Sony Interactive Entertainment's “The Last Guardian” holds the suspense of a deep story. You play as a young child accompanied by Trico, a giant beast that looks like a mix of animals like a cat and bird. Terrifying at first, Trico is very charming in a confused-puppy kind of way. Little do you know, those are going to be your emotions in about an hour. Early in the game, the world is exciting and mysterious, also beautiful in an abandoned-ruins kind of way. Once you get into the flow of things, everything seems to be a mess.
Communicating with Trico is exactly what it must feel if you could actually talk to a pet. Telling Trico to jump or move is followed by a suspenseful amount of time, awaiting to see if you need to repeat the command. You give it a command, and hope that it doesn’t go one ear and out the other. But it is cute to communicate with Trico, and watch his reactions, regardless if it was what you wanted or not.
While being carried, dragged, or kidnapped throughout the ruins, you can appreciate the water-paint-like art style that tells the story. Everything is elegant and blurry. It brings a sense of relaxation to the mix of vast heights and dark ruins, although sometimes it is hard to be able to enjoy these visuals. From time to time, you will often find yourself fighting with the camera controls to try and see your objective. Even while you are climbing on Trico, you might lose your character and need to just let the camera do what it wants before you can control it again.
The development of the bond between the child and Trico is one of the most enjoyable parts about the game. Having almost no means of communication, only to be attached by actions and trust, shows the real beauty in “The Last Guardian.” Obtaining trust from Trico by feeding, petting or mending its wounds establishes the initial connection. While playing through the rest of the story, Trico will grow on you like a best friend, by experiencing the dangerous endeavors that await you both.
“The Last Guardian” is heavily reliant on being careful with every step and every jump you take. Any one of them could be your last, and this is where the frustration comes into play. Already fighting with camera controls, now you need to learn how to move this child away from certain death. Clunky controls are a gamer’s worst nightmare. Giving an input and not getting the response you want, while at the same time talking to a beast that will not always do what you want either, might spoil the game for some.
“The Last Guardian” is an absolutely beautiful game, but with the downside of gameplay mechanics. It is still enjoyable thanks to the beloved Trico and the friendship that comes with the two characters. It may not be what some of the fans wanted it to be, but it is a fun story at its heart.