A game that transcends the mere boundaries of both a game and a movie!
It is one of those rare gems that humanity gets randomly blessed with once in a while to experience that there is true beauty we just gotta reach for it!
Ico is a very special game when it comes to the importance of video games, it is games like ICO and Okami and Shadow of the Colossus that prove that the medium of video games, if handled well could become the top most form of expression of art and emotions!
Ico is just a demonstration of that perfect craftsmanship!
Ico tells the story of a boy born with horns in his head, afraid that this might bring ill omen, the warriors of his village take him away and lock him in a supposedly huge castle, maybe perhaps to come back later and settle the young child somewhere more safe and…no? oh okay then…
So anyways, Ico then soon finds that he is not alone, along with him but in the higher levels of the castle is trapped a young girl, called Yorda, she is the daughter of that castle’s queen.
The queen is a witch and wants to use her daughter’s body to extend her own life, when they learn of this, Ico and Yorda try to escape the castle, all the while deflecting and escaping the shadowy creatures sent after them to drag back Yorda.
The game is a very soft, light, piece of some very peaceful fantasy dream that you get once in a lifetime and that you always remember, no matter what!
The gameplay of Ico is simple and immersive, Ico is a fully 3D animated platform puzzle game with third person perspective, the cameras in the game are always fixed but do follow Ico at certain points to have a clear view for the player or dramatic effects!
The main objective of the game is to escape the castle boundaries and to do that Ico and Yorda have to go through all kinds of platforming puzzles to create ways to make their escape.
The catch is that only Ico can solve those puzzles as they involve running or jumping or pushing or climbing or basically any work with ‘ing’, Yorda is very timid and afraid due to her being all enchanted and imprisoned for maybe years, months at least we guess.
So you got to make way for her as well, by lowering a scaffolding or pulling her up by an elevating mechanism or something like that.
Apart from the puzzles that will make you really scratch your head for a long time before you even come close to the right answer, there are these shadowy creatures sent after Yorda as well that make it all the more difficult for Ico to make their escape!
If Yorda is left alone for too long or in certain places of the castle the shadow creatures try to snatch her away into a black vortex like…umm, vortex!
You can of course defeat these creatures using sticks or swords or fire and pull Yorda back from them.
But eventually whoever will play this game shall realize that it is not about completing the game or beating the boss only, with Ico and such titles it is always about that divine peaceful fantasy dream like beauty that makes you want to just drop everything and stare at the game like an internet commenter stares at his meaninglessness while the gaps between commenting ‘lol’.
The graphics, the arts, the concept, the world, the music, the characters, the story in Ico, they are just so magically mesmerizing!
Developed by Team Ico and published by Sony Computer Entertainment and created by Fumito Ueda for PlayStation 2, it was released in September 2001.
Ico is a piece of beauty, its an art and thus like with every piece of true beauty it is cursed to be overlooked, like it did when it got released commercially, however if you could give it a chance one calm and peaceful night, you will have the most magically beautiful experience of a lifetime!