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A legendary masterpiece; An unknown treasure.
To call Ico a sleep hit would be an understatement, nay, a gross misunderstanding of the word itself. Ico was released in 2001 to little fanfare, and it's commercial success would make any film with Pauly Shore look startling in comparison. But despite it's poor sales, the game spun off a sequel (a prequel to be precise; Shadow of the Colossus) and is slated for a third title called "The Last Guardian".

Once every generation, a child is born with horns to a small village. Believed to be possessed by evil spirits, the child is eventually taken to a castle located near the ocean when they come of age to be sacrificed. Locked in a coffin, Ico faces certain doom. However, either by divine intervention, or the most strangest of stroke of luck, he escapes, and the adventure begins. Befriending a strange girl named Yorda, the two forge a bond as they try to escape their fates.

What sets Ico apart from your typical adventure title is it's presentation, atmosphere, and the way it tells it's story. Forget Heads-up-display, Ico doesn't need one. Forget blaring sythezized music, Ico relies on the ambient sounds of crashing waves and howling winds. Forget overly drawn out cutscenes, Ico's barely compilate into even ten minutes.

The control scheme, while a little sticky, is well made and serves the purpose of making you're really holding hands as you traverse a hauntingly well rendered castle. Combat can be a bit frustrating, but ultimately works as Ico is meant to a 12 year old fighting off demonic forces, not Duke Nukem's nephew.

It's these elements that help define Ico as something more than your average game. It's sparse storytelling and simple control set up actually mangages to make you care about it's two lonely protagonists; Ico and Yorda, the game captures the essense of classic fairy tale, leaving the player to ultimately decide what is truly going on.

Finally, the game's ending theme "You were There" presents a haunting melody that sums up the experience as a whole. From the ethereal singing, to the dream like tune, it captures the essence of a friendship forged in a castle on a misty island.

It may not be a flawless gem like Ocarina of Time, but what it lacks in extensive content it makes up with a bold gameplay design and story that flawlessly blend together into something truly magical.
This review tells me nothing of the game. I picked up on "It's amazing", "It's a masterpiece", "It's art", and "It's the best game ever", but you didn't tell me why the game is amazing, why this game qualifies as art when others don't, and how this game is better than other games. You said absolutely nothing about the gameplay except the lack of a HUD, and you said that as if that hadn't already been done before and as if it somehow made the game better than everything else.

I've already played this game, so I can fill in the blanks, but someone who hasn't and wants to find out more about this game isn't going to be informed of anything by reading this. This review could really use some fleshing out.
comment #4998 TheNoun 2nd Nov 10
You told me what the game doesn't have; what does it have?
comment #5585 TeraChimera 30th Dec 10
I don't understand what's the deal with people complaining about reviews. A review is a person's OPINION, and Orpheum Zero is totally entitled to gush about series he/she likes. So I think we commenters should let off and let OZ and everyone else review the way they want and give their honest opinion without being pressured to add to it. If you all want informative reviews, go to Gamespot, IGN, or some website with people paid for informative reviews. As for tvtropes, if a reviewer wants to say their opinion without necessarily informing about the game, then that is perfectly fine.
comment #11172 Zalsburry 1st Nov 11
Tvtropes review section is the place where tropers gather to review a person's review. And sometimes serve as a discussion forum.
comment #11178 eveil 1st Nov 11
In order to post comments, you need to Get Known
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