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ICO

Developer: Japan Studio Publisher: SCE
24 September 2001
ICO - cover art
Glitchwave rating
4.00 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
721 Ratings / 7 Reviews
#145 All-time
#6 for 2001
Ico, a young boy adorned with horns upon his head, is locked up in an abandoned fortress by the superstitious people of his village. In there he encounters the princess Yorda, whose mother plans to use the young girl's body to extend her own longevity. The two attempt to escape the desolate fortress and fight off the shadowy creatures trying to keep the princess imprisoned within.
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Releases 6
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ICO
2001 Japan Studio SCE  
DVD
XNA 7 11719 71132 2 SCUS 97113
ICO
2001 Japan Studio SCE  
CD-ROM
JP 4 948872 110037 SCPS-11003
ICO PlayStation 2 the Best
2004 Japan Studio SCE  
CD-ROM
JP 4 948872 191517 SCPS 19151
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ICO
2011 Japan Studio Bluepoint  
Blu-ray
JP 4 948872 730709 BCJS 30070
ICO
2012 SCEJ SCE  
Download
ICO Limited Edition
DVD
AU NZ 7 11719 34092 8 SCES-50760-ANZ
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Title
In an industry that has always run with the idea of "bigger, better, and faster", Ico was the milestone of the PS2-generation that implied the true future of video games lies in minimalism and player connectivity.

You can almost feel the testosterone of a Gears fanboy spiking the Ico lovefest of recent years. The game, when played by the wrong person, can be outright offensive. "I've played Zelda, dammit! I know you can do more in a video game than this!" they might yell. The idea of Ico being a piece of art isn't reinforced by its overly sentimental fanbase, but by the way it feels completely alien to some players even though it remains grounded in gameplay not too distant from more popular titles.

Ico's presence as minimal art can be narrowed down into a list: no HUD, IDM score, no real dialogue, etc. It's a matter of class. Team Ico who-- you guessed it! --developed Ico modeled the game entirely around what the core experience is and what would detract from it. The idea that your character cannot die in combat would break a The Legend of Zelda [ゼルダの伝説] game, but since Ico's main concern varies from those games it works as a strength. At Ico's core is the player's connection to Yorda, the girl you have at your side for the better part of the game, dragging her along every step of the way. While the audio and art direction are sublime, it is the core experience delivered through the platforming and puzzles that makes it a timeless adventure.

Since the PlayStation-era, games have grown more and more obsessed with player connection through cinematic presentation. Instead of deep storytelling, Ico creates a tangible emotional connection in the player through subliminal elements. The way the controller vibrates when you grab hold of Yorda's hand, the loneliness of the game's world, and the haunting music all exhort an emotional reaction out of the player that most games would try to attempt forcefully via FMVs and lengthy cut-scenes. It's remarkable how well Ico works without these things, as only an hour into the game I would feel my heart rate escalate when I had to leave Yorda behind or when I had to make a jump I wasn't quite sure I could manage. I didn't know why I was at this castle, I didn't know who Yorda was, but I wanted to escape it with her by my side. Through crafting a believable world with elegant presentation, Ico turned the 8-bit joke of saving the princess into an actual concern.

Between Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Final Fantasy X [ファイナルファンタジーX], the PS2 era came into its own in 2001. Even with all Ico's heart and ambition, I can't say it's a superior game than those two. Yet, as a pure experience, Ico will forever be put in the hall of fame for the simplicity of its design (have I mention how the game is actually fun?) and its brilliant presentation. The "games as art" discussion has become null in recent years, between the chiptune scene and 8-bit decals in the walls of every nerd's home. Games have always been art. It wasn't until Ico that gamers got a real taste of games that stirred up emotion in the player through sheer interaction and existence in a different world.

Ico's ending won't make you cry and the games making you feel lonely dates back to Metroid [メトロイド], but 2001 brought about the first game to fill gamers with an intangible connection to an unrealistic scenario. And, it was all done through the player convincing his or herself through a personal connection to the world, not in-game cinemas and plot devices.
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SUPER_Lonely_Panda 2016-04-03T23:58:43Z
2016-04-03T23:58:43Z
4.5
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Title
Ico's lonesome protagonists rest their heads on each other's shoulders when you sit down on a bench to save. A cute little loop plays endlessly in the background. When you return to the game, you hear nothing but occasional birdsong. A patch of sunlit grass or a still pool of water wait in the depths of an abandoned castle by the sea. Ico's command of atmosphere is definitely impressive, and was a massive influence on the use of bloom in seventh-generation games and beyond. It combines the sweeping wistfulness of Romantic painting with the still calm of "cinematic platformers" like Another World. Ultimately, though, much like Gears of War is a game about the joys of shooting aliens in the face, Ico is a game about the pleasures of solving puzzles, skipping between stones, climbing, running, stick-fighting, and holding someone's hand. There are no movie-game aspirations or "playable cutscenes" here. The operating principle is the same, it just has a defter touch than most.
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screechdreams 2021-10-10T08:31:38Z
2021-10-10T08:31:38Z
4.5
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Se a maioria dos jogos quer fazer do jogador um ser poderoso, o objetivo de Ico é o contrário.

Cada parede escalada, alavanca puxada e sombra apunhalada tem o peso de uma tonelada. Talvez por isso a sensação de heroísmo dele é tão pulsante.

Jogá-lo não é exatamente prazeroso, mas é uma senhora experiência.
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gabrielctps 2021-08-04T03:54:34Z
2021-08-04T03:54:34Z
5.0
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Artfully hides its linearity and fundamental game-ness by stripping away ornament. The player isn’t told where to go or what to do, and the feeling of anxiety that shadows the illusion of free will remains although there’s only one thing to do, and one way to do it. The process of subtraction extends beyond the game’s mechanics and into its themes and visual language too: that is, the language barrier (who needs dialogue) adds to the feeling of alienation the player feels when experiencing said illusion, and this is set against the bare backdrop of the sublime: the foreboding cliffs and vast landscapes constantly reminding of the relative insignificance of one's struggle for existence. This forced reflection strengthens the game's drive — the feeling of dread when experiencing "the dizziness of freedom" (the push/pull: to jump or not, to turn the system off, etc) becomes insignificant when compared to the responsibility one feels for saving Yorda. Love triumphs, life too.
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nostalghia 2018-05-29T01:16:09Z
2018-05-29T01:16:09Z
5.0
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I'm going to spare whoever is reading this some sappy, pretentious review about this being a "gripping" game or something. Games don't need to be artsy and affecting to be good games. What really grabs you about this game though is how massive it is in relation to how puny you are, and how you are still fairly well equipped to traverse it. The game isn't crammed with enemies and it is super linear with no upgrade systems and only one real objective. But the puzzles are incredible and diverse, the gameplay is pretty tight if a bit jumpy, the way the story unravels is excellent and uncanny, and to this day it's still a visually breathtaking game. Somehow, Team Ico were able to strip a game down to its most basic elements while making its scale one of the most grandiose in gaming, and pull it all off. It doesn't get redundant, it's consistently fun, and the final boss is terrific. A truly unique and fun platformer that was vastly ahead of its time in 2001.
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TooBrokeToCare 2018-09-06T15:34:12Z
2018-09-06T15:34:12Z
5.0
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Ico is kind of a hard game to review because it feels more like a artistic statement then a game. Ico is an incredibly beautiful game, especially the HD remaster on PS3, and has an incredible World and atmosphere. But on the other hand, its a mostly repetitive game and can be frustrating at times. So after beating Shadow of Colossus, my friends all gathered around to play this in the dorm lobby we lived at the time, and then after beating it I decided to replay it and try to get the trophy for beating the game in under 5 hours. Its actually a pretty short game, and mostly has you holding a girls hand and guiding her to different places while occasionally fending off monsters. Ico hasn't aged super well to be honest, but it still is a visually stunning game and something you can put in a video game art museum.
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jweber14 2017-07-21T21:48:12Z
2017-07-21T21:48:12Z
3.5
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Catalog

bottle_rocket ICO 2022-10-04T03:59:54Z
2022-10-04T03:59:54Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
fellebanan_ygsr ICO 2022-10-02T20:32:50Z
2022-10-02T20:32:50Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Luhan ICO 2022-10-02T18:54:20Z
2022-10-02T18:54:20Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
DaleEarnhardtSr ICO 2022-10-01T18:04:52Z
PS3
2022-10-01T18:04:52Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Naplaff ICO 2022-09-28T01:39:36Z
2022-09-28T01:39:36Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
PashaAlex ICO 2022-09-26T21:35:47Z
2022-09-26T21:35:47Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Kmarksman ICO 2022-09-25T01:08:06Z
2022-09-25T01:08:06Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
zero_signal ICO 2022-09-24T11:10:12Z
2022-09-24T11:10:12Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
wishlist
Kotyoh ICO 2022-09-23T22:52:40Z
2022-09-23T22:52:40Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Fub98 ICO 2022-09-22T23:05:55Z
2022-09-22T23:05:55Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sam_burgerFan ICO 2022-09-22T14:11:43Z
2022-09-22T14:11:43Z
4.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
fumito ueda
Nebneb11 ICO 2022-09-21T11:07:07Z
2022-09-21T11:07:07Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Content rating
ESRB: T
Player modes
Single-player
Media
1x DVD

Comments

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  • Previous comments (15) Loading...
  • pensiero97 2021-10-10 15:18:36.551011+00
    the game is beautiful but the camera and controls are amongst the worst I've ever had to endure
    reply
    • wallrooseyes 2021-10-31 01:01:42.078783+00
      this exact combination of words applies to all of team ico's games
    • Bakumatsuroman 2021-12-04 04:31:36.901177+00
      Controls are fine.
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • Fowlawneeshafow 2022-03-01 23:46:46.426439+00
    “I am not exaggerating if I say that ICO changed my life" - Hidetaka Miyazaki
    reply
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  • DavidthePearce 2022-04-13 23:16:46.61429+00
    Between its influence on Fromsoft and ostensibly creating the cinematic 3D platformer genre, most major releases today owe some elements to ICO. There is no other game with such a pronounced influence.
    reply
    • DavidthePearce 2022-04-13 23:19:38.363015+00
      Really drove home how important this game has been as I play Jedi Fallen Order, which is a pastiche of Uncharted and Dark Souls, two series which themselves obviously owe a lot to ICO. Fallen Order is copying two of the biggest contemporary game trends and they both owe their existence to this game.
    • TimeVault 2022-09-08 17:28:35.777633+00
      an unfortunate player in the game-as-movie hell we live in today
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • Fritsa 2022-04-28 17:31:24.66241+00
    wonderful cover art to a wonderful game
    reply
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  • blokrenblossbroms 2022-05-30 23:08:52.225948+00
    A quiet game, a gorgeous game - a game with an awful ending.
    I do love Heal, though.
    reply
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  • sunshinerecorder 2022-07-25 19:49:10.517919+00
    It's really weird to see how the narrative changed from "a cute artsy game with phenomenal animation for its time inspired by Prince of Persia 1989 and Another World" to "the game that gave birth to soulsborne" (???) in like a year.
    reply
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  • Yobyoni 2022-07-26 11:10:25.321335+00
    Not having a save point anywhere near the final boss is one of the biggest dick moves in gaming history. Even more so when the boss kills you in one hit.
    reply
    • wallrooseyes 2022-09-18 00:05:23.317517+00
      fun story, i had some weird glitch where the boss didn't load properly and i was softlocked in the boss room so i had to lose like an hour bc of this
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • fellebanan_ygsr 2022-10-02 20:33:13.231172+00
    Good game, great art.
    reply
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
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