Universal acclaim - based on 59 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 59 out of 59
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 59
  3. Negative: 0 out of 59
Buy On
  1. Easily the most addictive game I have played this year on either console or computer and would be a welcome addition to any adventure gamer's collection.
  2. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    It's hard to express how stunning this game looks and sounds. [Nov 2001, p.158]
  3. 100
    A game that just does everything right. Story, pacing, graphics, gameplay—all of these combine artfully to make a gaming experience that supercedes any other game I’ve come across this year.
  4. Although short (about 10 hours of play, not including mistakes) it seemed just right and there’s probably nothing more that could have been added that would make it any better.
  5. 100
    In an industry justly accused of leaning towards style over content, ICO is a beacon of light and a bastion of superb game design.
  6. The graphics are quite incredible and makes great use of lighting, using bright, white-washed colors outdoors and dark, dingy ones inside.
  7. 100
    Freaking Phenomenal...the closest thing to perfection yet.
  8. 100
    One of the biggest things ICO has going for it is the incredible environmental graphics. The power of the Playstation 2 creates a world that you can almost feel and smell. [Grade = A+]
  9. Ico is one of those rare titles that you don't so much play as experience. Many adventure games boast this same interactivity and immersiveness, but with its careful blending of genres, delicate balancing act between a story of growing love and mounting horror, and a brilliant system that also incorporates tense moments of action, Ico really lives up to its claims.
  10. When taken as a whole, Ico provides one of the most compelling and emotionally resonant experiences to be had on the PS2.
  11. 100
    A subtle intoxicating journey, and one of the best games around.
  12. 100
    The moment Ico first takes Yorda's hand in his is as organic and human as anything seen in interactive entertainment. Sony has created a classic that is both a stunning technical achievement and a perfect example of a videogame as art.
  13. One of the finest games ever crafted, Ico is a unique and memorable experience, and hauntingly beautiful.
  14. Stands out among the pack as one of the most awe-inspired games to hit a console since the release of "Final Fantasy VII." The unbelievably gorgeous visuals, that feature a level of detail never quite seen in a game before, are beyond words. Describing something as beautiful as ICO is hard to do. ICO is hands-down the best adventure/puzzle game of our time.
  15. The greatest part of the game is the final fight. The way you fight the boss is brilliant and very original.
  16. It's an instant classic that will become a benchmark for originality, fun and old fashioned substance over style.
  17. ICO is destined to become one of the most talked about PS2 games of all time. While it may be short in length and sparse in complex gameplay, it is a masterpiece of gaming engineering that proves once and for all that style and quality will always prevail over the hordes of mediocre titles that trickle in to fill out the PS2 library.
  18. It isn’t just a brilliant game, it’s an experience not to be missed.
  19. 95
    One of the absolute greatest games you will ever play. With gorgeous graphics, sounds, and environments it's easily one of the most aesthetically pleasing as well. The level and puzzle design is absolutely brilliant as well.
  20. There's only so much we can say to convey the atmosphere that ICO exudes, and to try and communicate the feelings that the game brings about when played but, the truth is, the reality of playing (now there’s a contradiction of sorts, but we’ll stick with it) is largely indescribable.
  21. 94
    The feeling of simply being in the world that Ico creates is one of the most fascinating things I've ever seen in a videogame...The only unfortunate thing about Ico is that it's over just a bit quickly.
  22. It was a completely absorbing game that I just did not wish to stop playing. Even when I took the occasional break, my thoughts seemed to always drift back to this fantasy world.
  23. I swear your will I.Q. increase the longer you play it, as you are forced to really experiment and think things through just to get to the next stage. An awesome game with an awesome plot.
  24. Pelit (Finland)
    An excellent action-adventure. The familiar theme of helping the girl through difficult places is still delightfully fresh. A true PS2 classic, no doubt about it. [Feb 2006]
  25. 92
    ICO has met and transcended most of my initial expectations: espousing staggering beauty with elegant control in a fantastical world of very human characters. I can only describe the game as a breathtaking voyage, filled with the wonder and majesty of a most regal dream.
  26. The overall experience and intelligence of this game far outweighs the shortness. Every serious gamer owes it to themselves to at least play this game once.
  27. The grand environments create a fantastic stage for the adventure and the detail found in the textures, lighting and environmental effects are nothing short of superb.
  28. netjak
    Ico's simplicity is what makes it shine.
  29. Cheat Code Central
    Although it borrows from other gaming experiences in certain places, you haven't ever played a game like Ico. Highly recommended!
  30. The atmosphere of the castle is added to both by the superb sound and pacing of the game. The mellow speed of the game means that while there is the odd moment of button-hammering terror, most often you have time to sit back and rubberneck at the environments around you.
  31. The game is practically faultless and comes recommended to all, but it won’t last forever and is over too soon. Then again, the same could be said for sunset, but people don’t stop watching that because the onset of night is inevitable and quick.
  32. The visuals are stunning but not for full-blown 3D acceleration or the resolution, rather the epic and believable world that has been created for you to discover. It won’t take you long to complete ICO if you are semi-intelligent but you won’t feel cheated because it is very much a case of quality over quantity.
  33. For every 500 games that are boring, uninspired, graphically-enhanced rehashes, just one title like ICO is enough to reinvigorate my love of games and keep me going another day.
  34. A great game...And with beautiful graphical content and stunning sound effects, ICO is one heck of a production.
  35. In the end, I found this game compelling and highly entertaining, even though the puzzles are rather average and lack variety.
  36. Ico isn’t a new type of game but rather one taken to near perfection. Rarely does a game gel like this and it’s simply the work of a master.
  37. AceGamez
    Visually, this game is stunning. It is one of the most atmospheric and engaging games I have ever played and the sounds fit the action perfectly with no annoying music to upset.
  38. Like “Memento” it has sleeper hit written all over it. Its a game for gamers that have played it all, and I recommend it to anyone who has every enjoyed an adventure game. Ico is like a fine work of art, so savor it.
  39. GMR Magazine
    An underappreciated work of art with challenging puzzles, fantastic lighting, and engrossing character relationships. [Feb 2003, p.92]
  40. Ico's flaws make it what it is, because without flaws there is no beauty, only blandness. Play Ico before you play 'sequel' Shadow Of The Colossus - it's the perfect companion piece.
  41. Official Playstation 2 Magazine UK
    Persevere to the bitersweet conclusion and Sony's uniquely atmospheric puzzle adventure will hold a place in your heart forever. [Feb 2006, p.88]
  42. Play UK
    Untouched, beautiful and brings a tear to the eye. We would wax lyrical about this game all day, if we had the chance. [Apr 2006, p.112]
  43. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    With its sumptuous visuals, intuitive problem solving, and affectionately crafted storyline, Ico is like a favorite bedtime story that bears listening to over and over again. [Nov 2001, p.208]
  44. Though the shortness of a game may sound like a flaw, it’s really not. In ICO’s case, a longer length would have made the game quite tiresome as puzzle solving & pulling the girl from he pits of hell could tend to get a bit repetitive.
  45. Games Radar
    If you are looking for something soft, slow and slightly soppy, there are few finer, moodier adventures around. [GamesMaster Magazine]
  46. An "art-house" game in a world of Hollywood-esqe world of action flicks. You get the distinct feeling this game was meant to be savored, not devoured; contemplated, not just consumed.
  47. The game is undoubtedly driven by its smartly crafted aesthetic mood, though its production never compromises the gameplay it provides.
  48. 85
    Ico is a fine game that boasts both excellent design and atmosphere, and one of the few titles from this generation that have and are likely to stand the test of time.
  49. Games like Ico are increasingly rare in their originality, honesty, and heartfelt approach to the digital form of entertainment.
  50. I didn’t find ICO to be that much fun, but that’s because I found it to be very short and not what I thought it might be. It is definitely entertaining and great to look at, but doesn’t have much in the way of replay value.
  51. For everything that it is, ICO is a painfully short game. I finished in about 7 hours. The game really begs the argument: Would you rather have less fun drawn out across more hours, or highly concentrated fun in a scant few hours?
  52. 80
    I can honestly say I loved Ico from start to finish. Even though I may not play it again for a while I know I will eventually go back sometime in the future to remember its magic all over again.
  53. Next Generation Magazine
    Approached as an interactive and emotionally satisfying bedtime story, Ico succeeds wonderfully. Just be aware that it’s a very short story. [Nov 2001, p.105]
  54. It’s like playing "Final Fantasy" without meeting any monsters. Pretty to look at, but ultimately a little light in the game play.
  55. An exceptional game and one that stays with you long after you've switched off the power button.
  56. 80
    Unique and engaging in every respect—and for highbrow types who crave a challenge, this is as good as it gets.
  57. The minimalist approach and stunning atmosphere elevates the game above the many generic titles surrounding it on store shelves. However, the game would have been more unique if the puzzles didn’t involve so many of those boring boxes and levers.
  58. It is very frustrating at times and loads of fun at other times and on the whole well worth a play through, with the magnificent ending making it all worthwhile.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 379 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 379
  1. Dec 28, 2010
    You are looking at this because its about to come out in HD on PS3. Get it now, its haunting, original and actually a beautiful game. ThereYou are looking at this because its about to come out in HD on PS3. Get it now, its haunting, original and actually a beautiful game. There are few games like this anymore with this sort of desolate atmosphere but the feeling of exposure and vulnerability when playing it is palpable. If GTA and third person shooters are your only bag it really won't appeal, but for puzzle fans and gamers who are interested in emotive experiences buy it. Thank me for it later. Full Review »
  2. Aug 29, 2013
    I LOVED this game, with capital letters. I can't pin down one thing why I love this game, it's probably the superb atmosphere that is spreadI LOVED this game, with capital letters. I can't pin down one thing why I love this game, it's probably the superb atmosphere that is spread around the environment, the whole mystery why you're there, the exploration, the sense of isolation, the simple yet provocative mission of saving a girl. There are so many things that this artsy game gets right, the gameplay, the combat, the exploration, the mystery. This game is definitely not for everyone. If you're a battlefield or Call of Duty player and love those games, then this game is not for you. If you love fast paced action games, then this game is not for you, so don't bother playing and writing a review, because there's not going to be any weight to it. This is a game for those that take their time, want to explore every nook and cranny of the castle you're put in to explore, those that like to decipher the story without it being force fed to you. The emotional attachment that goes on after leading a companion around the castle happens naturally, and a sense of loss can happen if you are separated for a bit. I love this game because it takes a risk in telling a simple story, and it succeeds gloriously. Full Review »
  3. Mar 24, 2013
    just played this game after playing show of the colossus, and this game is nothing like it. i had high expectations for this game and thisjust played this game after playing show of the colossus, and this game is nothing like it. i had high expectations for this game and this game didn't reach reach them by a milestone. this game didn't age very well, the gameplay and story is nothing special compared to shadow. the puzzles (for me) were way too hard, i might be dumb but i was stuck on each puzzle for a good 20 minutes each and it got annoying and repetitive for me.

    graphics are amazing for its time ill give it that, you'll be looking around and seeing the environments and what you're about to do next.

    if you've played show of the colossus first, dont expect the same here because it is not.
    Full Review »