Early Impressions of Ico

One of the last EGM issues I ever bought was the issue when Ico was declared game of the month. They wrote about it as if it was a game that came out of nowhere and won them over in a big way. Based on what I read at the time, I thought the game wouldn’t be interested in. Even if I were interested at the time, I was a devout Nintendo fanboy, so going out of my way to play Ico on the PlayStation 2 just wasn’t an option.

Years have passed, console allegiances have dissolved and interest has piqued, which is why I find myself writing about my time playing Ico from the Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection. 10+ years later, is Ico still a game worth playing?

The designers behind Ico make a very conscious decision to tell you as little as possible going into the game and as you’re playing it. While the opening of the game is fairly straightforward, you’re pretty much on your own from there. You don’t even get a HUD or any sort of tutorial. It’s all up to you to figure it out. In a world where many games will hold your hand every step of the way, it’s striking to play one that gives you nothing.

With that said, I started out the game as a boy who was lucky enough to break out of his containment unit. With no further context provided by the game, I ran around, looking for an escape. Along the way, I saved a mysterious girl from demon-like creatures who doesn’t speak a human language and for whatever reason, isn’t very mobile, and we’re now escaping together hand-in-hand.

In order to navigate through this elaborate prison, you have to do a lot of puzzle-solving while making sure that the girl doesn’t get taken away by the demons. The puzzles started out simple enough, but they’re starting to get to a point beyond my puzzle comfort zone. I’m hoping that I’m not playing this game while following a guide the entire time, but we’ll see. The fighting is clearly a weak point of the experience. There isn’t much you can do other than mash the attack button and it’s not very fun.

So far I think Ico is neat. I’m concerned that the puzzles may get too complicated for me, but that’s usually a fault of my own because I’m not that bright. I’ll definitely put more time into it thought, as I’m enjoying what I’ve played so far. Look out for a full review at some point on In Third Person!

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