THE LAST GUARDIAN

De­vel­oper GenDe­sign, SIE World­wide Stu­dio Pub­lisher SIE For­mat PS4

EDGE - - THE EDGE AWARDS -

For all its size and ob­vi­ous ca­pa­bil­ity, we’ve never wor­ried so much about a videogame com­pan­ion as we have about Trico. We share the winc­ing pain of ev­ery hide-pierc­ing spear, pity its sub­servience to a cor­ro­sive sor­cery, and feel a wrench of over­whelm­ing guilt when­ever the The Nest’s crum­bling ar­chi­tec­ture ne­ces­si­tates sep­a­ra­tion – Trico’s dole­ful yowls be­tray­ing its child­like strug­gle to un­der­stand that, in or­der to pro­ceed to­gether, oc­ca­sion­ally we must part ways.

Per­haps this is how di­rec­tor Fu­mito Ueda felt as he was bom­barded, for the best part of a decade, with a tor­rent of pres­sure from Ico and Shadow Of The Colos­sus fans ea­ger for more. But while it’s clear from the fi­nal game that The

Last Guardian could have done with longer still for a lit­tle more pol­ish­ing, Ueda, along with his GenDe­sign and Sony teams, have spent their time well.

Trico is a stag­ger­ing cre­ation, suf­fused with life and per­son­al­ity – a liv­ing weapon whose pres­ence in­verts the tra­di­tional role of the player and sets up some in­ge­nious puz­zles. And in al­low­ing the beast to op­er­ate ac­cord­ing to its own in­stincts and will, rather than kow­tow im­me­di­ately to the de­mands of the player, Ueda has re­con­fig­ured the con­di­tions for suc­cess in a fas­ci­nat­ing way – lo­co­mo­tive skill and puz­zle-solv­ing alone aren’t enough; now you must learn to em­pathise with a myth­i­cal, of­ten in­scrutable, crea­ture too.

All of this takes place in yet an­other enig­matic cor­ner of Ueda’s in­tox­i­cat­ing uni­verse, in which a tee­ter­ing castle built to out­landishly tall spec­i­fi­ca­tions oc­cu­pies a cav­ernous rock struc­ture. This place’s state of dis­re­pair makes its dis­in­te­grat­ing walk­ways pre­car­i­ous, but each peace­fully de­cay­ing area hints at past grandeur. Nav­i­gat­ing this ver­tig­i­nous space with Trico in tow ex­poses the game’s some­times finicky con­trols and ob­sti­nate cam­era, is­sues that would spoil a lesser cre­ation. It is not nearly enough to dis­grace such a tow­er­ing game.

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