I have to say that the premise of The Last Guardian was pretty intriguing ever since it was revealed way back in 2007. I am not someone who waits desperately to play a game for many years but when the release date was actually confirmed, I knew I couldn’t miss this due to Fumito Ueda’s pedigree.
Ueda was the director of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, two of the critically acclaimed games of the PS2 era. Yes, Ueda’s next game was released on the PS4, it has certainly been a long wait. Now if you have played his games, there are a few things to be expected like technical problems, control issues and so on.
The Last Guardian has all those problems. If you own a PS4 Pro you can escape the shoddy framerate which makes the game a lot more enjoyable but the controls are still an issue. This is why his games are so divisive even though they are masterpieces. Yes, The Last Guardian is a masterpiece and it’s something I have never played before. It’s an astonishing game. However, the hurdles like poor controls and the main protagonist’s animations have to be overlooked.
The game tells the story of a boy and his companion, a giant beast who is a combination of dog, cat and bird. However, as someone who had a dog before, Trico as the beast is called, closely resembles a dog in its behaviour. Well, it’s also agile like a cat and can fly like a bird and has feathers but I’d like to think of it as a cute dog especially with those cute Pomeranian eyes.
Now both of them get trapped in an area where the only way to get out is through the sky thanks to the big walls. So the boy was gonna need Trico and Trico was gonna need the boy to guide it. It’s relationship that is highly dependent on each other and something like this hasn’t been seen in video games before.
As you keep playing the game the bond between the two becomes stronger and the boy gets more ways to control Trico. The area they are trapped in seems created by an ancient civilisation that no longer exists. However, there is magic that animates armor, your primary enemies, and it isn’t fully explained in the game how that works.
It seems beasts like Trico were common and were revered by this ancient civilisation, based on the Trico statues you can find later on in the game. The entire design of this are seems to have been created with the beasts in mind. There are glass eyes which the beasts are scared of placed in areas where the people didn’t want them going in. You unravel all these things as you progress through the game.
The game starts with the boy and Trico alone in a cave with Trico in chains and very tired. Trico doesn’t trust the boy early on and has spears embedded in him. You have to take them out and feed Trico a bunch of barrels. These barrels are found throughout the game and act as food. I don’t know what’s in these barrels but for the fact that Trico likes them a lot.
If you are a pet owner you are going to fall in love with Trico. The way he has been modelled and animates is simply incredible. I did not encounter any glitches in the game and Trico never gave me a reason to think that he was just a dumb AI. This is the game’s greatest achievement and it’s also a big achievement for the video game industry to have made something like this in a video game.
There isn’t a heavy story in the game but majority of plot points are closed by the time you reach the end. If you have played Ueda’s previous games, the ending here will remind you a lot of them. It’s incredibly powerful and you will think of the game for a long time after you beat it.
There’s a lot of platforming and sometimes you have to rely on Trico to get to places. He is responsive to commands but doesn’t instantly do what you want him to do. He’s like an actual animal that tries to process your commands and looks incredibly realistic while doing so.
The game starts off a bit slow but the last 30 minutes is some of the intense gameplay action I have ever seen. Those 30 minutes tell us why this game should have been released and kudos to Sony for sticking with Ueda. The puzzles aren’t difficult and most of them can be figured out easily or with trial and error. Sometimes Trico gives you a hint of where to go. The platforming is weird and triangle button to jump takes getting used to.
The graphics are okay and not too special. It does feel like a remastered PS2 game but you will get immersed in the beautiful world that has been created. The music is great and really puts you in the mood during the various situations you will encounter in the game.
Ultimately, the goal is to get the hell out of the place you are trapped in. The game has a satisfying ending and it’s going to make you think a lot. I don’t think there are connections between the previous games but I’m not really an expert since I don’t remember much about them.
The Last Guardian is a masterpiece. It’s something we won’t get from western developers due to how it doesn’t appeal to a large group of people. This is a game that needs to be played. Trico has to be experienced on your TV. The game was worth the long wait.