|*People are actual size
So back in 2001 a game simply called Ico was released. It had kinda crappy box art and didn't garner tons of attention at first. I was a devout Nintendo fanboy and it was released on the PS2. As such... I never heard of it. Later this same game company made a game called Shadow of the Colossus. This was a hit and established that games could be art. It has even been picked up to be made into a movie now. Only then did the name Ico become a household name in the gaming community.
Flashforward 11 years and now I own a PS3 and the Ico and Shadow of the Colossus HD collection. I had never played through either game and I was excited to see what all the fuss has been about for so long.
Well, on paper, this game sounds kinda boring. One big long escort mission. Small boy (Ico) is imprisoned in a castle cause he has horns and that's what they do to boys with horns. A tremor shakes the boy's cell and he escapes and is alone in a castle. Find the princess, get out of the castle. Occasionally be attacked by easily defeatable shadow monsters that try and re-kidnap said princess. Rinse, repeat.
|These guys are easier than they look. I beat them down with a wooden stick.
That is literally all there is to this game. Its a lonely game. Rarely is there any talking. You only meet one other person in your journey besides Yorda and the black shadows. Rarely is anything explained. The princess that tags along (Yorda) doesn't speak your language so when she talks, you get some random language characters. Its basically one big long dungeon puzzle. Push a block, climb a rope, swing on a rope, climb a ledge, etc. etc.
Now I hate escort missions in games (and this game is just a huge escort mission), but somehow here it is thoroughly entertaining. And here is why:
|You will climb on every last inch of this castle.
|Reference this picture and the size of the wall Ico is standing on with the one above and you get an idea for the size of the castle.
|Take a break guys.
The place this game truly shines though is the weird bond between Yorda and Ico. They never really talk other than Ico calling out to Yorda to follow him. But they trust each other. Maybe its the hand holding, the the constant life saving, or just the fact that they are trying to escape together. You feel the bond somehow and the game capitalizes on it as its main story function.
|This pretty much sums up the whole game to me.
Anyway. I'd recommend everyone everywhere to play through this game to get a sense for what building in games should look like and feel like. Even after 11 years this game (or at least the HD version) is still amazing and breathtaking in its scale.
8/10 for turdy control