The basic of the game are simple, Platform your way around the castle, using things in the environments to solve puzzles. Traversing the walls of the castle Is interestingly enough, very reminiscent of Nathan drakes wall jumping adventures. Just has agile and swift, Ico can leap, jump, and climb walls with the best adventures.
Yorda is not at athletically inclined as her fellow protagonist, she more deliberately slow, and normally must be grabbed by the hand by Ico to pull her through the stages, and help her get over, wide jumps, or over ledges.
Each section is separated by a pair of pillars that keep you from progressing to the next section of the castle unless you get Yorda to them, then in a shock of electric, the path is opened.
Other than the environments, shadow creatures are the other obstacles that pose a threat to Ico and Yorda, They spawn from black portals, and go after Yorda, dragging her as far away from ico as possible, then pull her down into there shadows. If she is completely swallowed, it’s game over, but if you reach her in time, you can pull her out of the shadow, freeing her, and allowing you more time to defeat the creatures.
The battle system in Ico is nothing special, but it gets the job done, especially since it is far from being the main focus of the game, in fact, Ico cannot even die from attacks from the monster, they just knock him to the ground, in order to get the shadow creatures time to capture Yorda.
While everything sounds very to the numbers with ico, it is far from. The pacing of the game is fantastic, the puzzle will make you use your brain, but you never really feel stuck, and when you fail to solve a puzzle, it’s normally just because you didn’t pay enough attention to your surroundings.
The game truly shines in it’s atmosphere, the instant relationship formed between Yorda and Ico seems so genuine, you don’t mind that the game is essentially one big escort mission. In the little dialogue that does appear in the game, Ico language is subtitle, but yorda’s is not, in a way just emphasizing the border between the two, making the fact that she needs you to escape this castle, an that she trusts Ico enough to make some of those daring leaps she wouldn’t be able to make on her own much more meaningful.
The hd upgrade to the graphics are very nicely done, and while most people don’t put much stock into graphics of a game, they definitely helped me get emerged into the Ico experience. I’m glad that this Hd remake was my first crack at the game, because it allowed me to appreciate the vastness of the castle more than what I would have been able to with last generation graphics.
As of the review Team Ico has became one of my favorite developers, and hopefully that filling will stick with me as I start my journey into shadow of colossus. Ico is a great game, and the Hd remake should be experienced by everyone, 1st time Ico players, or people visiting it for another play through.