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The Last Guardian PS4 Game Review

December 18, 2016

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The Last Guardian PS4 Game Review - Reviewed by Kidzworld on Dec 18, 2016
( Rating: 5 Star Rating)

After nearly a decade of waiting, The Last Guardian has finally released. Check out Kidzworlds PS4 game review to see if it was worth the wait.

By: Max Cannon

The Resident Evil franchise holds a special place in my heart and I love some of the design choices in the earlier games. The controls are rough and aiming is a nightmare but that adds to the horror. Some thought that those choices enhanced the game while many felt that they take away. Were those elements deliberate from the developers or are they just flawed decisions that players smothered in imagination?

The Last Guardian follows this philosophy by simultaneously being my favorite game of the year and also one of the most frustrating.

Trico stretches and enjoys his new freedom.Trico stretches and enjoys his new freedom.Courtesy of Sony

A Long Time Coming

The Last Guardian is mostly known for its troubled development. Initially announced as a PlayStation 3 game in February of 2007, the game went mostly dark after being shown off with an E3 tease in 2009. Many thought that was title was dead and would be canceled until it showed back up at E3 2015 with an impressive stage demo during the Sony conference. Team Ico's followup to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus would actually release and it even looked pretty good. 

The game opens up with a young, unnamed boy waking up to find himself trapped in a cave next to a giant creature - a bird/dog/cat hybrid - which the game calls a Trico. The boy and Trico work together to escape their imprisonment and get the boy back home to his village. Telling anymore of the story would ruin some great surprises but the real star of the show is Trico.

Much like Trico, the game often feels like it doesn't want to listen to you.Much like Trico, the game often feels like it doesn't want to listen to you.Courtesy of Sony

Teaching A New Dog Some New Tricks

Graphically, the game pendulums between some great highs and some low lows. Performance is less than ideal and while I've heard of some real struggles on PlayStation 4, I even had a few hitches on my PlayStation 4 Pro - nothing here is a deal breaker but it's worth mentioning.

Gameplay is made up of platforming and puzzle solving with only a couple of tools at your disposal. The first tool is a shield that starts the game out and quickly goes away. The second is Trico. As much as a partner to move the story forward, Trico is also your greatest multi tool. You can use him to knock over pillars, open doors, and climb up to hard to reach spots. However controlling him and the camera are where the real struggles are.

Trico catches the boy in his mouth.Trico catches the boy in his mouth.Courtesy of Sony

While much of the game is about bonding with your new pet that doesn't mean there isn't any action. There are enemies that can be fought but you can't do much about them so it's up to you to lure Trico in for the kill. And you'll find yourself doing some daring leaps that put Nathan Drake to shame. In fact the game has so many set pieces that I think it must have taken a bit from Uncharted's playbook.

The camera in The Last Guardian is bad. It's constantly getting stuck on walls, on Trico, or pointing where you don't want it to. That's part of the issue with developing a game that puts a giant character in small confined spaces but it doesn't excuse an issue that plagues the game from beginning to end. 

There's not much you can do about enemies without Trico.There's not much you can do about enemies without Trico.Courtesy of Sony

As the story progresses so will your ability to control Trico, not through any stats or in-game experience but through your understanding as a player. Toward the end of the game I couldn't tell if Trico was listening to me because his bond had grown with the boy or if my bond as the player had grown with him. Toward the beginning I spent a long while trying to get Trico to carry us both over a bridge. I jumped and shouted and pointed but he wouldn't take me where I needed to be, but once the story had progressed far enough I understood how to get him where I needed him to be. 

The Last Obedience School

I don't just love Trico the way I love Sully or Elena in Uncharted. I love Trico the way I love any of my childhood pets. He's adorable, loveable, and as infuriating as a real pet - which is what makes him so endearing. The boy is his protector as much as he is yours. Every chasm crossed is a small victory for both the player and the developing relationship between the two. Though the late game has fewer miscommunications between the boy and Trico they'll always happen every now and then.

The Last Guardian is one of the first games to create a perfectly living character. While the opening of the game had me looking at the strings holding the game together, I began to see more than textures and a character model. Trico was a real character that was always feeling something, he was truly alive. 

Trico plays and emotes just like a real dog might.Trico plays and emotes just like a real dog might.Courtesy of Sony

Final Thoughts

Despite its flaws, The Last Guardian is my favorite game I've played this year. The camera breaks immersion through some great moments and Trico won't always listen but that in no way outweighs the highs of the story and the connection I felt to my new pet. If you want a technical showcase for your console than you'll want to move on but if you have the patience to see it to the end then you'll see why The Last Guardian is my favorite game of 2016.

Pros

  • Trico
  • Great Story
  • Impressive Action Set Pieces

Cons

  • Poor Camera
  • At Times Frustrating

The Last Guardian PS4 Game Rating:5

Available now for PlayStation 4

The Last Guardian Box ArtThe Last Guardian Box ArtCourtesy of Sony
Have Your Say!

Have you played The Last Guardian? Have you played either of Team Ico's other games? Share your thoughts below!