[Now Experiencing] [Computer Gaming]
I'm about halfway through Ico for the PS2, which is a game that I've been meaning to play for a long time. It's critically lauded all to hell, and I can see all the reasons why, but I have to say, from my perspective right now, it doesn't live up to the hype.
Don't get me wrong: Ico does many, many, many, many things well. But for all that, the level design is still utter rubbish. Goals aren't clearly presented, relationships between puzzle elements are often vague, it's never clear whether a puzzle solution is nearby or a long way away, and the unremitting danger of spirits attacking your friend-slash-hostage Yorda is a massive disincentive to exploration. This isn't a game where it's fun to make mistakes, and for something that holds itself out as a platformer-puzzler, that's a failing unforgivable enough to render its strengths irrelevant.
I'm stumbling my way through using a walkthrough, because I've discovered that I don't get the slightest iota of fun from trying to work things out myself in Ico. There'll be a post-mortem when I'm done. I want to finish the experience so I can put it away, talk about it whenever the topic comes up, and never, ever, ever play it again.