Real Talk By: Ms. Throwback
The Last Guardian was a much-anticipated game in 2016 which is exclusive to the Playstation 4. Seeing as how Playstation 4 exclusives, or any well-done exclusives for that matter, are few and far between, I was looking forward to a pristine action adventure game. The storyline has us following a young preteen boy who befriends a mammalian bird named Trico. Seeing as how we are talking about the same developer who was involved with Ico and Shadow of Colossus, both well sought after games in their own right, the storyline was something to look forward to, and it delivered. The player must convince Trico by luring her with food to reach far-out places while avoiding the enemy. We meet Trico and the boy in a castle under mysterious circumstances where they have both been captured and altered. The boy with new tattoos which he did not have previous, and the bird with injured wings is chained to the ground. Once the boy is able to release Trico, the player’s adventure begins. The enemies in the game have been brainwashed and Trico and the boy are in danger of being brainwashed themselves.
It is clear from the very start of the title that the cinematics and visuals were going to be a plus. The graphical style of the game reminds me of a mix between Shadow of Colossus and Zelda: Twilight Princess. There are some slight cell shading features but the overall environment is to true to life and gives the feeling of being in another realm where darkness is just ever so slightly impending. It is almost dream-like in nature and I truly enjoyed the overall feel the visuals gave me.
While we are on the subject of the artistic aspects of this title, I’d be crazy not to mention the musical score. The sound production in this title is stunning. Everything from Trico’s deep animalistic rumbles to the boy’s voice, the enemies groans, and the classically orchestrated music are perfect!
While most of the title is a third-person action adventure, there are many puzzle elements to explore as well. It follows, at it’s most basic core, a common play style in gaming that has been in the hearts of players for a long time. A well-done action adventure with sprinkles of love and darkness sucked me in from the start. Even from the beginning of the game when the boy is weaponless it can end quickly if the player is not careful. While the castle guards are slow moving, being captured for too long by one of them ends the game, and it happened to me a couple of times before I started taking the game-play a bit more seriously. Trico is the most interesting addition to this
Trico is the most interesting addition to this intricate gameplay. The player does not have direct control of Trico and she doesn’t simply do as the boy says, she must be coerced with certain actions that the boy gains throughout the storyline of the title. The player may need to throw a barrel to gain her interest in going over a gap for example. Trico naturally has weapons of her own which the player can harness through the boy as well as the boy gaining his own weaponry throughout the game. Most of the time the boy is defenseless on his own and the enemies either have to be lured to Trico or vice versa. Trico and the boy are truly a team and the player has to treat them as such throughout the title which is easier said than done. The pairing was perfect for me and I enjoyed the challenges of Trico more than even the challenges of destroying my enemies. Trico has a personality of her own which is beautiful to watch on screen. I could never get enough of her.
This brings us to our first problem. Trico is a much larger character than the nameless boy, which is wonderful in that it gives us perspective and scale, unlike most other titles. However, there were some frustrating times when getting the beast to do as I wanted was not all that easy. At times I knew what I needed Trico to do, but it just wasn’t happening so I’d have to start over or backtrack. I wasn’t terrible but I feel like they could have worked these bugs out to create one of gaming best masterpieces instead of leaving players slightly frustrated at times.
Unfortunately, there is also the issue of the camera. Yes…It’s 2016 and I’m still writing about camera issues. Because the boy is a lot smaller than Trico, her size can get in the way of the camera. Players will also travel into closed spaces with the boy which can create camera issues. Why? Just why?
I am a huge fan of puzzles, and because of this, The Last Guardian stole my heart. Most of the puzzles were about making Trico happy. She is very picky and so destroying something she is scared of or finding her food by solving complicated puzzles is a huge part of the game. I enjoyed every minute of this puzzle solving and I found that this time away from Trico while solving them was well warranted.
Overall I was so taken aback by the good from this game that I just want to forget the bad. Personally, I would rather have a wonky camera and weird controls at times than deal with a hideous game that has no point to the storyline. For that reason, I’m going to give this game a break. For all the Zelda fans that own a PS4, this one is for you. There were so many times it made me think back to all the moments that stunned me about Zelda. This is one worth playing through for sure, and with about a 12 hours play time, it’s definitely one worth owning. That’s why:
The Last Guardian Gets
4.5 Out of 5
+Beautifully rendered environments and visuals
+Intense sound and music
+Challenging puzzles and gameplay
-Frustrating Controls at times