The Last Guardian has promised an interesting take on the puzzle platformer idea since it was announced back at E3 2015. We were lucky enough to be invite to a preview of the game at Tokyo Game Show this year and got a taste of what it means to attempt to forge a bond of friendship between a boy and a giant monster.
As far as stories go, The Last Guardian could easily have come from a Disney movie. Boy is kidnapped by stranger, boy escapes and finds giant monster, the two become friends and learn to work with each other. The difference here is that Disney movies skip the long, tedious work of getting two different species to understand each other.
The demo provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment dropped us into the game shortly after the boy and Trico have escaped their captors; and are looking for a way out of a strange temple complex.
There were some initial issues figuring out what was going on at first, due to the fact that the boy in the game doesn’t speak any human language. This was compounded by the problem of Trico being half trained; and would only respond to commands some of the time.
SIE people on hand explained that this was still early in the game, and that Trico doesn’t yet fully understand what is being asked of it. Which is where The Last Guardian takes a massive step away from other puzzle games that saddle you with a companion to care for. In this game, you have to patiently train your magnificent beast – just like you would with a real animal.
The puzzles usually require some use of Trico to reach certain areas; and can get frustrating due to the fact that the giant cat-bird has the attention span of a sedated puppy. It won’t always do what you want it to do; at least not immediately.
Therein lies the challenge of The Last Guardian. Solving puzzles and platforming while also going through a crash course on how to train your oversized cat-bird. It may not be the game for everyone. In fact, this game will likely divide the community on whether or not it’s any good.
However, it’s a refreshing game to see in a marketplace full of shooters, action RPGs, and beat ’em ups. It’s a very simple game, and could be really something for those who want to get invested in a partnership with a virtual pet. Of course, considering that the game is being made by Shadow of the Colossus creator Fumito Ueda, this is probably all a setup for an incredibly depressing ending.