Japanese, or HD version, there is a bit more to dig into. You unlock a New Game+, which gives you co-op, an alternate ending, translation of Yorda's strange language, and even a lightsaber, if you know where to look. This is actually one of those games that you only play a couple of times, but it will be fond in your memory.



Gameplay: 8/10 For its age, Ico is amazing. The platforming isn't too easy, but isn't too hard. The puzzles will have you scratching your head. Yorda's AI is terrible, but for a game in 2001, there isn't much they could have done about that.

Art Style: 8/10 The art style definitely shows some age. Its creative, but it doesn't stand up to the games of today with a similar intent in visuals. Still, the enviornments are beautiful, even if they do get a bit repetitive.

Story: 9.5/10 This game is about friendship, but it doesn't make it cheesy. The game manages to be both touching and epic at the same time, and like SotC, the end could be interpreted as good or bad. The only bad thing is that the alternate ending is almost the same thing, with a slightly different cutscene at the end. If you play SotC, playing this first will make SotC's ending a lot less confusing.

Lasting Appeal: 6/10 This isn't a terribly long game, but it will stick with you forever. The American release suffers from no extra features. The European, Japanese, and HD releases all warrent a second playthrough. The HD release has trophies, but only one requires any effort, and that one is just tedious. Beat the game within two HOURS? To Youtube!

Overall: 8/10 As I said, this is one of my favorite games ever. There is a difference between a game that I like and a good game. This is an above average game, but I love it. It touched me, and if you buy it, I hope it touches you too. Although you may buy the Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection for SotC only, there is no reason not to play this game as well.




1. "SotC was made by a company called TeamIco. It was their second game. What was their first game? You have three guesses." YOU NEVER OFFICIALLY TOLD US THE ANSWER!!

2. So Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are related story wise?

3. You had this as a draft forever, so I'm glad to finally see it in its entirely.

1. "SotC was made by a company called TeamIco. It was their second game. What was their first game? You have three guesses." YOU NEVER OFFICIALLY TOLD US THE ANSWER!!

2. So Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are related story wise?

3. You had this as a draft forever, so I'm glad to finally see it in its entirely.


1. You're joking, right?

2. Yes, they are loosely connected in story. SotC was originally made to be a seperate game, but they found a way to connect the stories and did.

3. When I wrote my inFamous review, I made drafts of SotC and Ico so I had a queue to work with.
I had actually never heard of this game before now. Good review.

I hope she made your heroics worthwile at the end.
I meant you never said "THE ANSWER WAS ICO!!". You gave me three guesses and you never told me I got it right. Also, the answer is in the title of your blog.

I meant you never said "THE ANSWER WAS ICO!!". You gave me three guesses and you never told me I got it right.


I fixed it just for you. Better?
Yus.

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