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10  |  ICO
Toriko , 10/15/2004 2:09:52 PM



The Plot:

Once every generation a boy with horns is born.  He is sent to a castle as a sacrifice to the local evil Witch Queen.  You escape your prison cell only to find yourself alone in an empty castle.  Or perhaps not so alone when you meet and rescue the Princess.  The pair of you must solve puzzles and kill shadow creatures in order to escape.


The Gameplay:

ICO is categorized as an adventure game, though I would consider it more of a puzzle game.  You explore various areas and figure out how to move boxes, pull leavers, and blow stuff up in order to get yourself and Princess Yorda to the next set of puzzles, and eventually out of the castle.  The fighting in the game is simple.  Basically you push one button to swing your weapon and destroy that shadows before they suck Yorda back to hell. 


My Opinion:

If you are looking for an adventure game with complex fights, you might want to look elsewhere.  The game is about exploring your environment and player immersion, and it does it fantastically.  The sounds and the music are both subtle and are woven into the game so as not to detract from play.  The graphics are where the game really excels.  Even though it is a few years old (2001), I still think it is the one of the better games I’ve played graphically.  The diffuse lighting gives the whole game an ethereal feel.  The castle seems like one whole (huge) building rather than a series of unrelated rooms that I find in other games.  At any point you can move your camera and see places you have been, or places you have yet to go, all drawn in beautiful detail. 


Everything about the game is simple and intuitive.  They stripped away all the bells and whistles that distract a player to expose the core of what is fun in an exploration game.  Even the plot ‘rescue the princess from the evil queen’ is archaic, and yet it doesn’t need a convoluted back story and involved plot to make it work.  This is a great game because it is so simple.


There are very few bad things I can say about ICO.  It is my favorite game on the PS2.  My only wish is that the game itself was longer.


I give ICO 10/10

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