Family Video Game Review: The Last Guardian

The Last Guardian is game that has been in development at Studio Japan for almost a decade. It was originally announced before the PlayStation 3 was released. Having taken so long to be developed, I would not have been surprised if the game was never released at all.

Trials and tribulations aside, the game was finally released on <date> and it is better than expected considering those troubles.

The Last Guardian features a young boy and his adventures in a mysterious set of ruins alongside a bird/dog/gryphon monster named Trico.

Trico is probably the most realistically animated and designed animal in video game history. He roams around the environment freely, bathes in random pools of water, and makes frighteningly sudden leaps to higher ground. Trico is trapped in these ruins and wants his freedom just like the main character. The two of them must learn to work together to overcome obstacles and escape.

But, it is clear that Trico is just an animal.  He will often behave just like a dog or a cat would. This is simultaneously one of the best, and worst parts of the experience.

The game does not give you a lot of direction regarding where to go in each level. So there were more than a few scenarios where I thought I knew what to do and waited for an obstinate animal to come help me only to find out that it wasn’t the right thing in the first place.

This was a challenge, and it made some segments frustrating, but it didn’t take away from the experience as a whole. It was still a thoughtful adventure through a wild and interesting space that kept my attention throughout.

The Last Guardian is a sight to behold. Between Trico’s animations, the unique art style used for the main character, and the gorgeous vistas there was no shortage of pretty things to look at as I played. The visuals alone were a more than worthwhile reward for playing the game.

Is it a kids game?

The Last Guardian has brief moments of intensity, and a little bit of blood. But, by and large, this is a game that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Can kids play it?

The Last Guardian is a puzzle game at its core. This means that making forward progress in the game will require thorough, patient exploration of detailed environments.

There is very little in the game that points players where to go, so it is important that players be patient and willing to explore without getting frustrated easily. It is very easy to get lost in these vast environments.

There is a narrator who helps provide some guidance at key points in the game, but these are few and far between.

The controls are very intuitive once you get used to them so even relatively new gamers should be able to navigate the world relatively easily.

Conclusion

It is hard to recommend The Last Guardian to everyone. It is a beautiful game with some ingenious puzzles. But, the core mechanic involves solving puzzles alongside an animal that just doesn’t want to cooperate with you a lot of the time.

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