Somehow, this is the first time I’ve played through Ico. Blind spots.
It’s kind of beautiful. Escort quests are notoriously bad. They feel tacked on, don’t mesh well with other mechanics. But in Ico, escort is the core mechanic. Yorda serves as your health bar, your key, your purpose.
This is reinforced in the hand-holding. That physical connection not only makes it easy to direct her, but heightens the emotional. It has texture.
Combat is a skeleton of an afterthought, which is fine. It makes the few upgrades you find, which add nothing of the mechanics or style, still feel monumental.
Environments are spectacular. It reminded me of Dark Souls, exploring ancient castles and revealing secret paths, without the hanging sense of dread and stiff-backbone caution. A sense of discovery. The scale of the castle when you first emerge from the innards and out onto one of the massive walkways.
The ending is satisfying, a resolution and a soft, chewy center of potential. I’m looking forward to Shadow of the Colossus next.