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ICO


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars .......wow...........
In order to truly undrerstand the impact Ico had on me you would need to speak to me face-to-face, so I could at least attempt to convey the emotion involved. I have NEVER been so awed or involved in a game. The storyline is one of the most simple yet eternal themes ever to be written, and it appeals to us on more levels than we would care to admit. The interaction...
Published on 2 April 2002 by Ash

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good
Ico is for game for puzzle and not action lovers. Your objective is essentially to escape from a castle.
You are given no instructions and just have to get on with it (which is fine) (I assume this is the case I downloaded it from the playstation network and didn't have an instruction manual). Art direction is on top form, really wonderful graphics that give the game...
Published 14 months ago by Galaxie 500


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars .......wow..........., 2 April 2002
By 
Ash (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: ICO (Video Game)
In order to truly undrerstand the impact Ico had on me you would need to speak to me face-to-face, so I could at least attempt to convey the emotion involved. I have NEVER been so awed or involved in a game. The storyline is one of the most simple yet eternal themes ever to be written, and it appeals to us on more levels than we would care to admit. The interaction between Ico and Yorda seems to represent everything good we believe the human spirit is capable of - love, courage, compassion, empathy. Yorda is the woman you have dreamed of rescuing. As you battle to save her from the shadows (which are never explained, adding to their mystery) you almost want to jump in to the tv and kick their asses yourself!
But the action is not where Ico excels - the puzzles will have you scratching your head for a while, before someone pipes up "well, what about that window/bomb/chain?". Whilst Ico is a one player game, you can happily sit around in a group and play for hours (the night I bought it I and three mates played it for four hours with hardly a word muttered that didn't involve the puzzles). You will be so engrossed by the beauty of the castle (I defy anyone not to give a gasp as they look out from the top of the windmill,or gaze up at the waterfalls) that you will give up your life in the quest to see what is next. And perhaps this is the game's main downfall - you become so lost in Ico and Yorda's struggle for their freedom that the game is over before you are aware what you have accomplished - I finished it in less than nine hours. If you have an analytical mind and a 'feel' for games of this kind (think Zelda 64 type puzzles, but more intricate) than you may find this title rather short. However, the game is SO beautiful and the ending SO heart-breakingly affecting that you will forgive it any flaws. Ico is an astonishing gaming experience and a leap forward in game design..
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An immersive masterpiece., 4 April 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: ICO (Video Game)
I'm not going to go into detail here. The reviews posted here already do that. I just need to praise this game.
Right from the start it's obvious you're experiencing something out of the ordinary. You are immediately caught up in the beautifully created atmosphere, thrown into another world. An enchanting place, totally immersive in fact, almost inducing a dream like state (no, I haven't been drinking). From start to finish it's a joy to play. Mentally relaxing and stimulating all at the same time. It is all over a little quickly, but that's probably largly due to the fact that you won't be able to put it down for more than five minutes.
Console gaming needed something different. This is the breath of fresh air I'd been waiting for. Yes it's got great graphics (I swear those trees are real) and sound, but so have so many others. What stands it head and shoulders above it's rivals is that spark. The shiver up your spine that so few games provide these days. A Sony exclusive, this should reassure any PS2 owners with any doubts of whether Sony's machine can stand up against Microsofts' consoles raw power. This is the third place.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly myterious and poetic., 30 Dec 2002
By 
This review is from: ICO (Video Game)
In this game, you play as Ico, a young boy emprisoned because he has horns. Soon the shell-like cell where he's held captive breaks and Ico manages to get free. That's where you take up the reins.
Upon visiting your prison, you stumble across the girl Yorda and save her from a bunch of shadow-like monsters. Taking her by the hand, you can now escape together. You'll have to help her, and she'll sometimes help you in return. Don't leave her alone for too long or more shadow wraiths will try to drag her back to their holes.
In short, the game is series of puzzles where you have push crates, light torches, climb up chains and ladders, activate switches or throw bombs to open your way further, with a kind of "mix between Zelda and Myst" feel to it. But summing it up to this isn't doing Ico justice. Granted, it is rather short, with only about eight to ten hours of gameplay. However, it's set in a world so fascinating, so poetic and mysterious, the whole game taking place in one huge, breathtakingly beautiful fortress of sun-bathed sand-coloured stone with patches of bright green grass, that it's definitely worth a try.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good game, but very, very hard!, 26 Nov 2004
By 
C. O'Connor "chrisuk5" (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: ICO (Video Game)
What is this game really about? A young boy named Yorda, who has been taken to this incredible castle, attempting to escape with a young lady. However, its not really the story that is supposed to pull you into this game, in fact, its everything other than the story that is designed to pull you into this game.
Graphically, it is fantastic, beautiful, enchanting, words do not do justice. The way the light falls upon the castle, the way the birds fly in the air, the scenery in the background and the sky. This is something that has to be seen to be believed. Currently, i would say that there isn't a game on the PS2 so far to rival the graphics of this particular masterpiece. So, what about the gameplay.
You as Yorda are leading a young lady out of the castle, and its your job to protect her. So you grab her by the hand and lead her to freedom. But its not as easy as it sounds. Firstly, she cant jump as far as you, climb as high as you and get to the same places you can, so you have to make a path for her. This makes for some intense stratergy, that can be offputting at times. Your protecting her from these creatures that are quite literally made of darkness who want to take her to their holes. If she dies you die, so you've got to protect her. These battles dont happen as often as you'd hope though, and the lack of attacks, (i.e. all you can do is hit) can be a little dissappointing to the action fan out there.
The sound reflects the place you are in at the time. Let it be said that in places it is beautiful and in other it is dark, harsh and brooding. Putting it bluntly, this game is more a work of art. Its SCEE putting it in the gallaries, and glowing in pride at its child and what it has become. For it is not small and weak, but it feels good. And this is something that most reviews dont include-the feel of the game. You feel tiny, and isolated, in this HUGE castle. You look up and you cant even see the ends of the walls. When your on top of the castle and you look down, your heart skips a beat. When you desperately wrestle the hoards of darkness to keep your lady friend, all you feel is joy at victory. Putting it bluntly, NOTHING feels like ICO. This is a game that critics love, but nobody brought, if you can get this though, i recommend it thorougly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 31 Jan 2004
This review is from: ICO (Video Game)
Without wanting to sound pretentious, ICO is one of the few games that provides a real lasting experience, in much the same way a memorable holiday with friends. There is a real sense of atmosphere within the game established in part by the beautiful visuals and atmospheric soundtrack. However, it is the relationship between the main protagonist, ICO and the mysterious princess Yorda that creates a real emotional involvement with the player. Within, the first two hours of playing you will genuinely care about the characters, as "individuals" as opposed to means of completing the game. In my opinion the best game for the PS2 and one i would strongly recomend
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something different!, 29 Mar 2002
This review is from: ICO (Video Game)
This game is very different from other games, its got new ideas and everything. Not much to say really, all I can say is that its a game for anyone. I thought I wouldn't enjoy this game at first because I heard that it doesn't have much action, but I do enjoy it, its my favourite game now. The graphics are awesome, loads of detail, after all it is developed by Sony. You should see the water effects! This game is very very addictive and after playing it for a couple of hours you wont want to stop, and if you do take a break from it, you wont be able to stop thinking about it, like whats going to happen next, how you are going to solve a puzzle if you are stuck. This game is a must have, although it is short. If you dont want to spend your money on a short game then rent it instead.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ico - old but bold, 21 Jun 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: ICO (Video Game)
Ico is quite simply a joy to play. Recently uninspired by the offerings on next genereration platforms, I fancied a bit of gaming nostalgia. Aware that even Space Invaders would have provoked gasps of awe and wonder in its time, I was concerned that my memory of playing Ico was slightly inaccurate.

Upon revisiting this masterpiece, which truly was ahead of its time, I have to say that Ico more than delivers. It has a beauty and charm that I have not seen in other games. The animation of Ico and Yorda as they attempt to escpape captivity in a forboding castle is superbly done. The inability of the two characters to communicate verbally is a thoughtful touch. Their dependence on each other is cleverly established throughout the puzzles and situations that Ico must solve.

Ico is a twelve year old boy cursed with horns protruding from his head and incarcerated by elders from his village. Yorda is a mysterious girl who is destined to remain in the castle at the will of her mother. Both children are supposed to be there. However, the combination of Ico's agility and determination and Yorda's trust in her rescuer and ability to open locked doors make them a formidable team.

The game environment is awe inspiring, lonely and vast. The enormous castle offers challenges as the two charcters struggle to find away out of captivity. There are times when you forget that you are playing a game, so drawn in are you into the story of the two friends. There are some wonderfully moving moments and upon completion for the second time, I felt that this truly is a rare experience - a gaming gem.

With all the recent controversy surrounding disturbing games like manhunt 2, or the debates about polygon pushing power over gameplay, it is easy to overlook the talents of the Japanese developers who created this beautiful game.

People often wonder why grown men play games and looking at the media coverage of the sort of rubbish that makes the headlines, I can see their point of view. Games like Ico prove that videogames can be intelligent, moving and worthy of our attention. It is a shame that games like Ico will only be produced if people want to play them and unfortunately violent games sell, arty games often don't.

I would urge anybody who has not played Ico to purchase a copy and enjoy it. Better than wasting 50 quid on some first person shooter or repetitive racing.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be nominated for an oscar., 29 April 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: ICO (Video Game)
Well, 8 hours of solid gaming later I'll tell you what to expect - the best, all round, complete game I've ever played !
ICO is kind of like a mix of Tomb Raider and MYST. It's like Tomb Raider for the climbing, jumping and fantastic architecture, like MYST for the strangeness, puzzles and the 'work out for yourself what to do' feeling. You play a young boy, Ico, who is imprisoned in a Gormenghast-like castle. He manages to escape his bonds, and here starts your quest. You must escape from the castle to freedom, but on your journey you free a helpless and mysterious elf-like girl, Yorda.
Here is the real unique twist - you must protect Yorda, and guide her to freedom (in fact, you need her as she has the power to open certain doors that you cannot). She is not as agile as you, so you must lead her and encourage her and find routes that she can manage, whilst also protecting her from ghostly spirits that try to claim her. She has superb AI, and after a short while you really grow attached to her, you really want to protect her and save her.
The graphics are astoundingly realistic - my palms got sweaty when I saw the vertigo-inducing drops beneath me as I leapt for a dangling chain (which writhed realisticly). Golden sunlight spills through windows, waterfalls casdade in huge caverns, trees move in the wind. It's groundbreaking stuff.
The sound is understated, but excellent, adding to the realism.
Best of all, is the story, which evolves naturally and with hardly any dialogue. It really makes every other attempt look amateurish (eg. Metal Gear Solid). It really is heart rending when you are separated towards the end of the game - but be sure to watch *all* the credits for a lovely postscript that had me choked !
This might sound like a hell of a lot of guff to talk about a computer game - but ICO is the first game I've played that had the emotional involvement of a good movie. All the better was the fact I stumbled on this without really knowing what to expect.
If you own a PSII buy this game. If you don't own a PSII, buy one to play this game on it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fresh, 24 July 2004
This review is from: ICO (Video Game)
I've had this one sitting in a box in the corner of my room (a happy abode for a spider named Johnston) for the best part of a year without even thinking about playing it. I had a 'swift half' on it when I first got it, but since then I've completely forgot about it. Somewhat synominous with how the market treated it.
Well eventually I got back to a couple of weeks ago (I pulled Johnston's legs off and flushed him down the loo while I was at it) and thoroughly enjoyed what was there to play. ICO is a unique gaming experience. I suppose the closest thing you might be able to compare it with is Prince of Persia or some elements of Tomb Raider, but it's clearly something more refined. This is an ambitious, original, thought provoking game. There is a message in here for the entire game industry.
The game starts with a short cut-scene sequence using the in-game engine - although at this early stage you'd be forgiven for thinking it was FMV. A young boy with horns being is shipped onto a remote island castle. He has apparently come of age and must be sacrificed in accordance with local village custom. Fortunately for him a minor earthquake disturbs his capsule and it falls to the ground breaking open. This is where the game begins proper.
The first thing that strikes you is the sheer scale of the environments. They're huge, and incredibly detailed too. It's not so much the graphical splendor either (although they are very nice), it's more to do with the subtle details: the uneven surface of the walls, the crumbling cracks, the texture of the surfaces, the slicing beams of natural light coming through the windows. There is so much to see and marvel at, it's detail is on a par with Metal Gear Solid 2, but used in finer moderation. It all just blends into the environment naturally. Stunning.
Once you've had a brief wander through the first room, you'll gradually progress to a long and huge stairwell - you have remember that nothing has really been done on a scale like this before so I have to exaggerate a little. During this time, you'll have a chance to play with the controls. You'll scale a few short walls, climb a ladder, jump onto some ropes. It's a learning curve device which seamlessly slots into the game without you even realising.
By the time you've reached the top of this first staircase, you'll have met Yorda, a crippled female with a heavenly aura look about her. Once you've freed her from her cell - this in itself commands the first practical application of puzzle solving - Yorda becomes your key. In order to progress through each section of the game you must bring Yorda to a door which only she can open. This isn't as easy as it sounds. She is nowhere near as agile as Ico, she can't climb walls very well, simply doesn't do climbing and she minces all over the shop. It's a good job you can grab her by the hand and drag her about at you pace.
Typical puzzles involve you performing daring jumps and exhausting yourself through endless climbing, pushing boxes and swatting away shadows (more on that later) only to drop a ten foot long draw bridge which Yorda can amble across. Herein lies the greatness of the game. It is the thought that it put until the puzzles and such which makes it both enlightening and infuriating at the same time.
If we return to that stairwell for moment. I was stuck there for a good ten minutes trying to work out what to do. But the solution was obvious; climb a wall and run out of the broken window onto the exterior of the building. I wasn't thinking like that though. My assumption was that because it was a videogame I'd just be running up against invisible barriers. ICO is like no other videogame. You have to expand your expectations, realise that anything in the physical world can actually happen in ICO. The diversity of the puzzles and their respective solutions become so vast that during later stages you're lost because you start trying to apply too many variables. No other game has made me so irritated with myself because its scope deceives your logical thinking.
One downfall that this game has is the combat system. It's difficult to try and find ways to describe that it's dull but in step with the game. Basically there is one type of enemy (which may occasionally fly) and you must mash the attack button for a bit until they die. Sometimes Yorda might get caught by one and you'll find yourself saving the day at the last moment by yanking her out of a black hole. It's simple, disappointing stuff. However, making it more intense and predominant in the game would ruin the overall pace of the game. I don't quite know how it could have been solved (maybe a z-lock on system like in Zelda) but I get the feeling that neither did the developers. They had an idea but they didn't know how to exploit it. You end up saying, "oh another fighting bit, let's just get it over with".
I almost feel guilty finding faults with the game, it's such a breath of fresh air, but they are there, and in some number too. First and foremost, the game is tiny; some demos last longer than this game. I managed to finish it all within seven hours and with it being a puzzle game there ain't much point in playing it again. I also feel that the minimalist narrative moments hold back what could be a fascinating story. The world within Ico is brilliantly depicted and developed that the story and the characters behind it should have got the same treatment. Instead we have Yorda mumbling a foreign language for most of the game and Ico's past, present and future remaining an almost total mystery. Was it intentional? I just don't know.
Ico breaks beyond the boundaries of conventional gaming with a giant leap, I really can't fault it at all for its determination to give the gamer something different. 'Almost' perfect.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, 10 Feb 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: ICO (Video Game)
It is not very often that you play a game that lives with you long after you have put down the controller, but certain games have the ambition and the guts to not only keep you entertained, but to excite and move you in a way that would put many films to shame.
Ico is one such game and it is clear after the extensive opening scenes that you are not being thrown into an all action game but one that will require you to use your head. You play as Ico, a young boy who has been imprisoned in a vast castle and must use his brains and agility in order to escape. Along the way you meet yorda, the daughter of the evil queen of the castle, who has also been imprisoned. Together you must try to escape the labyrinth and reach the outside world.
This is what distinguishes ico from most other games. You must guide yorda through the game and protect her from the ghosts which are desperately trying to recapture her. If you lose Yorda, the game is over. You need her because she is the only one who can open the vast doors all along the castle with her special powers. The game depends on Yorda's survival, not yours. As well as protecting Yorda you must negotiate several puzzles in order to progress. Most of these are fairly standard puzzle game fare: pulling levers, pushing/pulling blocks and climbing ladders. Some puzzles will cause you more headaches than others but the difficulty level is kept fairly consistant and is neither too easy nor too hard.
Protecting Yorda from ghosts is your main headache in the game. It one grabs her, you must chase after it and kill it with a stick or sword before it disappears with her into a hole in the ground. Or better yet, kill all the ghosts before they get a chance to grab her. You spend a lot of the game doing this and although it is usually not too hard to fend them off, it does get pretty repetitive. This is really my only complaint about the game.
I have to mention the graphics which are absolutely stunning and you will no doubt spend much of the game panning the camera around the scenery which is beautifully detailed. The main attraction of the game is how brilliantly constructed it is both in terms of the world you must progress through and the story. Towards the end of the game you become seperated from Yorda and you spend the rest of the game trying to be reunited with her resulting in a sad but poignant conclusion that should be experienced by people who turn up their noses at computer games.
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