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ICO
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Console: Sony PlayStation 2
Region:U
Year: 2001
RFG ID #: U-072-S-00960-A
Part #: SCUS97113
UPC: 711719711322
Developer: Sony
Publisher: Sony
Rating:
T (ESRB): Violence

Genre: Action/Adventure
Sub-genre: Puzzle Platformer
Players: 1
Controller: Standard Controller
Media Format: DVD x1
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Collection Stats:

  • 378 of 7305 collectors (5.1%) have this game in their collection
  • 24 of 7305 collectors (0.3%) have this game in their wishlist.
  • 0 of 7305 collectors (0%) have this game for sale or trade.
Review:

In Ico, you play as a boy born with horns who's being exiled from his village to a distant castle where he is locked up and left to die. After freeing himself, he encounters a girl in white named Yorda, who is locked up and caged in the castle as well. Ico frees her and they begin their journey together.

At the beginning of their adventure, Yorda's significance is not known, but you eventually find out that she needs to be with you in order to be able to open certain doors in the game and to utilize save locations.

Also, if you don't keep her close by, she gets captured by shadow demons which you most fight off because if they succeed in taking her away by escaping through their "black hole" with her, the game ends. The shadow demons show up quite regularly throughout the game, and the final time you encounter them, you'll understand a significant story element a lot better.

Combat is very straightforward, basic hack and slash, no blocking. The only weapons you will utilize are a stick, which you find early and can also be used as a torch in order to carry fire and a sword, which you don't get until about halfway through the adventure and is used to cut through ropes. The sword obviously does more damage to the shadow demons.

The basic object of the game is to escape the castle with Yorda. But to do that, you will have to figure out how to get through each room of the castle by climbing chains/pipes to find finding levers that open doors, drop bridges, or do other things necessary for progression in the game. You'll also be moving boxes to get to higher ledges, utilizing fire and bombs to open doors, and/or destroying structures that are blocking progress.

Many rooms are fairly straightforward, but there are some that are tricky and require some thought and/or action precision in order to progress. But once through them, the rewarding feeling that comes with figuring it out is worth the frustration experienced, at least in my opinion. If a room is somewhat complex, the cutscene at entry into the room will give you a basic idea of some of the elements of the room to focus on.

This game takes the rare approach of not having any Heads-up Display(aka HUD)...which is a good thing! In my opinion, for a straightforward game as this, having no HUD adds to the cinematic "feel" of being in the story itself. I was very impressed with this aspect and how it was handled in Ico, and wish that more games made would take on this approach. However, I also realize that with the controls being as basic as Ico's, it lends itself better to being able to pull this off effectively.

Graphics are good and the needed interactivity of Ico with the environments are seamless in their presentation. The cutscenes in this game are also presented well and, when encountered, are a little bit of a reward in themselves. Most games that use cutscenes seem to just throw them in to show you a little bit more of the story that you're participating in, not a bad thing, but they just seem "matter of fact", nothing special. With Ico, however, cutscenes are much more rewarding because, although they're brief, it represents a bit of the game saying 'congratulations' to you when you've figured out the most recent puzzle, which also encourages you to keep playing. And the more you play it, the more you WANT to play it.

The way the camera follows you was also very well done when you're in action, and when you are stationary and are just looking around, if you want to focus on one thing, you have to hold the right analog very still at the spot you want to look (which makes sense logically) if you expect to get a better view of it.

Sound and music are an example of "less is more". Basically, the ambient sounds of Ico and Yorda running through the castle, the effects of their puzzle-solving actions, and the subtle, foreboding sounds & music which come up when encountering the shadow demons represent the bulk of the sound of this game. There is very little dialogue as well. However, this all makes perfect sense in the context of this game and, along with the no-HUD, adds to the enjoyment of its overall "feel".

Start to finish, Ico should take about 10-15 hours or so to complete, based on gamer skill level. So if you have the time to dedicate to it, you may want to rent it (if you can find it) if you think you can complete it within the rental period.

The only real criticisms I have of the game are that, even though there is little dialogue, the only character who's comments are not subtitled in English are that of Yorda. Well, after dragging her around the whole game, I'd like to know what she's saying when she's saying it (especially if she's not going to say much)! Also, there were a couple of parts in the game that were frustrating because they required very precise timing in order for you to progress. Lastly, towards the end of the game, there are no save locations; so in order to play through from the last save location to the end, it will take a good hour (or more) to get to the conclusion.

One point on the ending, let the credits roll completely through, you'll be glad you did.

This is a very satisfying game. And although short, provided a very entertaining experience. Ico deserves a place in every PS2 owner's game library. I give it 95/100.

RF Generation Review Score


95%

Extra Media:

Manual Back Cover: Drakan The Ancient Gates
Variations:

Console Reg. Type Title Publisher Year Genre
Sony PlayStation 2 A S ICO [Limited Edition] Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) 2002 Action/Adventure
Sony PlayStation 2 FR, DE, IT, NL S ICO [PEGI Release] Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) 2006 Action/Adventure
Sony PlayStation 2 United Kingdom S ICO [PEGI Release] Sony Computer Entertainment Europe 2006 Action/Adventure
Sony PlayStation 2 France S ICO [Limited Edition] Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) 2002 Action/Adventure
Sony PlayStation 2 CZ, GR, PL, PT S ICO Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) 2002 Action/Adventure
Sony PlayStation 2 Italy S ICO [Limited Edition] Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) 2002 Action/Adventure
Sony PlayStation 2 Germany S ICO [Limited Edition] Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) 2002 Action/Adventure
Sony PlayStation 2 DK, FI, NO, SE S ICO [PEGI Release] Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) 2006 Action/Adventure
Sony PlayStation 2 FR, DE, IT, NL S ICO Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) 2002 Action/Adventure
Sony PlayStation 2 Germany S ICO [USK Rerelease] Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) 2006 Action/Adventure
Sony PlayStation 2 DK, FI, NO, SE S ICO [Limited Edition] Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) 2002 Action/Adventure
Sony PlayStation 2 FR, DE, IT, NL S ICO [Limited Edition] Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) 2002 Action/Adventure
Sony PlayStation 2 Germany S ICO Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) 2002 Action/Adventure
Sony PlayStation 2 United Kingdom S ICO [Limited Edition] Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) 2002 Action/Adventure
Sony PlayStation 2 J S ICO Sony Computer Entertainment 2001 Action/Adventure
Easter Eggs:

There is supposedly a sidequest about halfway through the game where you can obtain an even more powerful weapon than the sword, it is the mace.
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