The most anticipated PlayStation game ever is gorgeous, endearing, and finally here

“The Last Guardian” is a game that shouldn’t exist.

Not because it isn’t good. On the contrary, it’s an incredible game — the master work of a unique genius in director Fumito Ueda.

“The Last Guardian” shouldn’t exist because the PlayStation 4 exclusive has been in development, in some form or another, since 2007. Most video games take around two to three years to make, even blockbusters like “Destiny.” That’s because games are incredibly expensive to make, and exclusive games are especially risky — returns can only be made from sales on a single game console, rather than several.

Yet, here we are: “The Last Guardian” arrives on Tuesday, December 6 on the PlayStation 4 — a late entry in a year filled with fantastic games.

So, what is “The Last Guardian”? Here’s everything you should know:

In 'The Last Guardian,' you play as a young boy.

Sony
'The Last Guardian' was originally announced for the PlayStation 3 -- it's been in development long enough that an entire new PlayStation console came into existence while the game was being crafted.

Little backstory is given for the boy (not even a name!), but there are occasional flashes of exposition. We know he lived in a village and he woke up in this mysterious place.

Sony

Oh and also there's a massive cat-bird-dragon animal. It's called 'Trico.'

Sony

It's outrageously adorable.

Sony

'The Last Guardian' is, plainly, a third-person action-adventure game. You explore a mysterious place, progressing through areas with your adorable Trico alongside.

Sony

But that description undercuts the Studio Ghibli-esque nuance in storytelling. Trico is dog-like in its expression of emotion.

Sony
The game's camera automatically defaults to the perspective between the young boy (the player) and Trico, another nod to their bond.

Trico barks, huffs, stamps, rolls over, coos -- pet owners will instantly see where this is going.

Sony

I quickly grew attached to Trico (as my actual, real-life dog sheepishly grilled me from a nearby cushion).

Sony
Trico sees a shallow pool as a bird bath, which is just about as adorable as you'd imagine.

Interacting with Trico is more than just seeing him get hilariously lost in the trees.

Sony

You'll spend much of 'The Last Guardian' riding on Trico's feathers as he leaps from precarious perches to -- hopefully -- safer ground.

Sony
One of the game's buttons is dedicated to giving him pets, like I'm doing above. Really! And it has gameplay implications! I'll say nothing more!

There's a fair bit of carefully leaping from Trico's head or back to various places. You can climb literally all over him, including his lengthy tail.

Sony

Running, jumping, climbing, shimmying along ledges, pulling levers -- these are the main things you 'do' in 'The Last Guardian.' But it's really about how it all comes together.

Sony

Much of the game feels intensely lonely. It's just you and this massive creature trying to figure out what in the world is going on.

Sony

Which is a big part of why the relationship with Trico develops. You're in this together! He saves your bacon over and over.

Sony

See that human figure at the end of the hall? That's a stone statue that really doesn't like Trico or you. Your best option when you see one is to run!

Sony

But if they encounter Trico, he'll smash them to bits. Thus, you're dependent on his strength.

Sony

Similarly, Trico is dependent on you to get rid of these creepy eye-shaped stained glass structures. He's terrified of them!

Sony

And often, you'll need Trico to reach a high place that enables you to open a door that he can then move through. That's the flow of the game, though there are many twists and turns.

Sony

You'll explore dungeons, and massive indoor chambers:

Sony

And massive outdoor environments as well. Much of the game looks like a Giorgio de Chirico painting.

Sony

Occasionally the puzzles are frustrating or unclear, and occasionally the controls are a hassle.

Sony

But the game's few shortcomings are worth overcoming for the vast wealth of delight in playing it.

Sony

The game arrives, exclusively on the PlayStation 4, on December 6. It costs $80, and is available both digitally on PlayStation Network and in stores.

Sony

'The Last Guardian' is a nuanced, emotional masterpiece, and a game that can't be missed.

Sony

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at research.businessinsider.com.au.