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Reviews Comments: An average adventure game that recieves just a bit more attention than it deserves. ICO game review by The Noun

So, I read the one review this game has here, and I decided to write my own. Sit back, as I tell you the tale of ICO.

ICO is an adventure game, released in 2001 on the PS 2. The game deals with a boy, locked in a castle and left to die because of his horns. As he wanders around the castle, he encounters a girl called Yorda. Yorda is the daughter of the castle's Queen. Said Queen plans on possessing Yorda to extend her own lifespan, so Ico must protect her from the Queen's servants who repeatedly attempt to capture her. These servants can't harm Ico himself, but they can drag Yorda off into the portals they spawn from, so he must fight his way through them to get to Yorda. Yorda herself is integral to your own progress, as only she can open the doors of the castle. You must also complete some puzzles while you try and find your way out of the castle.

Ico's puzzles are a little on the easy side, with maybe one or two that were truly challenging. Unfortunately, combat is a bit of a chore, and it wasn't really any fun to drag Yorda all over the place by the hand. The platforming bits are okay, but sometimes a little clunky, and the camera, in it's attempts to be cinematic, is sometimes unhelpful. Overall, Ico's gameplay is decent, but unexciting for the most part.

The graphics look nice, but the design choices are kind of strange. Some of the indoor areas take Real Is Brown to an extreme. The audio consists almost entirely of blowing wind and other background noise. There is very little music, and what's there isn't really that memorable. The story has practically no dialogue, since Yorda speaks an unintelligible language that Ico does not. The plot has some merit, but it isn't exactly the best story ever.

Ico has often been considered one of (if not the only) games that is considered "art". I have to wonder why this is. I might just be a cold, uncaring bitch, but I did not develop any relationship with either Ico or Yorda. There were a few fun parts, but I wasn't blown away like most people who played this game.

Anyway, if your wondering whether or not you should get this game, I'd say try before you buy. It's okay, but it's not groundbreaking like many claim.


  • Fleming
  • 12th Oct 11
I highly disagree with your review, but I'm not going to attack you for it. You said it yourself: you didn't develop a relationship with Ico or Yorda. The emotional connection of the player to the character(s) is what makes Ico such a great experience. As with Team ICO's other works (Shadow of the Colossus and the upcoming The Last Guardian), the storytelling is deliberately minimalist so that the player can create their own story. YOU make Ico great; your relationship with the game is key. Sure, it has its action sequences and puzzles, but they're not the focus, and if you played the game just for those then of course you'll be disappointed. So, like I said, I disagree with you, and I believe that you are wrong in saying that Ico is not a groundbreaking game. But it's your opinion, of course.
  • Fleming
  • 12th Oct 11
I hope I didn't come off as hostile or anything in my response; I was just trying to say that the power of Ico depends on your emotional connection to either Ico, Yorda, or both, and that when you don't have that emotional connection the game loses a lot of its fun — after all, now you're just running around a castle killing shadows. It's a game that emphasizes interpretation and imagination (in the sense that it's up to you to determine what is going on).
  • TheNoun
  • 25th Oct 11
Don't worry, you didn't sound hostile at all. I can't expect everyone to agree with my opinions, after all.
  • marcellX
  • 25th Oct 11
Ico's puzzles are a little on the easy side, with maybe one or two that were truly challenging.

Actually I thought they played with your lack of knowledge and made a lot of puzzles difficult (the first time around) that had simple solutions. In a way it makes you relate to Ico's situation, you're a 12 year old kid in a strange place trying to save someone you can't understand. The mechanisms, that opening gates gets rids of all shadows on sight, that while trying to activate the big exit gates you have to try to walk Yorda in the air and that blocks will appear and the right order of which things need to be done, you're as lost as Ico, there isn't someone giving you a tutorial on how things work. They make you learn something new to solve a puzzle (you can swing on chains!!?) then later they use that against you, you think you're trying everything but you're actually focusing on a few things.

As for ground breaking, I think it's a case of Seinfeld Is Unfunny
  • Cidolfas
  • 1st Nov 11
marcelX: You might be right about Seinfeld Is Unfunny. I actually agree with this review - not perhaps with the tone but with the general feeling that it is a slightly above average game with some unconventional design choices which gets more hype than it perhaps deserves. Here's my own review.
  • ArcaneAzmadi
  • 22nd Jun 15
You're a cold, uncaring bitch.

Hey, don't look at me like that, you said it first.
  • SpectralTime
  • 22nd Jun 15
Come on bro. After all your ill-treatment at the hands of the DOTA 2 fanboys, is that any way to treat someone proffering an unpopular opinion for assessment?

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