After multiple delays and years of development, Studio Japan’s The Last Guardian arrived at the beginning of December in 2016. Seeing E3’s presentation of the game, many players were still invested while others have moved on from waiting for this gorgeous title. The question most people ponder isn’t “was it worth the wait” but more of “does it succeed on its promise?”
The Last Guardian tells a story about a boy (and for this purpose of the review, I’m referring him to Syndeo) waking up to see a mysterious animal known as Trico. With no memory of how Syndeo got there, he decides to help the injured animal and free him from the chains that lock him up. Throughout the 8 hour campaign, Syndeo and Trico must unravel what is going on while working together and trusting one another.
The broken ancient environments showcase some beautiful sights of nature. When you’re inside buildings and focusing on the puzzle elements of the game, you’ll witness the destruction and rusted doors from a civilization that is no more. Once you get outside into the wild, the lushes nature of the green trees and grass will stop you in your tracks and acknowledge the detail that is in front of you. Seeing the wind and the sun reflecting everywhere brings an eye-opening detail that the developers implemented in the game. At times, it can look like a PS3 game in motion but the shadows and lighting help bring a realistic approach.
Trico himself though is beyond what you will expect. Giving him orders and seeing him play in water to take a bath will make you smile with glee. Though you will encounter some frustrating moments when he doesn’t pay attention or happen to knock you off to your death. I can happily say though is that Trico does warm the heart and you’ll feel like you’ll want to forgive him. When he makes sure you’re ok or looks at you close with his yellow eyes, you’ll understand why Syndeo means a lot to him on this quest.
Controlling Syndeo is easier than commanding Trico. He can jump, climb, roll, and calm Trico after he rages out during battle. You’ll pull levers, push carts, swim by yourself and along Trico, and help in battle when he’s allowed. You’ll also help Trico by feeding him, pulling out Spears, and solving puzzles so that Trico and you can progress through the 8-hour campaign.
Some problems that do occur is the frame rate drops (playing on the original PS4) and the camera. When Trico stands or sits in front of the camera, it becomes hard to maneuver the camera around him. With the game also being at 30 FPS, it feels they couldn’t do much to keep the action fast pace and present a constant flow.
The puzzles though themselves are great and challenging. The platforming can be spotty at times but works when it needs too. The glass eyes that keep Trico at bay and in fear, allows you to show Trico himself that trust works both ways and that you have his back. In their relationship, no one leads and no one follows. Both are on equal terms which makes the game and its premise work well.
The music is breathtaking and relaxing. One of the best minimalist soundtrack I heard from any Sony franchise (sorry Heavy Rain and whatever you want to call Uncharted’s soundtrack). The piano arrangements compliment each moment exceptionally. When Syndeo and Trico are in the open during some cutscenes, the piano helps express the mood of overcoming a difficult task and the unseen beauty of the land you have reach. It makes you hope for a piano acoustic concert to show up in your city.
Overall, The Last Guardian left me speechless. Emotionally engage with the bond of Syndeo and Trico. Marveling at the exquisite detail of the environments and backgrounds of the simple Earth tones that don’t make the game look ugly or boring. The game gives you no direction so you will have to go into this game exploring and using trial and error while allowing the story to unfold naturally. This game is a must have and though the replay value is low, the journey and the bond alone makes it up.
5 Out 5 Yoshi Coins