Developer: SIE Japan Studio
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platform: PlayStation 4
Facing unknown dangers in a strange and mystical land, an ordinary young boy and his gigantic feathered friend must rely on each other to survive in this harrowing story of friendship and trust.
by: Mitchell Cole
At Long Last
At long last we have The Last Guardian published & distributed to the people, from everyone’s darling, Sony! This game has been years in development with delay after delay. Was it wait worth the wait or does the game falter in any way? Exclusively to the Playstation 4, The Last Guardian is at times a majestic journey yet in large part, an overwhelming disappointment. (Read on for details!)
Ummm…Where Am I?
You are a boy. Not sure if ‘boy’ was ever given a name even once in the game, only to never be used again. Anyway, you are ‘Boy’, & you wake up out of your bed from your orphanage, on the ground, within a giant tower, surrounded by mountains all around, next to chained, injured, giant, feathered beast that looks to be a cross between a vulture, a cat, a dog, a scorpion, and a horse. Ummm, okay! As a gamer, we have had less reason to embark, so let’s see what adventure awaits. After befriending said beast, ‘Boy’ & ‘Trico’ look to work together to escape the tower. This is your classic “Escape the Tower/Dungeon” type of game nothing more, nothing less. And therein lies our issue…
What Went Wrong? What Went Right?
At times, one feels absolute sorrow for the plight of Trico and ‘Boy’ yet in not all ways positive. The Last Guardian is a visually appealing game though hardly groundbreaking with huge graphical cut-in & texturing issues. The backdrop, backgrounds, & character animation of Trico are a thing of brilliance, however. This is a puzzle game through & through. In reality, there is only one enemy type for 99% of the game; though who at times behaves or attacks differently. A very boring battle set-up leads to low points as well. During the first part of the game, you are entitled to an impressive type of weapon, only to be stripped of that weapon early in the game, for most rest of the adventure, left with only a weak ‘push’ action. While a puzzle game for sure, I felt there were instances a scenario had no true clue, & I happened across the answer by chance or by returning to the game with a fresh set of eyes. More thought could have been put into the situational set-up or answer.
The development between ‘Boy’ and Trico, however, is central to success & becomes the most engaging part of the game. Truly, neither will escape without the other, & that sense of shared hope & doom are what will push players through the huge maze-like, ancient tower & city. Controlling ‘Boy’ & Trico, however, were a huge let down. Even when stopped, ‘Boy’ literally ran in place in my copy. In tight situations, this proved to be a frustration. Climbing onto/off Trico was burdensome & unbearable at times that left your camera completely confused as to where YOU should be on the beast. Many times, I tried to climb off only for ‘Boy’ to automatically reach back out & grasp hold of Trico to climb back on. When the situation was tense enough, this was VERY problematic.
Wonders Be to Trico!
What more positive can an animal lover such as myself say about the creation & development of the feathered beast, ‘Trico’? Though next to nothing is revealed about Trico or what really goes on in the story, Who Cares!? Traveling with Trico and experiencing all his playful, inquisitive, or confused actions & expressions was almost worth the full asking price…ALMOST! Trico shines within the world & glimmers from feather to feather in detail. Trico roars, chirps, and makes all the thought-of type of noises that a pet player would play into. Players will notice blood stains that accumulate upon Trico while consoling Trico after battles is a thing all pet lovers would relate to wholeheartedly. This character creation pulled at my animal rescue heart heavily where it may not for others. (Shame!!) It’s a shame that the character, ‘Boy’ never comes close to the kind of detail or realism that the developers put into Trico.
(A Let Down, Though Still Worth a Playthrough at Discount)
Graphics – B- | Story – B | Controls – D+ | Replay – D+ | Sounds – B
Overall, The Last Guardian was a big letdown for me. After years of development, I began to really look forward to its release. I was not originally on-board as I didn’t know much about the backstory or history but over time, I felt this game was going to be a ‘Masterpiece’, where in reality there isn’t much to redeem this mediocre, game with an (at times) engaging story. The character development of Trico was a thing of beauty though! I fell in love with Trico & its development as a realistically-portrayed, imaginary creature that behaved more like a real animal in real life than any other digital animal in any other game…EVER. Trico was just SO adorable that I was pulling for our escape at many turns. Though I can’t recommend this title at full price purchase, I feel gamers may find some hours of enjoyment at a bargain price or sale. Gamers tastes are different depending on the player. I’ll let you be the judge of that. Gamers Unite!