“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:
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.
'The Last Guardian' is, plainly, a third-person action-adventure game. You explore a mysterious place, progressing through areas with your adorable Trico alongside.
But that description undercuts the Studio Ghibli-esque nuance in storytelling. Trico is dog-like in its expression of emotion.
I quickly grew attached to Trico (as my actual, real-life dog sheepishly grilled me from a nearby cushion).
You'll spend much of 'The Last Guardian' riding on Trico's feathers as he leaps from precarious perches to -- hopefully -- safer ground.
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.
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.
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.
Which is a big part of why the relationship with Trico develops. You're in this together! He saves your bacon over and over.
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!
Similarly, Trico is dependent on you to get rid of these creepy eye-shaped stained glass structures. He's terrified of them!
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.
And massive outdoor environments as well. Much of the game looks like a Giorgio de Chirico painting.
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.
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