The Last Guardian review
The Last Guardian offers one heck of a brain-twisting strategic puzzle that requires lots of considerations to get up and out – while you’re building a bond with a fantastic beast.
You wake up to an unknown world. As you regain consciousness and get aware of your surroundings, you realise you aren’t alone. There’s a gigantic beast in the room with you. As you carefully inspect the beast, you conclude the animal is hurt – you notice a couple of spears, one in the shoulder and one on the hind.
It is not easy to get close though, as the beast is in panic of pain and your presence. To help the animal, which goes by the name Trico, you need to gain its trust first. As you may know, you usually gain an animals trust by giving it some food. You start to look around in the room and in the few adjoining rooms. It won’t be long before you come to the terms: you won’t be able to leave alone.
You find a couple of shiny barrels that looks interesting enough that they might be useful – even what you are looking for. The animal hungrily take the barrels one after one, and you notice its eyes is something to have a keen eye on. Now that Trico has a little more faith in you it gives you the chance to mount it to remove the spears which keeps it from getting in its four feet. Now that the beast is standing, you get the full experience of the size of the beast.
Now the adventure really begins. Why where you left in this room with the beast, and how did it even happen? The game slowly gives some clues here and there about Tricos origins and how you ended here in the bottom of the valley with this magnificent beast.
While the game has one of the greatest storytelling I’ve experienced in games, the gameplay itself being impressive, the handling of both Trico, the boy and the camera is hopelessly outdated (for the people not in the know, this game has been underway since 2007). Early in the game you find a shield, but it ain’t just a regular one. Point at something, and Tricos tail will shoot lightning at the target. Pretty useful from the get-go.
Much of the game is all about your interaction with Trico. You help each other getting up and out. You need Trico to fight guards, jump large gaps, or get up on high ledges you can’t reach by yourself, while Trico needs you to open doors and think strategically to find the correct way to get up higher.
When you’ve met some guards that you can’t fight yourself, but but that Trico is able to fight, you need to help the beast calm down again before you can proceed. You also need to pull out spears from the body of the beast, while Trico has abilities I won’t be mentioning here as it is something you need to experience yourself as it’s part of the deeper story. All things considered, the game is about the symbiosis between the boy you play as, and Trico, a magical ancient beast.
As mentioned there’s some outdated programming. The idea of the symbiosis and cooperation with the big animal is fantastic, and it works – but it causes some issues when it comes to camera angles. They have partly solved this issue by overtaking the camera handling to point in a direction where something vital is happening. It can be frustrating if you are trying to point the camera in another direction – you’ll feel you fight with a remote machine about which direction to turn the camera to.
The handling of the boy when it comes to platforming is just as frustrating. You jump from a ledge to get to another ledge or to catch Tricos tail. Pretty easily to miss, and then you got a game over – and the game has a trophy for beating the story without any game overs.
It is not always obvious which way you’re supposed to go, as you might believe that Trico won’t be able to reach the ledge you are looking at – and it might turn out it is the very ledge you need to reach – and are able to. Tricos reach varies a lot which surprises you a couple of times.
The mix of tall buildings, scary steep mountain sides, the ongoing mystery, and the symbiosis between Trico and the boy is terrific – it is clear that the relationship between the two has been well thought out, not to mention Tricos origins, which the story is revolving around. Unfortunately you won’t play for too long before it is evident that the game was originally made for PlayStation 3. Even then it feels like the basic stuff such as control and camera is meant for an early PlayStation 3 game.
I often found myself just stopping for a moment and look at Trico to watch what the animal was up to or if it would react to me just waiting. I also found myself often pet it when it had done a jump or moved in the direction I asked it to. Like it would make any form of difference.
The game might not be as fantastic as some would hope or expect based on the long development period the game has been in. But it has gone a long way. The Last Guardian has some amazing puzzles – some of them are just plain phenomenal carried out with very little chance to figure it out unless you look for help from guides online.
Miss; Camera angles are horrific and handling in general are outdated.
Need; Story doesn’t make much sense but still enjoyable.