These are wonderful times for players with several years of experience on the rump as these days not one but two titles almost lost in oblivion finally arrived in stores, to the point that The Last Guardian literally pales before the delay of the companion in this adventure Final Fantasy XV. Beyond the vicissitudes related to the development and the leakage of Fumito Ueda from Sony to create his genDESIGN study, then taking part in the project as an external professional, many things have changed in the world of gaming in these seven years by the announcement.
Iconic Japanese developer, however, has remained true to his convictions although informed and updated, is not interested in the latest trends that have invaded this particular entertainment sphere, having a deep conviction that a video game is to excite and to tell a good story. Despite the significant time gap compared to its previous creations, The Last Guardian is linked hand in glove to that understanding of video games and, perhaps surprisingly, no such idea is particularly aged, and indeed it was enriched in terms of gameplay adapt to some now due today dictates. We are here to express our opinion, while minimizing the risk of spoilers also give a review less thorough than usual.
THE MYSTERIES OF LIFE
The first thing to do, as sad now customary, is to download the patch of the day-one. Just over 1 GB, which even seem few given the recent trend, aimed at fixing bugs and the PlayStation 4 Pro and HDR support; the overall size of the disc is about 14 GB, to witness the nature of the title that has its roots on PlayStation 3. Technical data in hand, we approached the game with strict compliance and big fans of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus but also with an awareness and experience more matured over time, thanks to titles that have since redefined the genre of adventures like the Last of Us and others on different systems.
The Last Guardian is focused on history in its entirety in the form of flashbacks - a boy from a remote village somewhere, who somehow finds himself in a valley from which it is apparently impossible to escape. Waking up in the company of a creature from the mythological features, as evidenced by the opening sequence that shows some of those really existed in the collective imagination.
A report intended to evolve over time, because the vicissitudes of the two protagonists will lead them to a deeper connection, to become carrier of the production column and impact in gameplay dynamics. The setting is composed of imposing structures that stretch as far as the eye, causing dizziness heights only to poke his head, requiring ingenuity obstacles to be overcome.
The collaboration between the two is so critical because the boy can move easily in tight spaces or climb buildings when there are only small holds, astride the creature can jump between very distant points or defend themselves from animated dangers that populate the environment. In the early stages you have to earn the trust of Trico removing some spears stuck in his body, then perhaps using elements of the scenario to show him the actions to be taken.
The creature does not always respond promptly, and only after several hours of play there will be a greater harmony, which will allow using some gestures (executable with R1 plus one of the four face buttons on the DualShock 4) of tame behavior. Or at least try, because maybe there will be a mirror featured eye to prevent him from continuing, something else that distracts his attention: in The Last Guardian you check the guy all the time, while his partner has its own intelligence artificial and a typical instinct of animals. But Trico is it, anyway?
We have analyzed and traced the behavior throughout the course of the game: in our opinion is mainly a feline, a grown cat scratching with his paws, which has typical expressions of an adorable cat, which before making a currency jumping eyes the distance and positions his ass. But also, of course, features of a volatile and typical behavior of a dog, able to interpret the gestures of their partner, to become attached and follow him even in moments of difficulty. Each player will draw their own considerations experiencing first interaction with this creature: suffice it to say that the Trico name is among the best candidates for the next cat that dwell in the house of the writer.
Another protagonist of passive is this sort of fluid that is the whole of the small barrels that serve as food for Trico, but also overflows in amphorae and seems to give life to persistent armor to kidnap the boy and block the road to two in any manner. In terms of level design adventure follows a similar progression, and the first few hours are beautiful but without jerks: one learns how to interact with Trico and use it to overcome otherwise impossible distances or heights, addressing environmental puzzle in which you have to activate levers or provide food - very classic - you learn the first narrative information.
Always and especially in the early hours you are moving in confined spaces, and the camera reveals some problems both when acting on their own account or when you try to manage it with the right analog, becoming schizophrenic near a ceiling or a wall close , even more if riding on Trico. You try to move an elephant in the room, but that does not mean that we would have done better.
The Last Guardian has 24 trophies, of which 7 gold. Complete it for the first time brings in gift a fairly low percentage of completion, less than 30%: to get all the trophies activities are necessary representing spoiler and that's why you do not tell, for example, together with the need to complete the adventure in less than 30, 15:05 hours, giving all the barrels in meal at Trico, to put the creature's head in all holes. Probably will end the adventure at least a second time to get the coveted platinum.
SOLITUDE AND COMPANIONSHIP
Paradoxically, following the sequence of the bridge shown during E3 in Los Angeles who comes after about 4-5 hours of play, the situation improved in every way: the camera is not a tantrum, the platforming stages acquire complexity and airiness, the puzzles become clever taking advantage of such water, the physical power of Trico, the interconnection of gears and towers with each other the story begins to take pace and there are events involving other antagonists. Resulting in arrembanti sequences and high emotional rate, during which our actions can have implications for others.
Among the best sections we have those in which the boy moves on wires suspended in the air, with the need to reach those mirrors earlier cited numerous climbing structures; We must also puzzling some 'more to understand how to proceed. The control system is extremely similar to that of the ICO , which offers among other things the triangle for the jump and not the usual X to which we are now accustomed. In The Last Guardian we have elements from both chapters, but the similarities are more precisely with the original one, also in terms of level design.
The presence of Trico, which can be scaled in a manner similar to the giants of Shadow of the Colossus, is intended to make dynamic gameplay as never before; cling to the creature, however, is automated at major gaps or leaks, no need to leave pressed a special button. Rather the relationship between the two is reminiscent of Wander and Agro, but in the case of The Last Guardian is much more pronounced, which is important in terms of gameplay and fundamental pillar of the narrative component.
In a couple of occasions they have come shining eyes as we saw on the screen, and it was exciting to see small details like the Trico concern, her wallowing in the water, the more and more fond of creating a connection that predictably explodes in the latest adventure trips. Unlike the other two works of Ueda, finally, the story is told in a simple, direct, methodically progressive, with the result that if we are less surprising. There are however different interpretations once the credits ended, that make rethink some actions done in person during the previous hours of play.
We completed The Last Guardian in just over 12 hours (timed!), An absolutely adequate duration to the type of experience that offers; starting again you can unlock the alternate costumes for the boy, tied to the data number in barrels meal at Trico, leaving the rest of replayability to the desire to relive some of the adventure passes. The menus offer a bare-bones option, with few options related to the camera and the sound: we found a bit 'annoying the constant suggestions of commands that appear in the early hours in an arbitrary way, we would have liked an option to turn them off as soon as become familiar with the control system. We have not forgotten the graphic industry, which in its artistic talent seamlessly manages to convey a sense of grandeur and solitude as well as giving memorable views of the exterior.
There are several elements that betray the nature of the product to horse generations, especially as regards used, few effects, or the interaction with the water and textures, often single-issue and not comparable with those of the latest generation of games. There are also touches like the wind interacts with the feathers of Trico, the animations of the latter is that of the boy, the enormous polygonal bulk of the creature and the valley facilities, really able to convey the grandeur of the whole.
In the strict technical sense The Last Guardian therefore suffers from ups and downs, but the strengths listed and the artistry return a satisfactory overall impact for large stretches. We played the full title on PlayStation 4 Pro with a 4K panel can interpret the HDR signal that the game supports automatically not be turned off.
In this configuration, we have found a per soft image quality and free of aliasing (we do not know which rendering technique has been used), together with perfect fluidity at 30 frames per second in most cases: in some sections outside a motion is used blur rather sharp, which depending on its sensitivity can give more or less hassle.
The HDR does an excellent job in outdoor scenes when blinded by the sun, in those indoors thanks to an excellent contrast between the lit areas and not. Surely it is apparent improvement compared to the game on 'smooth' versions of the console, which pays primarily in terms of frame rate far from being fluid as the Pro version but luckily the remaining shares all qualities that we have listed a few lines above.
As for the music industry, the excellent soundtrack created by master Takeshi Furukawa and played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra accompanies the protagonists timidly when asked, more incisive at times of emotional stress, resulting in valuable from the point purely technical viewpoint.
If you really want to get into virtuosity and comparisons, the soundtrack to Shadow of the Colossus, made up Kow Otani, enjoyed a variety of upper and arrangements, with some unforgettable pieces. Also that of The Last Guardian defends himself, but more monotonous and lacks that unforgettable song that defines the whole production. Inside the Collector's there is a code that allows you to download an application appropriate to listen to the soundtrack directly on the PlayStation 4, also with the option to export all the tracks (nineteen) Stereo MP3 format on USB stick.
The Last Guardian offers more substance than you think analyzing the two previous works of Fumito Ueda, thanks to solid gameplay oriented platformer puzzle, varied and sometimes ingenious, that sin of laziness in the first part but improves exponentially going forward. From the graphical point of view it is undoubted critical derived from a development began on the PlayStation 3, but the artistic sector and various elements such as the creation of Trico, return a far from trivial graphic impact, indeed.
The wonderful memories are the prerogative of the sense of solitude and grandeur that permeates the game world, the emotional strings are touched by the relationship between the two protagonists, also from interpretations of a story in its main narrative thread it is clear, direct, beautiful to live, no clamorous peaks.
The only true weight that The Last Guardian carries since its announcement back in 2009 was derived from the genus to which it belongs, which no longer beat as one and who knows what followed by the maximum critical gaming, especially from meters of important comparison arrived meantime. It matters little, however even without that title of masterpiece to which it could aspire to, is a game that Fumito Ueda fans and adventure lovers should play from start to finish.