The Last Guardian was announced back in 2009 and nobody thought it was ever going to be released. Now it’s here on PS4, but was the long wait worth it?
The Last Guardian had a very troubled development cycle. Originally a PS3 exclusive, the game was delayed many times and was rumoured to have been cancelled at one point. We reviewed the the final PS4 game and it’s certainly one of the most unique experiences of 2016.
First of all, I’m not going to spoil the story for you so I’ll keep this part light. Basically you are a young boy trapped in a mysterious place and he befriends a beast named Trico. Trico is like a mix of many animals, but to me he looks like a rat with small wings.
Anyway, the pair have to work together to try and escape this place. There’s more to the story as you progress, but that’s all I want to say for now. I will say the game will entice you to keep playing until the very end in order to see what happens next.
One of the most refreshing things about playing The Last Guardian is that you are not playing as a tough guy or gal that has weapons or fists. The boy can only jump and push things around. This is where Trico the beast comes in as he is able to do more than the little boy.
Together the pair has to trek this mysterious place and solve many puzzles along the way. The great thing I like about this game is that it doesn’t hold your hand all of the time. There’s not a constant waypoint or even a map to tell you where you have to go next.
The game does give you clues along the way, but they’re minimal at best. This might get frustrating to some gamers, but it forces you to explore the levels thoroughly and to think for yourself for once. I will say that some players might have to resort to a guide as there are times that I thought I stuck too, although I managed to figure out what to do in the end.
In terms of gameplay, The Last Guardian has more in common with Fumito Ueda’s (the creator) IcO than Shadow of the Colossus. In Ico you are also a boy who had to escort a little girl to safety. In The Last Guardian, the beast and the boy are usually together although there are times that they are separated. This in turn means the boy sometimes has to find a switch or jump elsewhere in order for the beast to cross a bridge or enter a small room.
One main criticism I have about this game is the A.I. of the beast himself. Let’s just say Trico sometimes acts like a real pet/animal and doesn’t respond well to commands. Sometimes I would need him to jump onto a window, but he will just stay there. In another example, he was supposed to hit a switch but he just tapped it instead.
Only the boy is playable in this game so he has to give out commands to the beast in order for him to do things. It might seem frustrating at times, but you may have to be patient. Sometimes the beast himself is usually thinking where to go to next...
Another minor gripe is how infrequent the music is played during gameplay. The Last Guardian actually has a decent soundtrack, but you never get a chance to listen to it very often. There are often stretches of long silence and I don’t know why the developer chose not to play any music during gameplay most of the time.
Presentation wise, The Last Guardian is beautiful to look at. It has a unique art style that feels like you are interacting with a painting. The level design is also unique as you will need to search both high and low to know where to go next. Some might say the game is linear, although a platformer like this doesn’t need to have a large open world.
As a whole, The Last Guardian is an excellent video game that provides up to 12 to 15 hours of gameplay. It’s a very unique experience with innovative ideas and game mechanics. The only gripes I have are with the A.I. and lack of music, although these aren’t enough to ruin what is one of best PS4 games of 2016.