Ico was one of the best under-appreciated games of the PS2. Some may say it’s because of the lame US box-art, but mostly it’s because Ico is a little game made from a then unknown team and released with little to no fanfare. It doesn’t boast a point-haired protagonist with big swords, it doesn’t have lots of guns and there’s really not that much action in it. But if you’ve played the game, you’ll understand it when I say the game has a way to make you feel emotionally attached to the helpless princess you’re rescuing.
Ico was one of the only games where I felt comforted about my character’s death — and yes, I do think that both Ico and Princess Yorda died at the end, but I’m skipping ahead of myself. When I first realized that Yorda is actually trapped in the castle, being prepped to become a vessel of the evil queen’s soul or spirit, I was a bit disappointed. It seemed like there was no good way for the game to end, so I even thought about stopping the game at that point. Luckily, I figured I made it that far into the game, I might as well continue.
I actually felt kind of bad defeating all the shadow demons after realizing that they’re just the spirits of horned boys from the past. I don’t really understand why they would want to work as minions for the queen to help keep Yorda in the castle though. My guess is maybe they’re lonely, or afraid of the queen and Yorda looks so pure that they want to keep her trapped there as a contrast with the dim atmosphere the queen seems to bring around.
I believe that both Ico and Yorda died in the castle when it collapsed because of two things. One, Ico’s horns got broken off during the final fight with the queen and two, Yorda seems to lose her strength every time she tries to leave the castle, so it seems impossible that she could have left it and washed ashore with Ico. The third thing that leads me to think that the shore is really just Ico and Yorda’s afterlife is that there’s a watermelon a little bit away from where Ico wakes up. I didn’t think watermelon was the type of fruit to be found on the beach, so it must be some type of afterlife dream.
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