The Last Guardian Review- Spoiler Free
The Last Guardian was developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Studio and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. After starting development on the PS3 in 2007 and being stuck in development hell, it was reintroduced at E3 2015 and released in December 2016 on the PS4.
The producer of the game Fumito Ueda is known for being the director and lead designer for Ico and Shadow of the Colossus both originally released for the PS2. Both games were received well by critics but took some years to build a fan base and a dedicated following. Similar to many others, I didn't play the games when they released but played through both when it was released as the remastered Ico and Shadow of the Colossus Collection on the PS3.
For those that haven't played Shadow of the Colossus, another remaster recently released on the PS4 that makes the game look better than ever. Unfortunately, Ico hasn't been given the same treatment, but most people agree that Shadow of the Colossus was the superior game. Does The Last Guardian, live up to the hype and storytelling set forth in the previous two games?
The Last Guardian succeeds in creating another breathtaking world and story that is unlike any other experience I've played on the PS4 and something very rare in games in general. The storytelling takes the front seat as you solve puzzles from one area to another, to uncover the mystery of the old ruins, how you ended up there, and that especially of your feathered beast.
The story is narrated by a man from a remote village that is recounting the events of when he was a child. As the story progresses you piece together more about information about the boy and the beast. And that is the what is at the core of the game that story builds upon, the relationship you build with the beast during the 10-15 hour journey. The fact that the boy is never given a name, but the beast is named Trico from the first scene, emphasizes the main character of the game is Trico and your there to help him/her on its journey.
The majority of the game has you scaling the mysterious ruins you wake up in, solving puzzles and guiding your beast companion to areas you wouldn't be able to reach yourself. Even though the game is categorized as an Action-Adventure game, the focus is on the adventure and exploration of the beautiful environments that make up the game. This game also follows its predecessors by masterfully conveying a sense of the scale of the environment, and the task at hand. The gameplay is more similar to Ico, but instead of guiding a girl from point A to B, you have an awesome dog/cat/bird hybrid monster with you.
The main issue with the game, which may frustrate some players, is how you command your pet. Unlike Ico, you can't just pull Trico by the arm to where you want it to go. You can point to guide your beast toward a certain area or instruct it to jump. However, because you can only select a direction, there is no way to point out specific ledges or areas that you want Trico to go to/interact with. This leads to Trico jumping backward in the wrong direction, or you wasting time in an area pointing at everything, only to realize you had it right the first time, but Trico didn't listen to you. Together with a poor camera angle in confined areas, these factors may detract from the overall experience.
If you're expecting action like Shadow of the Colossus, you will be disappointed. The boy you control cannot attack, but supports your beast friend by solving puzzles, most often finding levels to pull, and occasionally bumping into enemies. The puzzles and exploration are satisfying and the game does a great job of letting the player figure out what to do next. I'm glad they didn't make things too easy by highlighting hints or giving tips if you die. There are some spectacular action set pieces that play out that had me at the end of my seat, rooting for Trico and the boy. It almost felt like I was watching a scene from Uncharted, one of my favorite series.
The music is another highlight of the game. The composer is able to take tense moments in the game and make it even more epic. Other times the subtle or omission of music was perfectly suited for the when you exploring a seemingly desolate cave or structure.
If you are going into this game knowing what to expect, you will be satisfied and will love this game. The art style is nothing like anything else and for $40 or less it's an experience that will stay with you long after you finish. For a rating, I would give The Last Guardian a 9/10. Leave a comment if you think The Last Guardian was worth the wait, or what your biggest criticism was.
Thanks for reading or watching!