Even though "Ico" is one of those classics you really owe it to yourself to play, there's one aspect of the game that people always point to as being aggravating. You're tasked with protecting this girl who is, well, not very helpful. You have to literally hold her hand through anything remotely precarious, and when it comes to fighting bad guys, your best bet is to stick her in a corner and hope she doesn't get snapped up.
"Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom" is similar in that you're once again playing the escort of a magical creature, but the scale is a little off.
You see, the Majin is an enormous beast that looks like he might have been stolen from that island in "Where The Wild Things Are." He stands about 15 feet tall and is plenty able to defend himself, thank you very much. Stick him in a battle against a half-dozen demon creatures and you'll be scraping them off the walls in a few minutes.
So why are you even there? That's where the adventure aspects of "Majin" come in. It's up to you to open the path for the Majin, and this often requires flipping switches and stealth-killing guards without the help of your furry friend. It's an interesting juxtaposition of the all-out chaos of battle versus those slow-paced puzzle-solving moments.
Even more interesting is when the battle and the puzzle collide. There are certain enemies in "Majin" that are as big as your compatriot, and having them go toe-to-toe without some prep is not such a good idea. In one scene, I was forced to run ahead of the Majin to draw some enemies into a trap, wherein the Majin pushed a giant pile of rocks on the lot of them. The smaller enemies were wiped off the map, while the larger enemy was dazed long enough for my buddy to do his dirty work.
In a holiday season where sequels are undoubtedly going to rule the day, it's good to see a new IP with a unique twist on an old idea. Although my time with "Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom" was brief, I came away impressed with the basics and hoping that the final product holds up as well when it drops in November.