Finally played The Last Guardian


#1

One of the reasons I bought a PS3, yeah, I’ve waited a long time to actually play it. After all the media surrounding it’s troubled production and the mixed reactions, maybe I was afraid that it would disappoint me and so I decided to let the dust settle a bit. Last friday I found a copy with a discount and though “I would get it eventually so, why not?” later at home I decided to just take a look at the early moments, I’m curretly juggling between three games from my backlog but after a short period I was completely absorbed back at the world of Fumito Ueda and couldn’t put it down until I’ve watched the end.

My boyfriend doesn’t care about games, he missed the beggining hour or so, as he usually does as I start playing he simply took a nap or browsed the internet, but he slowly got pulled by the game as well, soon he was throwing me hints and making compliments to the game’s art and music. When I took my first break he turned to me and said “do not play this game without me!” it was so cute.

TLG is totally worth of Ueda’s legacy imo, just as magical and flawed as I remembered ICO and SOTC being back on the PS2, all of his games had some sort of control kink or technical issue, but his characters and universe are so compelling that you overlook all of this just in order to see what the next moment will bring. Fortunately I avoided spoilers because I got surprised constantly as well. The future looks uncertain though, as an indie developer I’m not sure he could conceive something as ambitious again, but I’m sure am looking foward to it.


#2

Still playing this and this doesn’t seem to work for me the way ICO/SOTC did which made me realize that I have become way less patient, forgiving and impressionable when it comes to videogames which is sad.

It’s the ultimate “I REALLY wanna love this but…” for me so far

So far there is literally no story so I hope the game still comes with some twist that makes me end up caring in some way.


#3

If you can’t care from the beggining I don’t think the story revelations later on will do much for you, unfortunately. For me the heart of the game lies in developing the bond between the boy and trico, which is done through gameplay from the very first minute and grows as you solve problems with them.


#4

There’s story, flashbacks even. I’ll admit you have to infer some of the story from animations and environment but they’re not difficult to infer.


#5

I played both Ico and SOTC for the first time earlier this year and adored both of them, but I’ve held off on TLG because I’ve heard so many mixed things about it. I’m leaning towards at least giving it a chance now.

But at the same time, I’m not sure I agree with SOTC having control kinks that the game had to make you overlook. SOTC had unconventional controls, but imo the game actually benefitted from them (here’s a good Destructoid article that sums it up really well: https://www.destructoid.com/shadow-of-the-colossus-controls-are-an-exercise-in-art-72997.phtml). Ico maybe—after all it was a 6 hour escort mission—but even then the game took steps to make itself mechanically tolerable.


#6

I’ve played SOTC on the PS2 and the biggest issue of the game was that framerate tanked to single digits on a lot of moments, in TLG the biggest problem is a camera that hates you, specially in tight spaces. But all characters in his games have an animation priority and physics involved in the controls that makes them feel a bit sluggish or wonky, glad he makes puzzle adventures where precision isn’t crucial and the controls certainly add to the uniqueness of his games, there are a few parts in Last Guardian where you must carry barrels through certain obstacles that are infuriating because of that, fortunately for the most part the controls are perfectly functional. It adds a layer of patience because Trico will not respond to you immediatly all the time, but since I understood that he’s supposed to act as a real animal this didn’t annoy me, actually reminded me of a giant, far more complex Agro.


#7

Genuinely my favourite game of last year, it really got under my skin. Played it all the way through twice in succession without even taking a break, and it’s not a short game.


#8

I’m planning another playthrough but I need a break, it was such an emotional rollercoaster.


#9

I enjoyed it for what it was, but I don’t think it comes anywhere near the quality of Ico or Shadow. For one thing, it is way too long. From a narrative perspective, there are some parts that could easily have been removed or trimmed to tighten the pacing, and this would have also helped to mitigate the moments where the puzzle design felt tedious and rote.


#10

I agree about the controls of Ico and Shadow. I think a lot of people just don’t want to take the time and effort to learn a control scheme which deviates from what’s expected, or have difficulty rewiring their mind to internalize a new control scheme. But when I hear talks of a changed control scheme for the Shadow remake, I get worried that people who play the game that way may be missing a crucial part of the experience. Triangle = Up. X = Down. Closing your hand to press R1 brings you more in line with your character’s action of grabbing or holding.


#11

Interesting, the game’s lenght felt perfect to me, Uncharted 4 was overlong imo but this one I felt like constantly discovering new stuff as I moved from area to area, the initial “chapters” being all about bonding with trico and learning his behaviour, the middle section being about the scenario, the enemies etc and third act being about the revelations and setting up for the climax which, for me, was just as strong as his previous games.

For me all three games form an incredible trilogy and perhaps some of gaming’s most authoral pieces to date, SOTC is still my favorite but I simply can’t put the others in a negative perspective in comparison, all of them are superlative games from their respective generations to me and the more I think about TLG the more I love it.

I’ve watched a bunch of youtube videos now that I’m not worried with spoilers anymore, and almost burst in tears along with the 8-bites girl during the final moments, I’ve read some negative reviews as well and tryed to figure out why the experience may vary so much between people, maybe what you said about rewiring your mind to learn new controls is one of the reasons as I’ve read complaints about the triangle to jump and x to crouch, also, I’m afraid trico’s adaptative AI may cause some wildly different results for many people as well. I tryed my best searching for the hidden barrels to prize him and was constantly petting his face and back, pretty much like I do with my real pets in order to get them do what I want. One of the reviewers said he had a lot of trouble in the scene where he needs to make trico swim below a gate, I just pointed in that direction and he promptly dived. Petting a digital monster may sound like a waste of time for some people, but I’m sure those mechanics aren’t there without a purpose.


#12

I’m a bit biased (my Avatar, hehe) but I think TLG is fantastic. It does so many great things all the time, personally SOTC and TLG are both just as good. Of course SOTC came out during the next-gen phase and thus was way more impactful but from what the games were doing with narration and gameplay, both are just as good. ICO is close behind, even though the game is 16 years old which tells you a lot about the quality of all 3 of the games.

Anyway, TLG is a must have if you ever owned a dog.


#13

I also just recently played this. There were multiple times that I was so frustrated by the camera and by the finicky Trico commands that I was ready to shelve the game completely. But then something magical would happen. The game has the highest highs and lowest lows of any game I’ve ever played. It is both a horribly frustrating and an amazingly gorgeous experience.

I can’t recommend it to anyone, but I am very, very glad I played it.


#14

What do you mean by “SOTC came out during the next-gen phase”?


#15

Oh, sorry. I should’ve elaborated.

I mean that SOTC came out (US release was on october 2005, in europe it came quite a bit later) months before the xbox 360 (US release on november 2005) came out. People were already hyped on modern looking video games before and most people who just didn’t care as much about SOTC were impressed by the technical trickery it used to feel modern using groundbreaking fur-tech, fake HDR shaders and some great Level-Of-Detail programming to draw the gameworld for miles without getting too many lags.

Even though it uses 6 year old tech that paled in comparision to the modern xbox specs SOTC was within the zeitgeist of games not needing more details, but rather a keen eye for artstyle and gameplay. In terms of technological trickery SOTC was a whole lot ahead of what ICO did, even though its the same console. You can still argue that this sort of advancement came for a price, SOTC causing massive lag spikes during fights on every PS2 should not be overlooked. SOTC was far from perfect in artstyle, with a bit less details I’m sure they could’ve create a great looking experience that still ran smoothly.

Even with all of this written down, some people just dig how Ueda’s style of nature and the world looks like which is some very Ghibli-movie looking stuff that a lot of people enjoy seeing.


#16

Ok that makes sense. I didn’t get a PS3 until 2008 so for me this was just one of my PS2 games without any comparisons to the next generations.

I’m definitely someone who really digs the simple, sparse, yet thoughtful art style of Ico and Shadow, to the point where I’m a bit concerned that blueprint is filling in too much detail in the upcoming remake.


#17

This is one of the few games I finished this year, so I’m right there with the thinking that this is as good as Ico and simply different from Shadow of the Colossus. I feel like The Last Guardian was more of a revisiting of some of the ideas at play in Ico, but directed more toward the relation of humanity to nature. If memory serves, I think as much as even said in some interviews.

With Ico it was kind of playing with the idea of the relation of humanity to the other in society, I think. I guess Shadow of the Colossus might be read as humanity’s relation to tradition, due to Wander’s disregard of it, but in that same vein it exaggerates it with an uncharacteristic violence to its predecessor and even its successor. Odd part is though, is that in doing that it’s more in line with the traditional violence of games, and so to move from that to more of a caring approach in The Last Guardian makes it a little more awkward to embrace, its camera and AI issues notwithstanding.

The Last Guardian wants to try to make you care through gameplay, and it stumbles along the way, but if you try to be more patient with it, it can really work well at times. Honestly, it’s such a striking departure from the more subdued way Yorda behaved in Ico.