The games that shaped a generation: PS2

17. Ico

SCEI | SCEA | 2001

Gentle, moving and beautiful - this is the fairytale of Ico, the boy with horns, and Yorda, his porcelain princess, as they navigate a huge and perilous gothic castle

What made it so great?
If ever there was a game that had the potential to evoke true emotion in a player, Ico was it. Two innocent characters, one strong yet small, the other weak yet magical - each needed the other to escape a vast tomb-like castle and the clutches of Yorda's evil witch-queen mother.

What sets Ico apart from any other game is the way the characters interact. Ico is forced to drag Yorda around like a rag doll for most of the time - leaving her alone risks attack by shadowy ghouls that seep from the ground. And as the game progresses and their (and the relationship grows) you genuinely care about her well-being, adding a real sense of urgency to the experience. The moment when you see Yorda chasing butterflies in the castle garden (she's never been outside before) is the single most touching moment you'll see in a PS2 game.

Get ready to play
Gameplay mainly revolves around Tomb Raider-style puzzling, yet with the twist that Yorda can open certain doors with her special powers. Ico's challenge is getting her weak, unathletic frame to those doors. And vertigo sufferers beware - this often involves negotiating some seriously high-up platforms.

Been there, done that?
While marred by some overly simplistic (and largely repetitive sword slashing) the platforming elements of the Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time, and the soft, muted tones of the visuals will satisfy Ico fans in the absence of a real sequel.