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Old 04-19-2013, 04:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ico-ps2, ps3


Ico is a third person puzzle/action game made by Team Ico. The same people who would later make Shadow of the Colossus. While being the first game made, it takes place after the events of Shadow of the Colossus

Synopsis:
As the game begins we see the protagonist, Ico. As a young boy born with horns on his had, you are considered a bad omen by your village and therefore must be sacrificed. As a result a group of warriors take you to a castle on an island and imprison you in one of many tombs.

Luckily for you a slight earthquake occurs, damaging the floor beneath your tomb allowing Ico to tip the tomb over and escape. Shortly after escaping the tomb and while looking for a way out, you come across a young girl, Yorda, who is imprisoned in a cage. Ico lets her out of the cage and you both look to find a way out of the castle. This is where the adventure begins...

Gameplay
The bulk of the game revolves around Ico and Yorda trying to find a way out of the castle. To complicate matters somewhat, Ico and Yorda do not speak the same language and thus do not understand each other. As a result Ico can hold Yorda's hand and lead her around the castle, as well as help her up some obstacles or find a way to allow her to pass areas Ico can but Yorda cannot. For example, Ico can climb chains and ledges while Yorda cannot. So you may need to climb up a chain to reach a ledge with a block you can push down to a lower level so Yorda can climb up on the block and then up to the ledge.

Periodically shadow creatures will appear and try to take Yorda. You must fight them off or run away from them. If they capture Yorda and take her into the shadow world the game is over and you must start from the last checkpoint. Fighting is not the main focus of the game, puzzle solving is so fights are few and sometimes not even necessary since you can run away from them.

So you may be thinking, why even bother leading Yorda around if you have to help her do everything? Well the answer is there are special doors only Yorda can unlock. Also if you wander too far away from her and for too long she will be abducted by the shadow creatures and it's game over.

Graphics:
It varies depending on what version you play. The PS2 graphics were great for their time. The PS3 HD remastering looks good but it's obviously not on par with games made for the PS3.

The one thing I really like is the camera. It moves very cinematically and almost gives the impression you are watching a movie at times. The lighting system also works very well.

Sound:
Not much to say here. There is no music throughout the game. You only get ambient sounds of the environment and the voices/sounds the characters make. It sounds strange but it works really well and only enhances the experience.

Difficulty:
The game overall is not very difficult if you look everywhere in an area to make sure you are trying to make the correct jump. Sometimes an object looks to be in jumping range but isn't. In this case you are missing something else you can climb/jump on.

The game is also fairly short. I beat it in 6-7 hours in a blind run through, though I do not have a problem with the length

Pros:
-Very engaging
-Great atmosphere and pacing
-Fighting is optional at times, which keeps the game moving

Cons:
-At times Yorda's AI kind of sucks and gets confused, though not often
-There is some minor backtracking here and there but usually never more than a room or two(you may go back into an area you have been but you likely opened a new path)
-Plot is highly minimal and may leave you asking questions, but that is Team Ico's style(they did the same in SOTC)

Conclusion:
Do yourself a favor and play it. The PS2 version had a limited run and didn't sell well so copies that are out there are expensive.

The PS3 version can be downloaded by itself off the store for $20, but you can get Ico and Shadow of the Colossus on one blu ray for $20 so you're better off buying the collection
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