While in Iraq, I found myself with quite a bit of free time on my hands on a regular basis.  I had heard across the internet that one game in particular would blow my mind in its beauty and gameplay, yet was very hard to find.

If you played a little game called Shadow of the Colossus (which I have reviewed here) then you may be familiar with what has been called the spiritual prequel called Ico. The term “Spiritual Prequel” comes from the fact that the games were created by the same developer, a man by the name of Fumito Ueda, and have a similar design scheme to the world.  Both games could easily be set in the same world and time frame, though if so, I have many questions to ask about whomever is running the land.

You are Ico, a boy who suddenly sprouts  horns on his head.  The village you are from casts you out because obviously horns mean something bad, and you are taken to a castle and locked into a sarcophagi to die.  An earthquake hits, you are freed, and then decide to bomb around the castle because hey, the hell else do you have to do?

You come across Yorda, a little girl trapped in a tower.  You get her out and then escape the castle with her.  All the while, Yorda is being haunted by these shadow creatures which are also the spirits of all the other horned children who didn’t get the chance of having an earthquake set them free.  If you aren’t careful, they will snatch up Yorda and drag her into some shadow portal, sending you back to the last checkpoint.

Thankfully, you have a stick. You can whack the shadow monsters with said stick and fend them off until they reappear.  Just you, though.  Yorda is fucking useless in this game.

My girlfriend and I have discussed various survival situations.  Well, we discussed the one that matters: Zombie apocalypse.  We have both agreed that we would not hesitate to kill each other if one was bitten by a zombie.  That may seem callous to some, but honestly it is the merciful answer.

This is good information to have.  We know we can rely on each other when it comes to the dirty work of survival.  I’m not saying that I would dump her outright if I thought she might be useless in a pinch, but if it came down to the zombie apocalypse and she was running around screaming all the damn time and couldn’t pick up a crowbar, she might find herself dropped off in an abandoned building somewhere.  And I would expect the same of her.  You get a few days to get over the fact that the world had ended and then you better harden the fuck up.

I bring this up not to make you jealous that I get laid on a regular basis, but to illustrate just the kind of person you should fall in love with.   When you find Yorda, she doesn’t speak the same language as you, she is a random female in a tower and for some reason, you have to save her rather than just breaking out fuck out of the castle, slaughtering everyone in your village for attempting to kill you, and moving on.  You have a stick to defend her, and must grab her by the hand and literally drag her around to get free.  At no point does she pick up a stick to help, or even climb a damn chain to get away from the shadow monsters.  She stands there, gets carried off and expects you to do something about it.

I cannot explain to you how much this game pissed me off, especially when you get free and the bitch is snatched up and turned to stone anyway.  Then you get thrown back into the castle, work your way to the queen who has been sucking the life force out of all the horned kids, find a magical sword which actually kills shadow creatures, and then kill the queen, causing the castle to crumble around you, your horns to fall off and Yorda suddenly be real again.

Did you play Modern Warfare 2?  Remember when they killed your character three different times at the end of a level, but made you battle shit out to get to that cut scene when you die?  Remember how retarded that was?  Now you know what it is like to finally be free of Yorda, but still have to go back to rescue her.  After the queen snatched her back, I didn’t want to find a sword and save her stupid ass, I wanted to go do anything else.  Paint a picture, read a book, slaughter my village.  Anything!

And what was the deal with the horns?  Do the horns denote a special child that could save stupid women so long as they are locked up in the castle at the moment of an earthquake?

AND WHY IS YORDA SO USELESS?  Seriously, the entire game is infuriating.  The reason it is so hard to find is because no one really wants to play it.  It suffers from what I am going to call “Avatar Syndrome” in which people keep talking about the beauty of some game or movie, but seem to forget that everything else about it is offensive, sexist, racist and just annoying.

Honestly who talk about how great Avatar was lose smart points in my eyes because it’s almost like they agree that the military in 200 years will be racist, xenophobic and bloodthirsty.  Look, we work with the locals to improve their…you know what?  This isn’t the time or place.  Don’t buy Ico unless you like helpless women who need you to do everything for them.  Bitch doesn’t even make you a sandwich once in the game.  She could at least find me something to eat.

Get Shadow of the Colossus instead.  Sure you are still saving a girl, but she isn’t dragging you down.