-by Dylan D
When I first picked up “Shadow of the Colossus” a couple years ago; I thought I mistakenly bought my copy online from the wrong country. I was baffled by the foreign language and subtitles. Fast-forward to today and I am utterly obsessed with the fantastic and mythical realm that Team Ico has created with Sony; the fictional language, air of mystery and beautiful landscapes remind me why I play video games: to get lost. It’s been seven long years of development but finally the newest game from the geniuses at Team Ico is out. This game along with last weeks Final Fantasy XV had some unbelievable hype to live up to; now we get to see if former does.
I’m a weak man. After personally waiting four years I broke the day before release and checked out some review scores (no actual details of the game). I saw the expected 8’s and 9’s, hey even a couple 10’s, but wow was I shocked at the number of mixed reviews (6’s and 7’s). Of the Team Ico trilogy, the newest entry had the most critical review scores. Needless to say, I was scared.
When I first popped in the game my fear immediately faded. Even if the gameplay itself was lacking I knew that Team Ico still put their hearts and souls into it, and that’s not something you can say for a lot of game developers in today’s day and age. The environments were familiar but this time even more breathtaking. I skipped out on a PS3 so jumping from the original PS2 versions of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus to The Last Guardian was unbelievably pleasing. Other familiar elements showed up: the fictional language, the climbing, the puzzles. What was I scared of again?
The Last Guardian makes one of the best first impressions I can remember in recent history; the story is interesting, the mechanics are unique and the scenery is stunning. Unfortunately after the first two hour honeymoon-phase, trouble arises.
The unnamed boy feels floppy when you aren’t simply running. The game explains it’s basic climbing mechanics but I never felt like I fully had control. Something as basic as descending down a ledge always required a specific button combination and camera angle. The camera itself has been cited as the games main problem. It’s not the actual camera but the tight corridors combined with Tricos huge size that causes the camera problems. And then there’s our buddy Trico…
For the first half of the game I observed Tricos behavior and I see where some people could complain. He’s slow and doesn’t always listen to your commands. At first I was going to defend this from a story perspective: Trico is a massive wild animal, why would he constantly submit to the will of a tiny kid? He has a mind and will of his own and he’ll sniff or scratch whatever he wants before he listens to you. The director of the game, Fumito Ueda, intended for this so it could build the relationship between the player and Trico. While I wholeheartedly love his ambition I can’t help but feel Trico was slightly underdeveloped. However, since the game lasts between 10-15 hours on your first go, Tricos lack of listening might drive you crazy like it did me.
If you don’t have patience then you will surely not enjoy The Last Guardian.
It’s because of those problems that I feel The Last Guardian overstays it’s welcome just a bit. When I was in the latter half and felt like the credits could roll any minute, Trico made me wanna yell out like Charlie Brown.
I’m intentionally leaving this review ambiguous and more about how it made me feel as a player instead of specific gameplay and story detail. I firmly believe The Last Guardian is a game everybody should play at least for an hour in their life; it’s a very unique virtual adventure that should satisfy something in every gamer. From a gameplay perspective it’s nothing special, in fact it’s a headache 60% of the time. The story and scenery though are quite enjoyable and dare I say stunning.
Was The Last Guardian worth the time and trouble of a seven year wait? Absolutely not. If you get over that sad fact, you’ll still have a decent game that has something to offer everyone.
+ Scenery is amazing
+ Unique puzzles
– Floppy body and climbing physics
– Tutorial prompts throughout the entire game
The point of this review was to give a vague outline of The Last Guardian. I’m not done talking about the game though. My next posts will be filled with details and spoilers and speak of the design of The Last Guardian. Thanks for reading