Every so often, pop culture produces memorable moments that are best described as enchanting. From “The Never Ending Story” in film to Radiohead”s O.K. Computer in music, these well-crafted products have the ability to make one forget where they are, what they were doing and even what world they are in. Similar in this fashion, Sony”s “Ico” for Playstation 2 has these same elements, making it a memorable experience.
As the game starts, you meet Ico, a boy with horns in his head. As a result of his “horniness,” Ico is outcasted to a tomb in a giant castle. After freeing himself from the tomb, Ico discovers a girl trapped in a giant cage named Jorda. Being a “horny” and courageous little guy, Ico rescues the girl from the cage only to have shadowy figures try to steal her and take her to hell (i.e. just like those little bastards that take people to hell in the film, “Ghost.”) It is at this point that the adventures of “Ico” truly begin.
With little background of what is going on, gamers must now figure out what to do on their own. In a short time it is realized that your goal is to escape from the castle with Jorda. This makes for an interesting gaming experience as Ico must keep his eye on Jorda at all times, as different forms of the shadowy figures will constantly try to take her away. This is not that daunting of a task, as the shadowy figures do not put up much of a fight. The real challenge is getting Jorda from point A to point B. This is because Jorda is a wussy little girl that cannot physically get through all of the perils that Ico can handle. As a result, Ico often has to literally take Jorda by the hand and get her through danger. This often is more difficult than one would assume, because various puzzles need to be solved.
The puzzles that you must figure out in “Ico” are what really makes the game shine. Similar in nature to games from the “Legend of Zelda” series on Nintendo and the “King”s Quest” series on PC, these puzzles can have you stuck in an area for hours.
The amazing part is, most of the puzzles are relatively simple. Most of the time, gamers simply need to take a step back and examine every aspect of the area that they are stuck in. In a fashion similar to how Indiana Jones discovered how to cross over the canyon at the end of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” gamers will figure out puzzles in the right mind.
Also adding to the experience of “Ico” is the amazing graphics and animation, which make “Ico” look like a 3-D version of the classic “80s game, “Prince of Persia.”
Set in a vast castle, the scenery of the game will have onlookers thinking they are watching the sequel to Labyrinth rather than watching a videogame.
The animation of the characters adds to this realism, as characters Ico and Jorda have some of the most fluid and realistic movements ever seen in a videogame.
While “Ico” offers unique gameplay and great graphics, the game is extremely short. The average gamer should complete “Ico” in less than ten hours and probably will have no desire to beat the game again.
Nevertheless, for those few hours, gamers are immersed into a enchanting world that is without a doubt be one of the most memorable videogame experiences ever.