We’ve been playing Fumito Ueda’s The Last Guardian for the past week here at T3 Towers and, we’ve got to say, we’re really impressed. However, as the game is very much an experience, we’ve decided to list the things we like most about it without telling all and spoiling it for potential players.
First up, however, watch The Last Guardian’s awesome PSX 2016 launch trailer:
1. It's a game by Fumito Ueda
If that name means nothing to you then it’s time to get an education. Fumito Ueda is the chap behind legendary gaming art pieces Ico and Shadow of the Colossus which, to this day, are considered some of the best video games ever made. When both titles were given HD remakes and packaged together in a special collection in 2011, T3’s sister site GamesRadar said “Ico and Shadow of the Colossus were both easy 10s when they were released”, before praising the remakes and Ueda’s vision.
2. Its art style is beautiful
One thing Ueda has always had an eye for is epic, characterful art styles, with his past titles - even well over a decade ago when gaming graphics were blurry and low-res - delivering a series of impactful images that lingered on well after you had finished playing. The Last Guardian is no different, with Trico (the half-bird-half-mammal creature seen above) so central to the game, as well as the world he inhabits, incredibly well-realised. Epic ancient-world structures blend seamlessly with fantasy wilderness and dungeon to great effect.
3. It’s a hybrid between Ico and Shadow of the Colossus
If you played Shadow of the Colossus then you will know that in order to take down the gigantic mythical beasts standing between you and your goal you had to literally scale them. This would often involve grabbing onto the foot and then scaling the entire beast to its more vulnerable upper regions. In The Last Guardian the same climbing mechanic is utilised, however this time you are using it to scale Trico to reach new areas or solve Ico-style puzzles, rather than go on a murderous rampage.
4. It sets its own pace and sticks to it
If you are used to the frenetic fast pace set by most modern video games, where the modus operandi is to shoot first and think second, then The Last Guardian will definitely be a shock to your system. Ueda’s titles have always had their own stately pace and the same is true with The Last Guardian, with the title completely unafraid to enforce its intended rhythms on the player. This adds to the atmosphere in The Last Guardian and before too long it feels incredibly natural, with moments of intensity puncturing it to dramatic effect.
5. It’s got a giant bird dragon dog thing in it that you can ride
The boy protagonist in The Last Guardian must work with a large mythical creature called Trico, which is like a mashup between a dog, bird and dragon. Ueda has clearly spent a lot of time on Trico as its movements and personality are really rather natural. Its scale, compared to the boy, is also really impressive. By utilising the animal’s immense size (you can climb up onto it for example) and special abilities correctly you progress through the game. Which you’ll need to because...
6. It’s a platform puzzler
…it’s a platform puzzler. The world you and Trico inhabit in The Last Guardian is like one giant puzzle. To solve it you need to traverse tricky terrain, work in tandem with Trico and solve a series of puzzles, which range in complexity and type. Only by exploring the amazing landscape carefully and thinking creatively about potential solutions to obstacles can you progress.
7. It looks jaw-dropping in 4K
Playing The Last Guardian on PS4 Pro is simply breathtaking. The aforementioned gorgeous art style displayed at 3840 x 2160 resolution is simply stunning and really helps the world pop. From the smallest details like watching the feathery scales of Trico waft in the breeze, to gazing at huge monolithic structures embedded in mountain sides, The Last Guardian looks amazing in 4K.
8. It’s a game for adults
Yes! Saints be praised! This is wonderfully mature title that, while it can be enjoyed by younger gamers, is clearly designed with adults in mind. Its subtlety and demand of the player to submit to its pace and puzzle-solving mechanics, rather than fall into tired, clumsy action and hand-holding “go here and do that” guidance at all times is really, really refreshing. It also has no user interface (UI) either, which is great for maintaining immersion.
9. Its audio is superb
And talking of immersion, The Last Guardian’s audio is really atmospheric. Again, it smartly focuses on supporting the environment the player is in or the actions they are undertaking, building atmosphere and tension. When trapped in gloomy, dank caves for example, falling water droplets splash on the edge of hearing, while a thin, whistling wind seeps in through cracks inside its echo-filled walls.
10. It’s a piece of art
And, lastly, The Last Guardian is a piece of art. What more did you expect from the man behind Ico and Shadow of the Colossus? Ueda has delivered a wonderfully emotional story about companionship and trust in one of the most visually spectacular and well-realised gaming experiences made to date.