THE LAST GUARDIAN
Developer GenDesign, SIE Worldwide Studio Publisher SIE Format PS4
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.