The Last Guardian is one of those games that is a mixed bag. We waited a really, really long time for this game to come out and, unfortunately, it shows. If we are talking about graphical fidelity and audio then the game is fantastic. It is a really pretty game whether you are looking around the environment or staring at Trico. Unfortunately the controls in the game completely let it down. It plays like the controls were developed in the early days of the PlayStation 3, and for good reason. That is how long it took The Last Guardian to see the light of day...almost a decade. I’m really disappointed they couldn’t update the control scheme for this title but I’m sure it finally got to the point of they just wanted to get it out the door and try to recoup some of their costs.
As I was exploring the world of The Last Guardian I was impressed with how pretty it was. Often times I would simply stop playing for a moment and simply inspect the world around me. Trico also looks pretty amazing and the developers did a great job of not only bringing him to life but also making you care about him and the bond he forms with with the small boy. You have to work together to advance in the game whether it is the boy guiding Trico to help him reach otherwise inaccessible places or Trico saving the boy from a group of enemies.
As you make your way through the world there will be a number of puzzles that you will need to solve. It could be something as simple as trying to guide Trico over to a specific spot so he can stand on two legs which would allow you to gain access to a high place you couldn’t get to otherwise or venturing off by yourself for a little while to open up a gate that will allow Trico to get to where you are. After playing for a little while you will begin to come across some enemies as well. I couldn’t really do much to them except for stun them so whenever I saw an enemy I would lure them over to Trico who could wipe them out with a swipe of his paw. Fighting these guys seemed to get Trico all riled up so after the battle was over I had to spend a few moments trying to calm him down.
Navigating through the plethora of puzzles also came with mixed results. Because of the outdated control scheme it made some things unnecessarily difficult. It also didn’t help matters that the camera was completely wonky and at times it was completely useless as I just had to jump out into space and hope the boy caught on to something. Getting Trico do something for me also had its own little challenges. Trico doesn’t always listen to you. I suppose that is realistic as my dog in real life doesn’t always listen to me either but it is just as annoying in the game as it is in real life. There were definitely times where after thinking a puzzle through I came up with the solution but then the problem became getting Trico to behave how I wanted him to do. For example, if I need to get him to jump to a certain area I needed to get him to a specific spot. I could stand there and call for him repeatedly and nothing would happen. Then all of a sudden something happens and he starts listening and arbitrarily decides to do what must be done to continue on in the game. It is one of those things where when it works like it should climbing on top of Trico and staying on him as he leaps across a big chasm can be a thrilling moment, especially during those segments where you need to try and act quickly. When it doesn’t work properly though it is simply an exercise in frustration.
With all of that said I do enjoy the overall story of The Last Guardian. The development team did a tremendous job of developing the bond between the boy and Trico. It went from Trico being a frightened creature to forming a bond with the boy that would see Trico become his protector and try to make sure no harm came to the boy. The more obstacles they faced, the tighter their bond became. It can be pretty moving to see their relationship develop over the course of the game and this is one thing Ueda and his team really nailed.
As I said up above, The Last Guardian is a bit of a mixed bag. There is a beautiful story told here that is highlighted by the bond that is developed between Trico and the boy. The outdoor environments can be breathtaking at times and it can be fun to just watch Trico interact with the environment similar to how an actual dog would do in real life. As awesome as those moments are the controls and the camera let everyone down. The control scheme is pretty archaic by today’s standards and just not fun. With that said though watching that bond develop through the course of the game was enough to keep driving me forward. The Last Guardian is not a game for people who tend to get impatient. If you are a patient person though then I would definitely give this game a try and you might be surprised at how you come to care about both Trico and the unnamed boy.