Game review: The Last Guardian – engaging and straightforward action adventure

A warm, charming, and inviting adventure in which a strong bond of trust and friendship is forged between a small boy and a towering mythical beast

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 January, 2017, 3:10pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 January, 2017, 3:10pm

The Last Guardian

Sony Interactive Entertainment

4.5 stars

The Last Guardian begins with you, a small boy, waking in a cave near a giant beast with spears in its side. After tending to its wounds and gaining its trust, you and the creature make your way out of an enormous castle.

Along the way, you develop a bond and learn the only way to survive and progress is through collaboration and working together to escape. The story is told in flashback, evidenced only by the young boy narrating some of the on-screen action as memories he’s sharing as an old man.

This incredible adventure game is full of heart, charm, and personality, even if some of the technical hiccups make it stumble at times. The colossal delays for The Last Guardian (it was previously cancelled, and many doubted it would ever see the light of day in any form) should have little to do with a player’s expectations of what the game is actually like once you boot it up.

That said, the sequel to the acclaimed Shadow of the Colossus is a charming and straightforward title that doesn’t concern itself with twitchy battles and item management. Instead, it’s a streamlined adventure where a strong bond of trust and friendship is forged between a small boy and a towering mythical beast. It helps that great care went into creating the beast, Trico. A mix between a giraffe, cat, dragon, bird, and, seemingly, every other animal, the creature feels alive.

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It’s also a nice contrast with exploring the castle and floating island, which is fraught with peril and steep drops. Since the boy has no health bar, it encourages you to be bold in your exploration. Risking terrifying falls is a routine part of The Last Guardian (a PlayStation 4 exclusive) as Trico’s height is key to progressing.

The game is a sequence of moments interrupted by progress and forward momentum. Trico can leap over towering walls and zap lightning from his tail to remove wooden walls, and he has other abilities you can use once you bond with him. This stopping and starting is only marred by a camera that struggles to keep up with the scope of the castle, the size of Trico, and the perspective of the small boy at the same time.

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When the camera isn’t showing the wrong side of a wall, you can expect it to frequently give you a sense of claustrophobia. Although these are things that might be patched in the near future, they shouldn’t deter you from exploring The Last Guardian, a warm, charming, and inviting adventure.