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Although it looks like an adventure game and has some rudimentary action sequences, Ico is mostly about solving puzzles. Players will run, jump, and climb their way through the gargantuan castle as well as figure out which objects and environments are interactive. Yorda is very much a damsel in distress, and isn't nearly as capable as Ico. A great deal of the puzzles require the player to create a safe path for Yorda, who isn't physically able to get to the places Ico can. The puzzles are quite brilliant, although a few are so tough that players will feel like ditching the princess.
Graphics, particularly the lighting effects and animations, are fantastic. The developers did a superb job of conveying the enormity and beauty of the castle. When Ico and Yorda move and interact, their actions seem totally lifelike. The ambient soundtrack and simple controls let the player focus on the tasks at hand. Sony has crafted a very unique game that anyone can play. Few games are as elegant in their simplicity as this puzzler from Sony. --Raymond M. Padilla
- Excellent puzzle design
- Aesthetically and stylistically brilliant
- Appropriately understated sound
- Most players will finish it in fewer than 10 hours
- Battles are too easy
Top Customer Reviews
"ICO" at its core is a platformer and puzzle-solver with some basic combat elements, but its deeper aspects make it far more than that. The title character, Ico, must lead a young girl called Yorda out of a rundown castle and protect her from shadow creatures that try to reclaim her. The gameplay is very simplistic and yet contains one of the richest experiences ever found in gaming. The way Ico leads Yorda around is so beautiful, so powerful than it makes the player forget that he's playing a game and is instead living a dream. The dual-shock controller adds to the experience by causing the player to "feel" Ico leading Yorda by the hand. Add in realistic body physics, and the feeling is one that remains etched in a player's memory.
Adding to the unforgettable experience are superb graphics, some of the best the PS2 has seen. While the characters can look a little hazy sometimes, they always look, act, and seem real. The environment itself is a work of art. Unlike games like "Myst", where puzzles are just put there with no purpose other than to be solved, the castle is a living and breathing puzzle that is there for a purpose. Textures, lighting effects, and water effects all add to the magic the gameplay already casts.
Soundwise, there isn't a lot of music in the game except during cutscenes, pause menu, and the ending.Read more ›
ICO is an absolutely wonderful game. It has impeccable art direction, superb gameplay, and a very charming story. I was blown away by the scope and design of the environment. Even today.
The story is simple. ICO is a small boy out to rescue a fair princess in a huge, daunting castle. Finding your way out of the fortress is just half the battle, as you are able to do things and go places the fragile princess is not. You must figure how to get her out, too, while fending off the dark spirits out to steal her back. The game is a moderately-paced fairy tale in the absolute best sense. From opening to closing credits, this game is top notch.
If you like puzzle adventure games, you have to play ICO. It's vast, cinematic, and wonderfully played out. At it's current retail price it's a bargain. The used prices are just too good to pass up.
Really. Do yourself a favor and play this game if you never have. It's an early PS2 title, but it's still one of the best, and probably one of the most genuine games you will ever play.
Eyes and Ears: 4/5: On a simply artisitc level, Ico is brilliant and beautiful. It's apparent with both graphics and sound the designers were trying to go for a more artsy approach rather than a straight-out bar-none eye-popping design. The graphics in this game are gorgeous, but not to the casual observer, as most of its inspired level design, attention to detail, and polished glitz are greatly overshadowed by a misty fog, or a layer of light calming "fuzz." This effect gives the mysterious world at some mysterious time a sense of surrealistic ambience, almost as if we were dreaming this whole adventurous ordeal.
Sound I can summerize in one word: quiet. The ONLY music that ever plays during the game is when you're loading your game, if you die, and during the ending. The other 95% of the time there is no sound but various doves flying around, footsteps, clanks during battle, the main character's mystery language, and other sound effects.Read more ›
It starts with a good setup movie, which explains how the horned boy got locked in the castle (inside an urn).. the movie is rendered with the game engine! (it is not silicon graphics pre-rendered footage).
After the movie setup leaves the camera alone in this huge prison room in the castle, the floor crumbles and your urn spills open tossing you (the boy) onto the ground.
The initial room is *huge* with 36 of these mysterious urns lining the wall. Since one assumes each urn has a (presumably dead) person in it, this is a spooky setup indeed.
The sound of ICO is very striking.. there is no music while playing, but with brilliant footfalls, torches and other sound effects who needs music?
Movement of the boy is almost flawless.. beautifully animated he walks, trots, runs, trips, jumps and a dozen other things with high realism.
The resolution of the view inside the castle is high (unlike the comment left by another poster), although the rough hewn stones that form the walls and floor, slightly shifting camera, and misty corners to the rooms can give a negative impression to some.. but if you take time with the 2nd analog stick to move the view up and around, looking at the high roof and the detail you will be amazed.. having a quality TV with S-video or better connections helps a lot as well.
Moving through the demo you are required to solve some very simple puzzles and bring down the cage holding the mysterious girl, who is animated with a soft glowing quality that is quite wonderful..Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Note: This is a review of the PS3 version of the game as if it was released in 2001 (the original release year of the original version). Read morePublished 4 months ago by Bugson08
Item arrived quickly and in excellent condition! This is a wonderful and challenging game!Published 8 months ago by N. Snow
Great game overall. You basically have to rescue a princess from her captivity in a massive, desolate castle that has all kinds of puzzles to solve to eventually get her out of the... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Matthew Snope
This is one of my new favorite games! It is basically just a really long adventure puzzle. You have to be into very quiet and atmospheric game types though, or you may be bored. Read morePublished 18 months ago by James Karcher