Ico: Vinyl Verdict

The Good: I don't think I appreciated this back in 2001, but Ico remains a superb study in opposites and the effects that can be achieved by contrasting them: panoramic camera angles make it clear from the outset that our hero is a tiny cog in a gigantic machine; this weak and lonely human protagonist is faced with a legion of monstrous enemies; he ventures back and forth between sprawling, sun-soaked courtyards and claustrophobic dungeons. With simple controls, simple rules, and a simple goal, Team Ico's first and eponymous effort maintains both its elegance and its effectiveness more than ten years after its release.

The Bad: As I noted earlier, Ico's beauty and originality are no worse for a decade's wear. Nevertheless, the title's few blemishes continue to hold it back from perfection. When Ico gets knocked down, it takes too long for him to pick himself up again; it's excruciating as a player to be forced to complete lengthy puzzles all over again just because some shadow demon bowled Ico over at the worst possible moment. Minor pathing issues and animation glitches persist. And sadly, the entire experience ends just a bit too soon; even without rushing through the game, it isn't difficult to reach the end credits in under seven hours.

The Stand-out Moment: Making the connection between holding R1 and holding Yorda's hand.

The Verdict: 9.5 (out of 10)

6 Comments
7 Comments
Posted by RAmpersaND

The Good: I don't think I appreciated this back in 2001, but Ico remains a superb study in opposites and the effects that can be achieved by contrasting them: panoramic camera angles make it clear from the outset that our hero is a tiny cog in a gigantic machine; this weak and lonely human protagonist is faced with a legion of monstrous enemies; he ventures back and forth between sprawling, sun-soaked courtyards and claustrophobic dungeons. With simple controls, simple rules, and a simple goal, Team Ico's first and eponymous effort maintains both its elegance and its effectiveness more than ten years after its release.

The Bad: As I noted earlier, Ico's beauty and originality are no worse for a decade's wear. Nevertheless, the title's few blemishes continue to hold it back from perfection. When Ico gets knocked down, it takes too long for him to pick himself up again; it's excruciating as a player to be forced to complete lengthy puzzles all over again just because some shadow demon bowled Ico over at the worst possible moment. Minor pathing issues and animation glitches persist. And sadly, the entire experience ends just a bit too soon; even without rushing through the game, it isn't difficult to reach the end credits in under seven hours.

The Stand-out Moment: Making the connection between holding R1 and holding Yorda's hand.

The Verdict: 9.5 (out of 10)

Posted by Giacomito

hhm, I should really get around to playing this

Posted by EarlessShrimp

one of those games I've heard about, but not played. I ordered a copy of the Shadows of the Colossus/Ico games for our library, but it still sits on our "to be cataloged" shelf. Might have to borrow it at some point...

Edited by benspyda

I find ICO a lot harder to get into than Shadow of the Colossus purely on a gameplay front. I appreciate its artistic qualities, but the gameplay is too simple and slow to keep me playing unfortunately. I think I'm about half way through it in the HD pack. I don't hate it but I played through Shadow of the Colossus straight away however this is more of a struggle.

Posted by RAmpersaND

@EarlessShrimp: Thanks for making me realize that my own library needs a copy!

@benspyda: Shadow of the Colossus certainly is the more exciting of the two!

Posted by EarlessShrimp

@RAmpersaND: does that mean.... you're a librarian? or just a patron?

Posted by RAmpersaND

@EarlessShrimp: I'm currently a cataloger. And I'm the one who picked out all of the titles for the video game collection that my library started just last year. Yet somehow, the Ico / Shadow collection escaped my notice!