Fumito Ueda’s Ico doesn’t just tug on your heartstrings – it lovingly removes them, finds a bit of old wood and crafts a lute that makes a sound so beautiful you won’t be able to tear yourself away until the final chord has been played. As a game, Ico is far from action-packed. Combat is unremarkable, while the innovative puzzles are infrequent.
However, none of this matters. Ico’s world is so detailed, and its atmosphere so rich, that you relish the time you can spend simply exploring. The relationship that the horned protagonist forms with the fragile, pale Yorda as they explore the mysterious castle hand in hand is breathtaking. You embarrass yourself by weeping softly into your controller, but it’s worth it – just so you can say you’ve experienced one of the most magical games of recent times.