The Last Guardian Review | The Game Grinder

The Last Guardian Review | The Game Grinder

Many of us already know the story of The Last
Guardian’s development. The dreaded “development hell” that games
fall into, either never releasing, and often times to our dismay, releasing far under expectations
of a game that with that amount of time put into it. Then there’s The Last Guardian. Church here, and welcome to The Game Grinder. Today we’ll be reviewing The Last Guardian. The Last Guardian was developed by the legendary
Team Ico lead by series director and designer Famito Ueda. Now know as genDesign, who previously developed
the puzzle-platformers Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, originally began development of
the game in 2007. It’s initial announcement was in 2009. Long periods went by without updates on the
game, then randomly new screenshots would pop up, or game-play trailers. Over the years people began to lose faith
and excitement as time went on. A large part of the gaming community had believed
the game would never be released and lost interest. Not this guy of course. The game was re-announced in 2015 with a tentative
date for release, and The Last Guardian was released for the Playstation 4 in December
of 2016. The game opens with the image of a relic partially
exposed in the ground. As shadow cast by a figure approaches and
we’ll awake within a ruin. As a young boy, we find ourselves in the presence
of a chained mythical beast. Unaware of where we are, how we got there,
and what this creature may be, we’ll have to make best use of our wits, and make our
escape. If you are at all familiar with Ico or Shadow
of the Colossus, and by that I mean actually played the games, then you�ll have a good
idea of some basic concepts to expect here, within the latest Team Ico game. The Last Guardian truly takes the best elements
of the companionship and exploration from Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, and brings
them together for the next evolution of this style of game. For those not familiar, this is going to be
a bit challenging for me to break it down, but I’m going to do my best here. Before going into the rest of the review,
I’m going to start with a disclaimer of sorts. I have never been so adamant about the statement
‘this is a game that has to be seen through to the end, to truly appreciate what it is,
and the story it tells.’ Why might I say that? The Last Guardian is a game that doesn’t tell
an immersive story, it allows us to experience it. There is a story to be told here. What this ancient ruin is. Who we are. What this griffin like creature is and what
is it’s significance? Clues and information about these elements
will be presented at key moments throughout the game, but the vast majority of the time
we are “experiencing” this tale, and the payoff at the end is so rewarding. It completes the experience. The vast majority of the time we’ll be playing
the game, with little dialogue, little direct story, and with little information. The entirety of the game we’ll play as the
boy, accompanied by the griffin-like, or what I’ve been jokingly summarizing as, the cat-dog-bird
Trico. As the boy we’ll have the basic actions covered. Besides the standard movements, we can climb
and hang, swim, and interact with various objects such as switches and levers, barrels
of food, and other progression aiding objects throughout the areas we visit. Absolutely everything we can directly interact
with serves a purpose, otherwise it’s us and the environments. Famito Ueda and his team bring an interesting
philosophy to their games. “Design through subtraction”, meaning, make
the most of less, and immerse the player with a little as possible. If it doesn’t pertain to the connection between
the boy and Trico and the basic premise of the game, it’s purpose is not necessary. Piecing together the information we are presented
with, key narrative moments, and the set-piece events we’ll encounter, are accompanied by
the true focus of what takes place here, the bond between man and beast. It�s not a spoiler to say that we’ll help
free Trico from it’s restraints at the start of adventure. Then from start to finish, we’ll be accompanied
by Trico. Trico is a big piece of why this game took
so long to develop. Trico is the most real representation of an
animal that can be a companion in video game form there has yet to be. If you’ve ever owned a dog or a cat, then
honestly you can know how this relation might go. Of course being a wild beast, as first it’s
incredibly untrusting, and unwilling to co-operate. As we do things to benefit the beast, it’ll
warm up to us, and by the end is as strong as a virtual bond experienced from the third-person
as there could be. This truly is what this game is all about. So, along with Trico, we face this great challenge
together. If you were to find yourself in a strange
place, escape is the answer, but here, this will not be an easy feat to achieve. This is probably the other reason this game
took so long to develop. When I say this area is one giant game level,
I seriously mean it’s one giant game level. It’s not a sandbox where we can go anywhere
we want, and that’s mostly due to it’s design. Our path is mostly a linear one, with some
side-off exploration to perform but in no way is this a negative aspect. Remember, “design through subtraction”. I mentioned before the genre being a “puzzle-platformer”. And puzzle-platforming we’ll do. Pretty much everything we see when outside
is a place we’ll probably spend some time making our way through, over, and around. It’s really neat to see places we bested previously
from vantage points later in our journey. Besides connecting corridors, nearly every
location we find ourselves in is a puzzle. Not mindbending algorithms to solve, or color
matching, but environmental. There is no easy route in sight, and once
reaching a visible location, there seems to be one prominent location in particular, so
why not make our way there. Each room we’ll require us to figure out how
to proceed to the route that may bring us closer to our goal. Within these massive ruins, we are fortunate
to have the over-sized companion to aid us, as well us as aiding it, to free ourselves. Trico is essential in this, and we are essential
to it. Trico does what Trico does, much like if we
were accompanied by any other companion. It’ll investigate the room by it’s own will,
scratch at obstacles or objects, but allow us to use it to progress. Trico lets us to climb onto it, either to
reach higher locales, or for quicker movement as we push forward. As our bond grows, it’ll become more and more
likely to listen to us to move to a location, whether walking, climbing, and even swimming! This not only allows us to continue on, but
we’ll have to interact with objects that I mentioned before to open gates, drop bridges,
and assist Trico as much as it can assist us. Trico will do the same for us when it can. This is a very mutual companionship. These ruins are dangerous. Not only for it’s pitfalls, but it’s age. Ledges may collapse, bridges will fall, but
there seems to be some other force present here. This place is ancient, and an ancient power
still remains. We’ll encounter other mythical constructs,
armored warriors by appearance that not only will attack Trico, but will try to abduct
the boy as well. Not only will Trico fight these enemies, but
we can assist in various ways not only in battle, but helping Trico recover by finding
barrels of food, and removing spears it’s been stabbed with. And there will be times when Trico will return
favor in kind. Now as I said, though it’s more discreet actively,
there is a story to be told here. We’ll be provided with big pieces of the story
at certain times. A lot of the ore adding information is provided
by narration just like previous When we awake as the boy, we’ll be introduced to our driving
narrator. These events we see here are a flashback of
the story told by an older man, recalling this encounter from his youth. Throughout the game, the narrator will tell
us interesting bits about the current experience. Not only this, but if we find ourselves stuck
in a situation, unable to progress, after a short time, the narrator will chime in with
a clue, that not only enhances the story via narration, but a very engaging way to provide
the play with a hint of what to do. I love this method of assistance. Regardless of my summarizing the story or
not, I’m absolutely serious that this is one that has to be experienced rather than told
about, and this is another game that I could not recommend more and think it’s best going
into it with as little extra info as possible. I’m going as spoiler free as I can with this
one. Onto it’s overall art design then. First off let’s talk a little more about Trico. As you can tell, it’s incredibly well designed. I can’t say I’ve seen better animated features
on an in-game creature before. Besides Trico itself, there’s some really
neat things going on with it as time passes during the game. When injured by the mythical forces, we’ll
see blood soaked feathers remain pretty consistent until Trico enters water and it washes away. Speaking of water, there’s some pretty believable
representations of what our wet cat-dog-bird friend would look like when wet. It also does that shake to dry itself off. The boy is designed pretty well also. His movements are very fluid and realistic
from running, climbing, and even sometimes falling, though the ragdoll effects can look
pretty hilarious at times. The areas themselves, within and outside of
the ruins are equally as detailed. I’ll be honest, a lot of what we see looks
kinda of similar. These ruins were definitely designed with
a theme in mind, and this carries throughout, but our greatest distinguishing feature from
one room to the next is the layout. Though this similar look throughout, there
wasn’t a single time when I felt bored examining the current area I found myself in, in fact,
quite the opposite. Nearly every place I visited got a solid few
moments of awe as I soaked everything in, not only looking for my next path, very just
breathing in the world I found myself so engaged in. I cannot express how incredibly impressive
I was was the the level design, again, it’s just so awesome to see those previous locations
from a distance, or even a few times revisiting them due to unfortunate circumstances. Though I’m not familiar with the composer’s
previous works, I gotta assume this is Takeshi Furukawa’s finest work yet. For some strange reason, many times orchestral
soundtracks don’t standout to me in significant ways over others, but there were many songs
that really stuck with me, not just for their sheer scale, but definitely because of recurring
situations where specific themes were played to heighten not only the moods of these events,
but the wonder of this world as well. This, The Last Guardian, is how a game with
a 10 year development hell cycle should turn out when finally given to the world. Not only visually stunning, but engaging and
near believable realism at times, I feel this game accomplishes exactly what it set out
to do. We’re put into a mysterious world under mysterious
circumstances, and the only chance we have is our companionship with Trico. Needless to say, Trico is the best part of
this game, not just for the creature itself, but the experience of traversing the game
world with it at our side. It’s so rare to feel this sort of a bond with
a creature in a video game creature, not only for the necessity of having Trico to aid in
our escape, but truly the companionship, and the care and concern that grows along the
journey. Hopefully I’m doing this tale justice, because
The Last Guardian is an absolutely amazing game. Impressive not only graphically and mechanically,
but emotionally as well. As I’ve already said, if you play this, I
implore you to see it through to the end to truly appreciate everything that this game
is. Definitely one of the best games of 2016 if
not the best. Thanks for checking out my review of The Last
Guardian, what were your thoughts on the game? Let me know in the comments below. If you like what you’ve seen or heard, please
give the video a like, a share, and subscribe to see future videos. I’m on Twitter and Facebook as well, and post
a lot of other great game related content there, and links are in the description. Until next time on The Game Grinder!

5 thoughts on “The Last Guardian Review | The Game Grinder

  1. Church reviews The Last Guardian for PS4

    Game Site:


    Check out the podcast I co-host, available on any podcast app:
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    Motion graphic design by Ian Peters
    Castlevania II: Monster Dance cover by a friend
    The Guardian Legend: Victory Fanfare cover by Artificialraven

  2. Even though people have reported problems with the chicken/cat/dog AI being dumb or frustrating I still think it's definitely worth a playthrough. It's one of those games that makes me regret not having a PS4. I never had a chance to play ICO but played the fuck out of Shadow of the Colossus multiple times, thought it was great. Based on your review I'd probably really enjoy this one too.

  3. Thank you for keeping the review spoilers free. I was a touch hesitant to watch the video, just in case, but I know you give a spoiler warning in other reviews. 😉 When I do get a PS4, this is one game I'd love to play for myself. Great video!

  4. Excellent review, sir. I've still yet to complete this game.. When I'm not playing too many games at once I'll get back to it.. I wouldn't want any distractions while getting lost in that world..The game is beautiful from what I played..

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