This review was originally written back in 2001 when Casually Hardcore was a much more simple website. This review has not been edited in any way and hopefully conveys the exact feeling the game brought when it was first released. At the end of the review you’ll find a quick 2011 style review to see how its held up over the years.
It’s the game everyone hears about from their more gaming led friend, if you follow. Say that you are what is known as a ‘Casual Gamer’. You have a Playstation 2 and have the likes of say FIFA, SSX, GTA 3 and maybe MGS2. You can’t see why anyone over the age of 10 would by a Gamecube and why anyone with any taste would pay out for an x-box. That’s fine. You have a social life. But you have this friend. He has a PS2 (standing in the vertical position) with an X-Box sitting next to it, and on top of the TV is a Gamecube.
He hasn’t got much of a room. But he laughs at you when you say you are on Island 2 in GTA3. When he comes round to play SSX he laughs that you have only unlocked a few tracks, and he is in tears of laughter when you bring out FIFA. He insists you play Pro Evolution Soccer and then thrashes you at it. He is a Dick. To many, I am this dick. But there is one advantage of being such a sad looser. A gem. Usually you get them from Nintendo or Konami. But the Gem this time is from Sony, and it is one of the brightest gems of all.
You are a kid. You find a girl. You have to get her from point A to point B. How can so much love and feeling go into such a simple idea? Well it does. It’s hard to talk about ICO. How it makes you think. How it makes you talk to the screen. How it makes you want to be there. How 11 hours of play can turn into 20 because you have looked at the scenes for ages. So I’ll just talking reviewer talk.
Gameplay wise it is easy to control. The camera changes can have effect on the game but the designers haven’t made it too drastic. You can go close to the edge and not fall off. This is good, trust me. Graphics? I don’t think I need to comment… look at the screens on the right. It is beautiful. Sound, you will not find another game like it.
So, back to your ‘friend’. He’s played this game. He keeps banging on about how good it is. He says dude a lot and has seen the film ‘Baseketball’. Listen to him just this once. When he says ‘ICO’ listen up. He knows what he is talking about. But I must warn you, after playing this game you’ll lose your friends and watch a lot more South Park.
You WILL turn into your mate.
One of the most original, and eye hacking games in a while.
If you don’t buy this you are missing out on a lot.
So how does this stack up now? If you are playing the PS2 version its pretty much the same. The graphics still have that wonderful look to them and gameplay wise its still the same. The controls don’t feel as tight as they could be and things like the camera pointing out what to do next whilst subtle originally feel a bit dated. If you’re playing the PS3 HD remake then apart from an increased graphics resolution you are getting the same game. This is one of those games that is timeless and whilst it does have a few niggles its a game everyone should play through at least once.