If you don't know about this game it's not surprising - for some reason it didn't do very well on it's release... but talk to the people who bought it and played it and they'll all tell you how much they loved it.
Ico is staggering in many ways - particularly when you consider when it was made (it was originally intended and developed for the PS1!). The game play and idea is refreshing different and the graphics and scenery is beautiful (it may look a little dated alongside todays new machines, but it still looks excellent.
The main thing for me about this game though is just how involved you become with characters and story (which is expanded on in another amazing game by the same team, now collectively known in the industry as Team Ico and which I'll tell you about in a moment). Ico - Japanese for 'come here' is a young boy with horns who is banished to a castle by his village elders as part of a ritual. Meant to perish as a sacrifice the plucky Ico breaks free from the stone tomb he was put in and so starts the game. Essentially it's one big puzzle - there is a bit of action, with black ghost that appear every now and then which Ico hase to fight off, but the main drive of the game is puzzle based: Ico is presented with the task of escape - escape from the castle one room at a time. Solve one room and then the next.
During the game Ico meets a princes called Yorda who's been enslaved by the evil queen who dwells within the castle walls, Ico (or you as the player) have to figure out how to get Yorda out of the castle with you. Solve the riddle of each room then figure out how to get Yorda out with you.
The characters are truly touching and the dynamics between them still almost bring a tear to my eye. Ico is a game that had a huge impact on me and to this day, although not a big gamer, I would say had a massive impact on my life. I still think of the characters, love the music, talk of the game and was only yesterday googling Ico to find out about the 3rd release from Team Ico on PS3 - The Last Guardian... actually I don't have a PS3, but I will buy one purely for the 3rd instalment of this game the probably sell it... that's how incredible and involved in the story of Ico I have become.
So what of the Ico story - well I gave you the basic outline of this game above, but hinted at more - and there is - in another incredible game called Shadow Of The Colossus. A prequel that is just as incredible scenery wise and just as original in the concept of it's game play (in this game the puzzles come in the form not of castle chambers, but huge towering monsters - puzzles in themselves - that you have to figure out how to kill. One level=One Colossus). In the fantanstic game we find out about the curse of Ico - and how his line of ancestors came to be.
Ico is simply amazing and it's incredibly sad this game was not played more widely - but maybe that adds to it in a way - I see there's a huge price tag for this game now (£ - really?!!!) but in all honesty... It might be worth every penny.
This is a truly phenomenal piece of work. A peice that will make your life richer and stay with you for the rest of your life.
My heart still aches from the beauty of this game and the story of a brave a little boy named Ico.
Funnily enough - I've just remembered I called my cat Ico too - although it's get's shortened to Ike now.
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I picked up Ico after playing the amazing Shadow of the Colossus which is a very loose prequel. Ico is just as good, though smaller in scope, no gigantic monsters here. Instead you are guiding a girl around and saving her from evil shadows.
The graphics aren't cutting edge anymore but they are stylized enough to be a acceptable and the sound design is superb.
Ico is a PS2 classic that unfortunately wasn't played by many people. I would highly recommend it.