PS2 Previews: ICO Preview

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ICO Preview

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Scheduled release date:

September 26th, 2001

  Looks can be deceiving can't they? I mean, who can forget Shakespeare's "Macbeth?" Macbeth was a war-hero and a kind man, filled with evil ambition, which got the best of him, as he ends up killing his own cousin who was King. Where is this all going you ask? Bare with me, and you'll find out. You see, there was a time, the medieval times to be specific, when men believed in witches and hung them from nooses under suspicion. Why you ask? Well, looks had much to do with it, and so did rumors of local townsmen. Those claimed to be witches were hung; but here's the paradox, if they were witches why don't they just use their powers to escape? Now it almost seems like Sony has taken both sources, and blended them into one magnificent story of a boy named Ico. Ico was born with horns, and the townspeople believed it to be the work of the devil. Ico was then taken away from his village at a young age and was set to be sacrificed for the good of the town. He is placed in an oval shaped chamber, with his hands locked tight to a wooden wrist cuff. Ico's looks were deceiving, when indeed he is not evil and has nothing but the best of intentions, as gamers will learn in the game.

   As I write this, I have played ICO for a total of 5 hours and have been making steady progress. It's an action/adventure and a puzzle game all in one neat little package. The genres are instantaneously recognizable, the puzzle especially. While you don't find items and use keys in ICO, you use your mind and look around what you are presented with within your field by using the right analog stick. Your environment will of course be a huge castle only possessed by the souls of demons who cannot sleep easy. The castle is never ending; it is absolutely, positively, no ifs, ands or buts about it, the largest game atmosphere ever! When you step out outside of the castle and you are standing on the top of it, you must take a look at the gigantic palace, that is as well slowly crumbling. With the castle being as colossal as it is, just imagine this game's replay value and level of exploration! I've witnessed it, and it seems infinite. The puzzles that you will encounter in this castle are varied on challenge. Some can be no brainers, while others take quite some heavy thinking to do. As challenging as some puzzles can be, they are at the same time addictive beyond belief. What sets ICO apart from every other action/adventure title is that this game has no lives. So there is no need to worry about a health meter, because the only way you can be killed is by taking a long dive to the ground. Albeit, you are not restricted to jumping from heights, but judge carefully, some can kill you, others may not. That said, ICO, being the wondrous game that it is, features a lot of high scenery scenes. In other words, as Ico you'll be reaching some 'very' high ground, and the views are awe-inspired, the windmill scene being one of them.

   It's almost hard to put in syntax my true feelings on ICO. Sony has sincerely created one of the finest pieces of videogaming. ICO is an excellent game, with an excellent story, and an excellent atmosphere. Speaking of which, the atmosphere comes to life thanks to the amazing lighting effects that create the most gorgeous sun splash effect. What I'm referring to is the bright sun hitting various textures, such as walls, the ground, trees, and even tree leaves, and then create a realistically lit texture effect. So real, you can almost feel the heat wave rise from the ground. In addition to the perfectly cast lighting effects, are the perfect shadows. Each and every structure, including Ico and the princess, cast their own 'individual' (keyword) shadow. This is something that caught my attention, as it is incredibly noticeable. The game's texture detail is indescribable. Everything looks too realistic. Whether you are outside or inside, the textures all around you are wonderful. I should also mention that this game has the best-looking tree-leaves I've ever seen. Instead of being pixilated little objects, these leaves are made up of polygons, and they as well reflect the sun, in real-time! So if I zoom up on the leaves (R2) and I move the camera around, I will see the one or two bright spots on every leaf move...amazing! I don't want to give away anymore on ICO, but I do urge EVERY one of you to purchase it when it hits shelves on the 26th of September, you won't regret it. Stay tuned for the review for ICO on the 25th.

9/21/2001 SolidSnake

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