February 07, 2017
The Last Guardian - Review
Unless we're mistaken, The Last Guardian was a game announced in early 2007...in which there were countless development delays. Some say it's to do with funding, some say it's to do with Team Ico wanting to get the visuals perfected. Nonetheless, this has to be one of the longest game fans have had to wait, being roughly a decade.
The next question anyone has is...'is it worth the 10 year wait???' Well, that's something you'd have to find out for yourself OR read the following review. Lets get into it.
First thing that pops into mind, "Is the Last Guardian a game that's stuck in the past"? That's a question that's tough to answer...but we're leaning towards yes...well, at least from a visual/graphic perspective. Sure, the developers mentioned that one of the reasons for the delay is due to the rendering of Trico (creature in the game) to the point where they wanted each individual feather to move on its own and having perfected the movement of the creature itself. This is a little bit of a tough one to answer...and sure, they did actually perfected the movement of Trico to the point where it is believably a creature that has existed...however....visual render doesn't justify the long wait. We're now in an era where games are so close to life like, sometimes it's hard to tell reality to computer generated graphics. With games like The Division and The Last of Us, it's hard to say that The Last Guardian gets a pass on graphics, especially after a 10 year wait. When other games have shown a massive improvement and visual development, The Uncharted series comes to mind, Trico shows very little improvement to the modern day standard.
This doesn't necessarily mean the game is automatically a write off. If you were a huge fan of the previous two games Team Ico released (Ico and Shadow of the Colossus), then there's still hope for you to enjoy The Last Guardian. As you play through the various puzzles and follow it's story line, you can't help but feel similarities from The Last Guardian's predecessors. Mainly from Ico when it comes to running around, working out puzzles to move ahead in the story. Additionally, when climbing Trico, you can't help but feel nostalgic when battling the giants in Shadows of the Colossus. But it leads back to the question, is this a game that is stuck in the past with very little improvements? The narrative doesn't explain too much except the main character, in which you control, wakes up with tattoos over his/her body, next to Trico....a large creature which you help free from it's chains, and work together to climb through a giant city placed on the edges of a mountain. Besides that, not much more can be said as we're trying to keep this review SPOILER FREE. That being said, the deeper you go into the game, the more that there are hints that there are much more to Trico than meets the eye.
In terms of puzzles, the game heavily relies on you unlocking large doors and gates held closed by levers, as well as having to use Trico to climb up to higher platforms or destroying enemies (possessed statues?) when being chased. There are no specific chapters to divide up the puzzles making the game feel large in terms of an ever ongoing maze which would never end. That being said, the game itself is a typical one dimensional narrative in which players are pretty much forced to go from one to the next puzzle. Controlling the characters could also get a little frustrating due the lack of control development (from what we can guess). Jumping and running from platform to platform feels rather clunky in comparison to newer games that have been released over the last couple of years.
Overall, if you're a fan of the story, ambiance and feeling that Ico and Shadow of the Colossus gives...then you'll most likely enjoy this game. Also because it's so mysterious and simple...don't forget, with Shadows of the Colossus, nothing was ever really explained well...you just knew you had to defeat giants by working out how to get to a specific point. For someone who's been waiting 10 years for this game to be released...it's a little hard to say that it's not a disappointment. Controls lack accuracy, graphics and visuals look great...but seem rather dull when you look closely. It's really hard not to compare it to the industry's standard these days.
The simplest way to put it is: Like Captain America, The Last Guardian is stuck in the past with very little development to catch to games being released these days. On a good note, there had been recently been a price drop for the game (permanently), therefore making it worth purchasing ONLY if you, a) know what to expect; and b) are a fan of Team Ico's games. If the game were released 10 years ago, then by all means, we'd highly recommend it...but the fact that most games have advanced ahead in terms of every aspect of the industry....it leaves TLG in it's dust.
Thanks to PlayStation Australia for supplying the game for review