Overall 8.80

Its a miracle this game even came out and lucky for us it did because the wait was worth it. It may not be as good as Shadow of the Colossus but it's far better than Ico; TLG fits perfectly into this loosely connected trilogy of games.  Ueda's storytelling and gameplay style is on full display, giving us a game that feels different than what is normally coming out today.

The Last Guardian tells the story of a boy and his dog rat bird thing called Trico, a mythical being that lives in a giant fortress inside a hollow mountain.Trico is an absolute marvel to behold, there is a level of nuance to all its notions and behaviors that captures the essence of a pet better than any game character I have ever seen. Any pet owner will feel an instant connection to Trico, that bond becomes the driving force of the adventure the two characters go on.

What an adventure it is, the game starts at the very bottom of this fortress and the boy and Trico work their way all the way to the top to escape. Along the way there are a bunch of puzzles and platforming segments to get around. The key to the gameplay is to find a way to get the boy and Trico to the next area, normally there are all kinds of obstacles in your path. Trico has a mind of its own so you will have to point and yell to get Trico to perform the action you want. This can lead to some frustration as sometimes Trico will take a minute or two before doing the action that will move you forward.

Puzzles are usually built around finding ways to reach switchs and gates with the boy that will open a path for Trico. These are usually very well integrated into the game world so it doesn't feel gamey . There are some great puzzles but far fewer than I expected, especially since this game is like four times longer than Ico. If there was a bigger focus on tougher more complex puzzles I feel we could have had a masterpiece.

instead the majority of the game is actually a platfomer. A huge chunk of time is spent jumping from platform to platform, tight rope walking, grabbing onto ropes, and so on. The platforming is uncharted style so there is no real skill involved, it's more about trying to find the path to take.

The other aspect this has taken from Uncharted is the giant action setpiece. This is where TLG really shines, it's actually a pulse pounding epic adventure with incredible moments of spectacle that would make Drake say wow. The game felt like a classic 80s boy and his monster feel, stuff like Neverending story where the adventure just keep ramping up constantly. When it hits the crescendo in the finale it's hard to think of anyone that won't be an emotional wreck. The ending is truly something special, I had tears in my eyes as the credits rolled.

This is the best story Ueda's team has told, now it's not as complex as SOTC overall story but the adventure of the boy and Trico is far more tightly wound and hits all the right notes. The gameplay and story work so damn well together, while Trico is battling foes you are still in control usually trying to find ways to help him through a well disguised puzzle, so like uncharted even during the most scripted of action sequences you usually have a role to play.

That said the gameplay could have been more complex, it's all pretty simple platforming or pushing and pulling stuff. Trico does have a nifty power that wasn't really shown in previews that's used sparingly during the game. Enemies come in the form of living statues that try to capture the boy but if Trico is around it will kill them, requiring the boy to remove any arrows from Trico and calm Trico down with some petting. No one mechanic is all that great but the way everything comes together from the AI, the puzzles, the world design, and the story makes this game special.

Much has been said about the camera and control problems, I think it's exaggerated a bit. The controls are fine, it's just a bit slower than most games, the boy seems to be a bit weighty but it works because the animations of his actions is amazing to behold. It's very similar to SOTC. The camera does suck in small spaces, but when out doors it captures the scale of the fortress and Trico extremely well.  People will say it has outdated controls and camera, I say it's just different from the norm which is no issue to me.

Graphically I think this game is gorgeous. In some ways it still has its PS3 DNA but the art style, lighting and animation really makes it look like a visual feast. I was taken aback by some of the awe inspiring vistas this game has. The music is good but no where near the quality of SOTC which I could hum to this day.

The Last Guardian is a sort of mythical beast of its own now as the 10-15 hour linear action adventure game is near extinct. It felt great to have a well told, well paced, story that fit the gameplay well and kept things interesting for so long. It may not have the pure genius  and innovation that SOTC displayed but it's a far deeper experience than the very shallow and short Ico. Any fan of Ueda's work should play this immediately, anyone a fan of a puzzle platforming focused adventure should play this. This is one of the better experiences this year.

Posted by Dvader Mon, 02 Jan 2017 21:59:00
Mon, 02 Jan 2017 23:00:01
Trico is so fluid, just amazing to watch in motion.  I'll get back to this but want to finish a couple games first.
Mon, 02 Jan 2017 23:08:20
It just got the Twilight Princess treatment!
Wed, 04 Jan 2017 11:57:57
Man the 3DO is still pumping out some impressive tech.
Thu, 05 Jan 2017 03:05:34
LOL Damn. I didn't even notice that this game was on the 3DO.
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