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ICO (PlayStation 2) artwork

ICO (PlayStation 2) review

"Waif-like freaks who don't speak your language never looked so good..."

Somewhere between a hazy dream and reality lies the stunning new PS2 game ICO. Sony has combined the best in puzzles, graphics, and gameplay to offer PS2 owners a truly unique experience. Set in a truly huge, multi-leveled castle, the player assumed the role of ICO, a young boy who is the source of his villageís belief that everything that can go wrong will be ICOís fault. Why? Well, heís got 2 huge horns growing out of his nogginí and they arenít getting any smaller. So on his 12th birthday, Icoís hauled off by some unsavory dudes and locked away in a castle of inexhaustible beauty and mystery to dwell among the lost souls of those with horns like his. There he meets Yorda, an ethereal young girl whoís been locked away in a cage by an evil queen. Itís you r job as Ico to lead Yorda throughout the perilous traps and obstacles of the castle to freedom. But the puzzles arenít the only thing keeping you from escaping; the evil queen has dispatched an army of shadow-wraiths whose job is to kidnap Yorda at any opportunity.

The gameís about as easy as it gets to pick up and play. The control scheme is responsive, fluid, and virtually free of any clunkiness. Ico has no weapons list, no score, no menus, no time limit; itís just you, a stick, a weird girl, and a heap of puzzles to solve while whackiní some evil upside the head. And you know what? Itís fun. Darn fun. Sonyís taken a very simple formula and made it work with their signature attention to graphics and detail.

And what graphics they are. Ico boasts some of the most gorgeous settings and landscapes to grace any console ever, with lighting and shadow effects that raise the bar for future games. Sound effects like birds, wind, rotating machinery, and running water put you right in the middle of the adventure, totally blurring the line between gamer and game.

Of course, Ico isnít perfect; there is very little music in the game, even in tense situations, and you donít do too much battle with nether-world demons, which may turn off those who love the old hack and slash. Players may also become frustrated when having to lead a rather fussy Yorda throughout the castleís traps. Sometimes the girl just wonít listen, and youíre forced to lead her over and over again towards the exits or up and down ladders. The gameís biggest drawback is its length. Like most of todayís games itís over a bit too soon, but it sucks you in, riveting you until the end, which is surprisingly poignant and unexpected.

For those of you who have been disappointed by the PS2ís library of games thus far, Ico is a shining beacon of hope for whatís to come on the system and from Sony. Itís a blast to play, and itís challenging, without leaving you stuck on puzzles so long that you want to chuck you r controller across the room. All in all Icoís a gem, and a must have for PS2 owners.

matsuko's avatar
Community review by matsuko (Date unavailable)

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zippdementia posted March 10, 2009:

Another 0 that's meant to be a 10. Where did all these come from?
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wolfqueen001 posted March 10, 2009:

There are (or were) two ICO reviews with no score. It's just a glitch in the system - people have explained it to you before. I honestly can't say it's worth pointing out this way all the time, especially when you leave no other comment on the review.

I suppose the only consolation for that is that most of these no-score reviews were written by people who aren't around anymore or who just subbed something and left without following up.
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EmP posted March 10, 2009:

It's not so much a glitch rather than review submited before HG gave scores out of 10.

I've fixed most of these, so I've no problem with the ones I've missed being pointed out so I can whack scores on them manually.
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wolfqueen001 posted March 10, 2009:

Fine. Point them out, then. It's just seems that whenever someone does so without further comment, it suggests they care about nothing else but the score, which is only slightly annoying.

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