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The Last Guardian

PS4 Video Games
8.5

Great

9.5

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Game Reviews from around the web

100

As with its predecessors, it has some issues with controls and performance, but these are easily outweighed by the astonishing grandeur of its scale and the lifelike connection with Trico. Like the bond that grows between you and the beast, the farther you get, the more memorable and dramatic it all becomes. The Last Guardian isn’t a perfect game, but it’s a mesmerizing adventure that we’ll never forget.

100

When the journey comes to an end, you’ll find yourself in shock, emotionally-drained, and appreciative The Last Guardian stayed in development this long and still made it to release. The entire game’s pace is perfect. The difficulty and challenge is high, and completely reliant on how observant and explorative the player is. Every section of the game is stunningly gorgeous – a real work of art. The gameplay is pure perfection (aside for some clunky controls).

100

Here is an exquisite gem, the brightest in Ueda’s enviable clutch.

100

In its finished form, the game tells a story with uncompromising vision and engrossing emotional heft. The resulting experience comes off as delicately prepared, and the mythical nature of the game’s development only enhances the fantastical tale at its core. Imagining the missteps the game could have taken if released in an unpolished rush is easy, but bickering about the build-up to The Last Guardian’s release will be long outlived by its success as an emotionally evocative masterpiece in the annals of modern gaming.

100

In The Last Guardian, Fumito Ueda is showing us how to bang out another kind of tune that makes something else move, something perhaps higher. It feels momentous, a design breakthrough I wasn’t expecting, and an experience that seems more likely to stand the test of time than others we like to point to. It calls out some of what’s crass about this industry while showing us another way forward, the shape of things to come.

100

The Last Guardian is Team ICO’s magnum opus. Everything they learned from the prior games in this semi-series has been put to use here and allowed them to craft their greatest adventure yet. Trico’s tale is one of sadness and joy, and something that everyone who enjoyed the team’s prior work should partake in as soon as possible. Newcomers will want to come in with an open mind for exploration and puzzle-solving, but if they do, they will be rewarded with the finest gaming experience yet on the PlayStation 4. Its sense of scale is unmatched and it features the best graphics yet on the console. Minor flaws do exist, but they don’t detract from the overall experience enough to make it anything less than a masterpiece.

100

Because I was so emotionally invested in the game, I started to lose time while I was playing it. I don’t think it’s an overly long game, but I do think that its length will be wholly dependent on how good you are at understanding its logic and puzzles. It wouldn’t matter if it was over in an hour, though. The game is deep, meaningful, and powerful. It’s reflective, different, and beautiful. It may well end up being more divisive than Ueda’s previous masterpieces, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a masterpiece, from one of the industry’s true auteurs. Play this game. Even if you hate it, it’s going to broaden your horizons around what games are truly capable of.

100

Fumito Ueda and his team confirms they did not lose their magic during the long and painful development of The Last Guardian. What we have here is an amazing video game with stunning characters and clever puzzles, a masterful piece of art that depicts one of the most touching stories ever told in this medium.

93

The Last Guardian is not perfect, but those issues are nothing compared to its wonderful gameplay and its beautiful setting. This game and its soundtrack will live forever in the gaming world.

91

Even if it will likely not live up to nine years’ worth of bottled-up expectations for everyone, The Last Guardian was honestly worth the wait for me, and I expect that most Fumito Ueda/Team Ico fans will agree. The journey is a special and unique one, and very much worth taking for any and all PS4 owners.

90

Details are a golden currency in Ueda’s games, and The Last Guardian greatest puzzle is their ultimate assembly. The impact in its final act is both somber and spirited, and it’s the pinnacle of the ideas it tries to put forward. I knew where The Last Guardian was going and I still couldn’t help but respond with deluge of raw emotion.

90

The Last Guardian is one of a kind and very difficult to compare to anything else in video games, perhaps besides Ico on PlayStation 2. You can feel the touch of developers who previously managed to offer something this unique and special. This adventure invites you into a fantastic world and impresses on every step, even if it sometimes also tests our patience.

90

I can state without hesitation that the wait has been more than worth it. The awe-inspiring living creature that is Trico carries this title, which would have otherwise just been a good puzzle platformer into an instant classic that I’m sure to visit time and time again, just to say hello to my new best buddy, one more time.

90

The Last Guardian does show the battle scars of its long and troubled development. It has problems maintaining a stable framerate, and the controls can be stiff and unrelenting. But the game also shares a warming, heartfelt tale of friendship. A tale so strong and confident in its telling, that most of its negative elements fade away.

90

The Last Guardian lands (at last) and the years of development are more than noticeable in the final product. Fumito Ueda shows once again that games can make you feel something else and that we are, perhaps, kind of used to trivial, hollow experiences. The worst part is the camera, your main enemy during this game where Trico will be the main conduit for the feelings. A creature that you will love from the very beginning, that you will hate to split from and that will comfort you as well as make your heart shatter in pieces.

90

A brave vision that communicates a unique message —almost anachronic—. In a sea of contemporary explosions, noise and violence, The Last Guardian is a pause that contributes to videogames with something special despite some design annoyances.

90

After ICO and Shadow of the Colossus is another masterpiece from Team ICO with a new brilliantly-crafted and aesthetically-pleasing adventure. Only its technical side could be improved.

90

Despite colossal expectations, The Last Guardian is a triumph. The tale of Trico and the boy is profound—a beautiful, affecting journey grounded by their relationship.

90

For some The Last Guardian’s iffy controls, awkward camera, and glitches might be hard to overcome. Others won’t care as they experience one of the most incredible relationships in video game history.

90

The Last Guardian is a marvelous achievement in a number of ways. Its story is subtle, but beautiful. Its world is fascinating and mysterious. And Trico will go down as one of the best characters ever made for a video game. Players are in for a wonderful treat, but that quality comes at a cost. The game struggles to run well at times, and the controls can be a chore.

90

A moving adventure starring an extraordinary companion. Framerate issues intrude, but don’t let them stop you from finishing this wonderful game.

90

The Last Guardian is a blast from the past. From when Fumita Ueda marveled us with the relationship between Ico and Yorda, or the fights against the colossi. Trico is his new achievement and it lives up to his reputation. Some technical issues muddle the work, but at least it’s one with a lot of heart.

90

When the book closes on their story, it’s hard not to open it up again and begin anew. The trials you overcome endear you to both characters, but the emotions Trico elicits make you want to give it another chance–to be the patient, effective partner it truly deserves.

89

The Last Guardian is an incredible journey with an unforgettable friend… plagued by a poor camera and some frustrating moments.

88

The long wait is over. After almost a decade of development, The Last Guardian is ready. This epic and touching adventure has a lot of great moments, but important issues with the camera stop it from being a perfect video game.

88

Quotation forthcoming.

86

Quotation forthcoming.

86

The Last Guardian has lived up to his hype offering a great adventure and some iconic moments between Trico and the boy. The first hours are less impressive, the camera could be better and the graphics have some highs and lows.

85

Highly anticipated The Last Guardian is finally here and its technical condition is so poor that I will not be surprised if someone decides to ask for a refund. Still, after a dozen hours I’m certain that my time spent with Trico was truly moving and really unique. There were moments of true agony (in terms of smoothness of gameplay and other technical aspects) but I’m willing to pay such a price for a beautiful story and an experience unlike any other.

85

The Last Guardian is, in the end, a game of enormous ambition, unique vision, and substantial risk-taking. It was never going to be perfect. But it’s well worth enduring the problems. My year in gaming was enormously enriched for having experienced this one-of-a-kind adventure, which – like Ueda’s other works – stands as a beacon for other game designer who would dare to be bold. It’s far from flawless and its appeal will not be universal, but the medium of games is wealthier for its existence.

85

The Last Guardian has finally arrived after a 10 year long wait. Fumito Ueda manages to offer a game with its own soul, but at the same time has some mistakes that were more common on the games launched 10 years ago like its camera issues and the control inaccuracies.

85

The final product doesn’t feel like a 2016 game. Instead, it’s this strange adventure that invites you to get lost in its world. I love that, and I think anyone who loved Team Ico’s previous games will appreciate what they find here.

85

For now, I’m confident in saying that although it isn’t their best work, there really aren’t too many directors out there like Fumito Ueda, and I hope for our sake, he continues to keep making games.

84

An unique and special game: beautiful, charming yet imperfect: every videogame lover should play it.

80

Despite an appalling technical aspect with camera troubles and a wacky handling, The Last Guardian is a very good story-based puzzle game that makes you feel immersed in the relationship between the boy and Trico.

80

Quotation forthcoming.

80

The Last Guardian closed Ueda’s trilogy with an important signal: the poem before the content, but the poetry tends toward the vacuum, leaving a beautiful picture to see, but not beautiful to live.

80

Despite its lingering flaws and often frustrating pacing, The Last Guardian rises above expectation to deliver an engrossing adventure. Team Ico have brought together everything they’ve learnt over their past two games to present a heartfelt tale wrapped in an often-bewildering platformer – even if it took nearly a decade to make it here.

80

Playing The Last Guardian reminds me a lot of playing Half-Life games: The actual moment-to-moment of working my way through the game involves an enormous amount of frustration and annoyance… but when I look back at it, all I see are the happy memories of the experience. That’s due in large part to the incredible design of Trico, and also to the spectacular emotive ending. Make no mistake, though, you will want to tear your hair out throughout your journey with Trico… but patient players will find the payoff justifies the suffering.

80

Not quite up to the same standards of its predecessors, but this is still an emotionally draining and beautifully realised story of friendship against the odds.

80

The Last Guardian feels meticulously pieced together and is easily one of the PlayStation 4’s stronger exclusive titles. It’s risky and unconventional, flouting modern design practices in a way that few other AAA game would dare to in 2016. Although far from perfect and a little worn from age, it’s a one of a kind experience and hopefully won’t be the last we see from Fumito Ueda and this enchanting world.

80

Ultimately The Last Guardian isn’t about pulling switches or leaping over gaps. It’s about your smile when you see Trico doing something silly, your compassion when you watch it struggle, and your relief when the creature shows up at just the right time. That’s what you get here that you can’t find anywhere else, and it is enough to make The Last Guardian worth playing.

80

The most beautiful and touching friendship this year, in spite of somewhat unstable game mechanics.

80

After over seven years it feels surrealistic to finally play The Last Guardian. Has it been worth the wait? No idea – some players will complain about the unpolished controls, the graphics and the bad camera angels. On the other hand the story is beautiful and the world is as stunning as it was in Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. For us, this is one of the best adventures in recent years.

75

Yes, there are many frustrating elements, amplified by the fact they feel unnecessary and out of character for the series, but the journey this game takes you on is a worthwhile one. Unlike any other series of games I know, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and now The Last Guardian each give you a real sense of place in a foreign landscape and you always come away from that feeling, “you were there.” In this day and age, that is still special I think but I genuinely hope the next game in this series doesn’t take another decade to make.

75

In its best moments, The Last Guardian pulls off feats that could only be done on modern hardware; at its weakest, it’s not just “like a PlayStation 2 game,” but like a particularly rough, unpolished PlayStation 2 game, one that recalls the legacy of its forebears, but can’t quite recreate it.

75

A heartwarming story, a mysterious world, and a slowly-growing bond between two unlikely companions ensure that fans of Team Ico’s past work won’t be disappointed. Clunky controls and a handful of graphical issues, however, mean that The Last Guardian may not be an enjoyable game for everyone—though, either way, Trico is adorable.

70

The unresponsive controls, sub-par optimization and frustrating, extraneous gameplay elements shackle The Last Guardian to the past, while the emotional story and awe-inspiring imagery beg to be unleashed. It succeeds on the strength of its imagination alone, with no help from any other aspect.

70

Yes, The Last Guardian’s controls are incredibly archaic and at times can be entirely broken, but two days after finishing it, the story has stuck with me. Studio Japan has continued to show how it can do so much while saying so little. The environment, characters and everything about the narrative captivated me. In spite of the controls I still thoroughly enjoyed the game overall. The story is a simple one, but powerful nonetheless.

70

In The Last Guardian players form an incredible bond with Trico, tested in an adventure worthy of Fumito Ueda’s vision. The challenge of not just the puzzle-platforming obstacles, but of understanding this otherworldly creature, creates a connection more genuine than any players are likely to have experienced in other games. Everything that would make the game a beautiful and unique classic to match or even surpass its predecessors is here, but like its captivating star the game doesn’t always perform as you’d hope. We hope the developers are able to remedy the bitterly disappointing frame-rate problems, but until such a time they cannot be ignored.

70

Even if The Last Guardian can sometimes get straight to our hearts, we cannot turn a blind eye to the frustrating gameplay. Its narrative fails to truly immerse the player, as the game mechanics lack to convey emphasis and empathy.

70

Story wise and visually the game has a lot going for it, but mechanically there are some genuinely troubling areas. Everything works, but it is nowhere near as polished as it should be, and occasionally that lack of polish hurts the overall experience. The Last Guardian is going to be a memorable release; there’s no doubt about that. But its legacy won’t be quite what fans had hoped.

70

The divide between the highs and lows of The Last Guardian is staggering. For every wonderful moment of absolute beauty and emotional attachment to its lifelike companion, there’s an equal and opposite baffling moment that ruins the mood with frustrating controls and camera angles. But I found myself willing to put up with all of these hiccups if it meant experiencing any of its multitude of incredibly-beautiful moments.

70

The Last Guardian offers some nice puzzles. However the gameplay mechanics are too outdated. Therefore, the game is not as good as it could have been.

65

I wish I could say I love the game, that its plagued by only minor setbacks, but I cannot honestly do that. I can’t look back at how much time was spent not enjoying myself, at how much time was spent actively wrestling with the game to wring anything worthwhile from it, and say I played the masterpiece many are going to say it is. Maybe, a long time ago, that’s something I’d have been able to say. Not today though. Not today.

65

The world is stunning, the bond between the boy and Trico is a beautiful example of love and friendship, and the story is gripping, it’s just a shame there are so many technical issues holding it back.

65

Somewhere underneath the broken gameplay and terrible camera controls lies a lot of potential for a great game.

60

There is artistry behind The Last Guardian’s concept, but in stumbles in execution, creating a journey that is far less fascinating than the relationship that lies at its story’s core.

60

While some parts of its narrative had me emotionally invested in the relationship between boy and beast, constantly fighting against the game’s broken mechanics left me unimpressed. My frustrations with Trico often ignoring my commands made interacting with the world more difficult and time-consuming than I wanted it to be. There are moments in The Last Guardian with potential, but ultimately, it’s more flawed than the authentic experience I was hoping for.

60

Figuring out The Last Guardian’s puzzles—like the one in which a broken wheelbarrow must be used as a makeshift catapult—isn’t nearly as difficult as getting Trico to cooperate. Timed sections are the worst; miss the narrow window in which Trico chooses to cannonball into a lake, temporarily raising its water level, and it’s anybody’s guess how long it may be before he willingly does so again. The game also poorly defines its objectives, so much so that sometimes the best thing for you to do is simply climb aboard Trico and see if he’ll leap to some new perch, carrying you forward.

60

The Last Guardian’s story is moving and beautifully told, but the poor execution of its dated mechanics hold it back from the greatness of its predecessors.

Game Reviews from around the web

The world of The Last Guardian is an architectural and graphical masterpiece that you’ll want to explore every inch of, with well-animated characters that can evoke some real emotion without a word. So when you’re stuck for 15 minutes at a time wondering where to go and fighting with an uncooperative Trico to go there, rather than exploring that wonderful world, it can be pretty grating…The Last Guardian is beautiful enough that it might be worth the struggle. But I also wouldn’t blame anyone for giving up on this flawed masterwork partway through.

Eschewing the spare storytelling of previous Team Ico games, The Last Guardian’s plot unfolds in a series of easily digestible cutscenes. It’s a dark fairy tale that probably isn’t quite what anyone expected, but ultimately serves to make the friendship at the core of the game even more remarkable. The Last Guardian is about two lost souls becoming one, and the strength and joy found in that conjunction.

This is such a beautiful, naturalistic creation—in aesthetic and spirit—and this tendency to help the player along feels like some outside force that’s latched onto it and exerted its control. After waiting nearly a decade to play this captivating labor of love, it would’ve been safe to assume its audience has the patience needed to appreciate it.

The miracle of The Last Guardian is not that it escaped development hell, but that it did so with an unwavering vision as clear and uncompromised as it was on its first day. Not only is there a game available this week called The Last Guardian, that game is The Last Guardian.

Summary

Don't let the fact that this feels like a PS2 game prevent you from experiencing another masterpiece from Team Ico.
8.5

Great

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