Friday, May 20, 2005

ICO

ICO came in the mail the other day, and I must say that it's quite fabulous. It's an adventure game, but most of the emphasis is on puzzle solving and not combat. Ico is a boy who was born with horns, and in his village, that's a bad omen, and when the horn-kids come of age, they're sent to a temple and left to join the spirits. Ico has a vision of a girl, Yorda, who is trapped in the temple as well, and she is halfway between the real-world and the spirit-world. Ico and Yorda don't speak the same language, so they can't understand each other when they try to talk. The premise of the game is to get Ico and Yorda out of the temple, while guarding Yorda from the spirits who are trying to take her into their world. The thing is, Yorda isn't as strong or as nimble as Ico, so you have to go through the environments and find a path for Ico to get through, then make another path so Yorda can follow. Yorda basically only moves when you're holding her hand and practically dragging her along in a rough and tumble, puppy love sort of way.

This game pulls on the heart strings like you wouldn't imagine. Well, at least it does for me. Just knowing that Yorda is basically helpless and can't fend for herself makes me want to help her out the best I can. Yes, I know that's the point of the game, but still- it's hard not to feel protective of her. When you have to make her jump across a gap and catch her hand so she doesn't fall, the whole time I'm thinking "please don't slip please don't slip," and I feel very relieved when she makes it up onto the ledge safe and sound.

This game just has an amazing atmosphere and an amazing vibe, and it's a nice change from the straight up "shoot everything you see" games I'm used to playing. I'm sure it'll hold a special place in my heart for a long time.

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