ICO (re-release) Reader Review
Let me get straight to the point, I wasn't at all keen with this game at first. I had been "deceived" by all of the hype, the whopping scores and the severe reccomendations by most websites and magazines. So I thought to mysef "ok ill go buy it for the sub price of £17.99"
When I got round to playing it for the first 2 hours or so, I felt that the puzzles were simple to figure out and that the A.I was inexcuseable. Enemies were getting stuck in walls (2 occasions) and Yorda was a pain in the arse to get around (she would do some things but not others without continual prompt) Sure, the graphics were different and still held thier own as Eurogamer had said but I felt as though the game wasn't going to be my cup of tea. Why is there a score of 9 at the bottom then?
Well personally for me, something just "clicked". I think it was around the point that you reach the gates and they close on you or it was when Ico and Yorda reach the area where the windmill is, innocently twirling around with the beautiful pond beneath it. It was there that i realised what the game's creators were trying to do.... and they suceeded. They got me to just sit at the screen and go "wow", simple as. Ico and Yorda are perhaps the most mistreated people ever,serving to highlight modern themes such as discrimination based on race (in this case a boy with horns) and perhaps gender on a grander scale when looking at Yorda.
The interaction between the characters improves, they begin to get closer and closer despite the fact that they can't understand one another. They're both tiny people in a huge structure, in a harsh situation which they both want to escape. Also, to be "outside" as you see the sky and the grass yet still "inside" the confines of the castle, was a factor that pushed me onward. You can even see Ico looking up in amazement at the sky and looking above the castle walls when climbing a huge ladder longing to be there. Thier innocence around one another and gradual acts of teamwork drove me on to get them out.
As you move through the game, the puzzles dont particularly get harder but they're are a few head scratchers and the puzzles are varied enough to never become tiresome. I wish I could say the same about the enemies as they all look the same, all black, some of them fly, some of them walk. The fighting mechanics consist of 3 taps of the square button in whatever direction with the analogue stick, usisng a stick, then later a sword (which is great, you'll know why if you play it). These could be levelled critisisms at a fair game. However I would say they add to the games charm. To keep the enemies and fighting mechanics simple blends with the simplicity of your overall aim to escape the castle. Add this with the logical puzzles and you've got a winner on your hands.
I havent even mentioned the music, there really isn't any which is a good thing. Could you really imagine Ico and Yorda escaping the castle to the sound of foo fighters or guns and roses now? No didn't think so.
For once, it was nice to play a game that didn't dwell into stats (xmen legends) or big guns (Black) or loud rock music (POP Warrior Within) or whatever. I'll Probably play through the game again now, see what other great moments i can pick up on. Thanks for reading.
9 / 10