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(Classic) ICO (PS2)
4.5/5 | added 2010-1-13 | by LauLau
(originally posted September 2003)

Rated: T
Platform: PS2
Developer: SCEA
Publisher: SCEA

This was Laura's first review
Story/Overview 4/5
Ico is a pretty straightforward game…after you figure out what the heck you have to do.

The game starts with this cut-scene of a horned boy being taken to this “prision” by some guards. He is taken to this giant fortress and in the fortress he is locked up in what the confused player might assume is a giant-cage-like vase. The guards leave him all alone in this huge room and (guess what)…an earthquake makes his vase shake. This, in turn, causes his vase to fall and shatter into pieces and now…you’re free…so now what do you do?

My first impression of the game was: “What the hell am I supposed to do?” Tsk,tsk…silly me! The plot of the game is to escape the fortress. Yes, escape. No side-quests, no unnecessary characters telling you what to do, no annoying winged creatures suggesting where to go next. Ico is in my opinion, the ultimate RPG. YOU have to figure out what to do and no one helps you out…seriously.

Like I said, once you realize that you are locked up in a prison your first impulse will be to…yes, escape. Your mission is to help young Ico, a horned boy with a stick, to escape this fortress.

But don’t let the simple plot fool you. Five minutes into the game you encounter lovely Yorda, who is trapped in a giant cage. Any fool would know better and would leave the girl stuck in there, but not our Ico. He takes her out and thanks to this rash decision you’re stuck with Yorda for the entire game. Yorda is a pretty quiet girl and most of the time she’s either screaming for help,opening up locked doors with her magic, following you along or just bringing more trouble along.

So now you have an idea of what the game is like. Let’s move on, shall we?
Voices/Acting 5/5
There is very little talk in this game, but one of the most important things in Ico is that you have to make Yorda follow you everywhere you go. That’s simple. She holds on to your hand and just runs along. But one of the coolest parts of the game is that if Ico saaaay...jumps a broken bridge, he has to call out to Yorda in his weird little language. It gets really annoying when Yorda just won’t listen to you or when she start walking towards a wall, but it definitely adds to the realism of the game.
Music/Sound 5/5
This game is very silent. Most of what you’ll hear are Ico’s footsteps, Yorda’s screams, or chirping birds. Every once in a while, when you leave Yorda by herself, you’ll hear this low eerie music informing you guessed it, Yorda’s in trouble. The lack of music might seem like a draw-back but it’s really a good thing. It makes you feel more involved in the game and definitely makes you concentrate even more.
Animation 5/5
Superb! The graphics here are amazing and, considering the gargantuan size of the rooms and places you have to get into, they did an excellent job with detail. The main characters, Ico and Yorda, have a very simple appearance…but, in my opinion, they are two of the most realistically animated characters ever created.
Gameplay 5/5
In the beginning, the game might be pretty frustrating if you have no idea what to do, but once you get used to the puzzles it’s great. True…some puzzles are unnecessarily confusing, Yorda is just plain annoying when she won’t listen to you and the game isn’t very long. However, all in all, it’s an excellent game and not too difficult to play. That said, some puzzles are nothing short of maddening.
Final Thoughts 4.5/5
This game is definitely on my top three list for PS2 and it’s nothing short of miraculous. If what you’re into is cars, blood or hot chicks in tight outfits ...then definitely a no-go. But like most of us decent RPG players, I must say that the challenge and beauty in this simple but confusing game is definitely worth it. This is a true PS2 classic. So go now and rent it…heck! Buy it! If you like it, good news! Ico 2 comes out in early 2004! =)

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