Nintendo's Zelda has always stood out as the pinnacle of fantasy adventure games, in which the primary objective was to rescue a captive princess held against her own will in a huge dungeon. Intro aside, let me deliver to you my first impressions of what may most likely be the Zelda-killer. It's been said before by other critics out there that Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver would do the task, then later it was thought to be Sony's very own Dark Cloud. I couldn't personally make an early comment since I had never played the games up until their respected release dates. Neither game pulled one over Zelda, but both were amazingly good.
Though the day had cometh, my friends I have been there, I have visited the majestic world of ICO. The world that is undoubtly filled with color, atmosphere and best of all, tons of personality. ICO is a game like no other, it moves gracefully, the visuals are some of the finest and most realistic on any console, and the characters almost seem motion-captured as their movements are executed flawlessly. ICO features some of the smoothest and nicest looking texture work I've ever seen. These areas are huge and feature tons of walls, with cracks showing and bricks apparent, cages hanging from the ceiling and much much more detail. ICO is a visual drool fest, screenshots don't do this game much justice.
ICO plays even better than it looks. It got qualities of what Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee was originally supposed to be. In ICO you control a character by the name of...Ico. He breaks free from a row of sacrifice tombs and plummets a story down destroying the tomb he was being held captive in. After waking up Ico begins searching around the castle for an exit, when he comes across a cage and a princess in it. Freeing the princess, Ico must then fight of shadows trying to seize the princess once again. The princess is a lot Munch, without the idiotic handicap, and Ico is a lot like Abe, once again without the ugly physical form. Pressing the R1 button will make Ico approach (or call, depending on distance) the princess and grab her hand so that she follows you. The princess is key because she has magical powers that can help her open magically sealed doors, and allowing further exploration of the castle. While Ico revolves around solving puzzles, it's also action based as their will be enemies and occasionally bosses to fight off. Upon completing a puzzle in return you get an awe-inspired finish, which some of these screenshots show off. I'll tell you right now, I would trade another 20 minutes of ICO for Zelda 64 any day. ICO needs some serious hype by Sony, this game got potential to sell millions! ICO can easily turn into the sleeper hit of the year. Mark my words, ICO will not disappoint, get that stash of pre-order cash ready, ICO's coming this September.