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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 100
    Freaking Phenomenal...the closest thing to perfection yet.
  4. 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.
  5. A subtle intoxicating journey, and one of the best games around.
  6. 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.
  7. It's hard to express how stunning this game looks and sounds. [Nov 2001, p.158]
  8. 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.
  9. One of the finest games ever crafted, Ico is a unique and memorable experience, and hauntingly beautiful.
  10. 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+]
  11. When taken as a whole, Ico provides one of the most compelling and emotionally resonant experiences to be had on the PS2.
  12. The graphics are quite incredible and makes great use of lighting, using bright, white-washed colors outdoors and dark, dingy ones inside.
  13. 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.
  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. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. It isn’t just a brilliant game, it’s an experience not to be missed.
  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. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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 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.
  27. 91
    Ico's simplicity is what makes it shine.
  28. 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.
  29. An underappreciated work of art with challenging puzzles, fantastic lighting, and engrossing character relationships. [Feb 2003, p.92]
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. Persevere to the bitersweet conclusion and Sony's uniquely atmospheric puzzle adventure will hold a place in your heart forever. [Feb 2006, p.88]
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  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. In the end, I found this game compelling and highly entertaining, even though the puzzles are rather average and lack variety.
  38. A great game...And with beautiful graphical content and stunning sound effects, ICO is one heck of a production.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. 90
    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]
  42. Although it borrows from other gaming experiences in certain places, you haven't ever played a game like Ico. Highly recommended!
  43. 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. The game is undoubtedly driven by its smartly crafted aesthetic mood, though its production never compromises the gameplay it provides.
  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. If you are looking for something soft, slow and slightly soppy, there are few finer, moodier adventures around. [GamesMaster Magazine]
  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. 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.
  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. 80
    Unique and engaging in every respect—and for highbrow types who crave a challenge, this is as good as it gets.
  56. 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]
  57. An exceptional game and one that stays with you long after you've switched off the power button.
  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 212 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 57 out of 66
  2. Negative: 3 out of 66
  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. 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 »
  3. Oct 26, 2012
    Ico runs in the same vein as Shadow of the Colossus, all titles of the cult classic churning development team, Team Ico. The plot is subtle,Ico runs in the same vein as Shadow of the Colossus, all titles of the cult classic churning development team, Team Ico. The plot is subtle, yet deep, and you get the feeling as Ico - our protagonist - saves the princess in need Yorda from the evil Queen of the Castle, that you're the part of something much larger than yourself and the characters on the screen. What is this castle? What is the backstory behind Ico, Yorda, the Queen, and the mysterious people who take Ico to the island? Many questions are left unanswered, which is the point: this is intricate, delicate storytelling at its finest; a plot that interweaves with Shadow of the Colossus. The visuals on screen are simply stunning, especially for such an early release for the PS2. The controls can be a bit cumbersome at times, but they're so simple, it's hard to gripe. The combat with the evil shadow beings varies from run-of-the-mill to dire and desperate swinging depending on the situation, and will thrill any player. And the entire game caries a strong sense of emptiness, loneliness, like you really are alone in a strange world, having to take care of yourself. Ico has become an artistic classic of the next-generation age. One can only claim they are a true gamer in contemporary times if they've added Ico as a notch on their belt. Full Review »