ICO (USA) ISO
Sony Playstation 2 / PS2 ISOsGenre: Action-Adventure
Rating: ESRB: T, OFLC: G8+, CERO: B
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Game Description & Reviews:
Ico is an action-adventure game developed by a small team at Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, led by Fumito Ueda (his directorial debut), the team would later be nicknamed Team Ico. Originally slated for release on the PS1, the game was moved into PS2 to better flesh out Ueda's vision. It was released in 2001. Ico received high praises from players and critics a like for its minimalistic design and artistic aesthetics, and is considered to be one of the most influential games of its decade. Ico is a young boy who was born with horns on his head - a horned child is considered a horrible omen in his village, each child who is born with horns is taken into a secluded castle in which they are chained and are left for dead. After being locked away, Ico manages to escape from his cell and wander the castle, he soon meets a young girl who was imprisoned within the castle walls. Ico and Yorda speak different languages and can't properly communicate. Still, the pair decide to go together and escape from the castle. Controlling Ico - the player has to protect Yorda from shadowy figures who are ordered to capture her. and lead her into each goal to proceed through the castle. Yorda's magic is needed to move the statues that are blocking the paths to most rooms. It's up to player to solve the puzzles and make Yorda a path into each goal. ---The common opinion among people that Ico is a completely original game that was ahead of its time and with hardly any influences is a very exaggerated one. The game mimics much of the design philosophies of the original Prince of Persia and Another World/Out of This World (which Ueda named as one of his favorite games and a major influence), while the puzzles bring up many of the mechanics from the Legend of Zelda series (cracked walls that need to be bombed, torches that need to be lit, pushable blocks, floor switches, etc.). And from a plot perspective, there is a resemblance to the lovely animated French movie The King and the Mockingbird. The thing is, Ico does everything so beautifully that it hardly matters. With so much attention paid to every piece of animation and every bit of color, sound design that is hauntingly gorgeous with a sparse soundtrack that is only played when it can enhance the atmosphere instead of breaking it, puzzles that are always clever and hardly ever repeat themselves, and a castle that is so well constructed that it feels completely believable; like it was build as an actual place and not as an obstacle course. The only thing I feel could have been better is the pacing of the action. The game makes you clear nearly each room from enemies before letting you solve the puzzles and progress. The game's simple battle system is good enough, but after a dozen of fights or so and without any new battle gimmicks, most of the fights seem like slight fillers in a very small game that would've been a little better if some of the enemy encounters were cut. But that also hardly matters. Ico is beautiful from start to finish in every way, it was major milestone for Sony in terms of both artistic design and game design (it definitely made me pay more attention to them), and easily one of the PS2's finest.
If you are thinking about downloading this, I'd suggest going for the European version which includes many extras, such as a 2 player mode, improved textures, changed layouts, new game+ secrets, and more. The US release was rushed, so Team Ico didn't have a lot of time to finalize everything that they did in the European version. Please do yourself a favor and play this beautiful game.
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