"You will be hard pressed to find a game with more heart" "Astounding"

User Rating: 8.5 | ICO PS2
Let me start off by saying that you will be hard pressed to find a game with more heart then Ico. You will fall in love with these characters, and strangely, they rarely speak. Hats off to the animators of Ico- the body language of these character tells more than language could.

Ico, the title character of the game, wakes up in a broken pod in a foreign castle. You have one goal- escape. It's a simple game; it has few mechanics, and it does them all very well.

The demons that inhabit the castle are not difficult to kill. They mainly serve to make the castle more harsh than deserted. The combat is repetitive; if enemies don't die when you hit them with the stick, hit them more. The game really shines in its environmental puzzles and acrobatics.

Ico himself is fit, but it never feels as though he scales walls or leaps incredibly far with no effort. His fantastic animations make him appear to struggle- he is a very human character.

The girl you begin to escort has all the adorable awkwardness you would expect from a girl her age. The way Ico pulls her along with both care and urgency will really pull your heartstrings.

The castle is a complex and beautiful work of architecture. Though the entirety of the game takes place in this one area the environments and puzzles are not repetitive. You'll visit gardens, windmills, bridges, and tunnels, and you will always be challenged by the puzzles.

The game is short. I clocked in at just under seven hours. Though its brevity allows you to come back and experience it again on a whim, the game definitely leaves you wanting more. The development team was obviously brilliant; I think they could have spent a little more time expanding the scope of the game and pulled it off.

The Good- fantastic atmosphere and art direction, realistic body language and animation, challenging, intuitive puzzles, varied environments, fun acrobatics, lovable characters

The Bad- the game is short, repetitive combat

Final Call- Even if you don't enjoy puzzles the game is worth playing just to see the entire castle- it really is that good looking. Everyone should play this game. It doesn't require a huge time commitment and there aren't many games with more originality or heart.

Astounding 4.25/5