Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Top 50 Games - 41. Ico

Fumito Ueda is my kind of guy. A resolute perfectionist with a wholly original vision and a deftly artistic yet restrained touch rarely seen in video games. I can't tell you how much I wish I made this game before he did. When I see the horned boy and the ethereal princess running through an empty castle hand in hand, as soft sunlight moves through mist... Well, I get jealous. "Gameplay is king" is the motto that governs almost all game design, and for good reason, but when done right, presentation greatly enhances what truly matters: the experience. Ico's gameplay is sparse and rather unremarkable; not bad by any means, but not the game's main ingredient. No, to see the staggering artwork on display here, all you have to do is look at the game in motion. Ico's near-miss leaps of faith, Yorda's endearing lack of initiative, the two of them falling asleep on a glowing save-point couch, windmills turning lazily in the breeze. All of these images are but brushstrokes in one of the 21st century's most surreal paintings, rhymes in a fairy tale that's read to you right before you head off to the Land of Nod. All expressed through a TV and Dualshock controller, of course.

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