Let me start by saying that my dad was the best! He bought this game on December 7th, the 2nd day it was released for me for Christmas. I wasn’t expecting it because it’s so expensive but I had asked for this and a less expensive game. I was expecting to only get the less expensive game. But to my joy I got this one too!
I’ve heard some less than awesome things about it, but I decided to ignore everyone and play it with an open heart and mind.
The Last Guardian is designed by Fumito Ueda. It’s an action-adventure video game developed by genDESIGN and SIE Japan Studio. Fumito Ueda created the Ico and Shadow of the Colossus (SotC) worlds we know so well. The worlds full of grandiosity which make you, the player of that little person feel ever so small. I played Ico and SotC and I loved them both, but I can tell you that I loved The Last Guardian the most! YES I SAID IT!!! The Last Guardian is the BEST GAME EVER from Fumito Ueda. He outdid himself.
So without going into too much detail and spoiling it for everyone, you are a boy. You wake up in a kind of cave with a very large, albeit angry half-bird and half-mammal named Trico whose in chains. You try to satiate the beast with these glowing blue barrels, you remove the spears in his body and then he allows you to get near his head to remove the collar which has him trapped in that cave. Your entire adventure is with this Trico. He is a fearful creature, and looks to you for guidance in everything. He learns to trust you and follows you around like a puppy, and it’s adorable. After some time the boy learns to give Trico commands so he’ll follow you. You’re helping him out of the maze you’re in. And so begins the beautiful journey of boy and beast. You do find out that Trico isn’t alone in this world. You also find out how the boy ended up where he is. I won’t say more because otherwise I’ll spoil it for you 😉
I found this game to be half like Ico and half like SotC. You battle odd shadow guards. You solve puzzles, and you can climb Trico! Speaking of commanding Trico, this can be a little tricky. I was pretty good at getting him to go where I wanted most of the time. I petted him a lot and I think that helped. Trico also gives you clues as to your desired path, and it’s important to watch him carefully while you play. I have two cats, and I feel that gives me a slight advantage in this game. I’m very good at reading their body language and meows and it was the same with Trico. The boy also needed Trico very much to get to hard-to-reach places or to get out of sticky situations.
I really loved the environment in this game. Like Ico and SotC, it was another imposing environment with very large buildings everywhere. It just reinforces how small you are and how large Trico is. The detail in the environment was really amazing, even with Trico.
Gameplay mechanics were alright for this game. The boy either had a full on run or he tiptoed when he walked slowly. It was pretty funny. And sometimes he’d end up pushing a wall instead of running around it. It took some getting used. Also, the camera could have been a tad better. I played for a solid 15 hours last Tuesday and I got pretty dizzy. I had to change how fast the camera moved, but it didn’t help. Because the boy is so small there’s a lot of camera shifting to find the way out. Remember in Shadow of the Colossus when the boy had to climb the flying Colossus in the desert? You rode that horse in circles just to try to get on that beast. Well I got pretty dizzy from that. Imagine a lot of circling camera movement? Same thing. I mean it was all my doing, but frequent breaks are required 🙂 Overall these issues didn’t bother me too much. I did sigh a few times in slight frustration, but it was such a small aspect that I was fine.
The one thing that bothered me the most was the boy and how he looked in comparison to everything else. He had very little shadows on him to define his face, neck etc. He was also quite bright and appeared to look different than Trico or the environment. In essence he stood out like a bright sore thumb. I assume the dev did this so you could actually see the boy, but really I didn’t think this extra brightness was necessary at all. But after the first initial shock of it I just ignored it as a quirk and brushed it aside as an unnecessary annoyance. Yes, he was off compared to the rest, but I wasn’t going to let something so insignificant as this ruin a perfectly wonderful game.
Finally, there is a huge replayability for this game. I know people love New Game Plus, and The Last Guardian does have a sort of NG+ option. Once you finish the game and you’ve watched the credits and the movie after the credits, you get sent back to the main menu. In this main menu you can continue the story (not start a new game — they are not the same). By starting a new game you essentially erase all the work you did in the last one. Continuing the story saves all the barrels you’ve gathered for Trico during your first game. So you’ve continued your story and you’re back in the cave with Trico. Once you gain control of the boy, pause the game. Go down to “Items”. Here you have unlocked new clothing colours for the boy depending on how many barrels you’ve collected. The great thing about this game during your second round, is that the barrel count updates continuously, so if you were playing for 30 mins and you paused and went back to your items, you’ll see you’ve gathered more barrels. The goal is to gather 96 barrels. Not only does that unlock all of the outfits for the boy (and a trophy if you select them all and put them on the boy during the game), you also get to change Trico’s feathering! I don’t know how many actual barrels there are in this game, but supposedly there are more than 36 which is how many barrels I found in my first playthrough.
So don’t worry. If you finished the game, you can go back and try again for some trophies! The hardest trophy to get is the “Finish the game in less than 5 hours”. You must have perfect command of Trico, know the world inside out, and not care about the other trophies or the extra barrels. I might try this one day. I read online that the in-game timer still runs even if you pause the game, so if you’re playing on PS4 like I am, you have to physically pause and go to your XMB to really pause the timer. Having a physical timer next to you helps to track your actual time in the game since the game doesn’t have one internally. The other two speedrunner trophies are easy to unlock. I managed to finish the game in under 15 hours and unlocked both that and the 30 hr trophy. Good luck with the 5 hour trophy!!
I bet you’re super interested in this game. If you haven’t seen the trailer, you should:
Now I want to talk about my likes and dislikes for this game 🙂
Things I like about this game:
- The environment and how majestic and stately it all was.
- Trico. A big puppy that follows you around which is so adorable.
- The lengths the boy went to put Trico at ease.
- The story of Trico (you’ll have to play the game to learn this) 🙂
- The unbreakable bond that grows between Trico and the boy.
- The story. Oh my goodness the story is amazing.
- The puzzles. They weren’t easy, and no one is holding your hand.
- The in-game soundtrack was wonderful.
- I got scared of heights and got butterflies a lot while climbing very precarious places.
Things I don’t like :
- The boy’s skin made him look too bright and cartoony compared to the rest of the environment and world, making him stand out like a sore thumb
- The boy sometimes ran too fast, especially when I was on treacherous ground. Scared the shit out of me.
All in all I would say for an indie game, it’s a highly recommend! I recommend this action adventure game for everyone who loved Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. In my mind it was better than both games put together. I will be personally writing to the designer, Fumido Ueda, and congratulating him on a job well done! I cannot wait for their next game, whenever that will be.
My rating? 9/10
Should you play this? I say yes, if you loved Shadow of the Colossus or Ico!
Bitchin’ Gamer Girl