The Last Guardian (PS4)

  • A place to share your thoughts on, and discuss, The Last Guardian.

    I finished the game mere moments ago and it really made an impression on me. Color me impressed.
    I can't help but to be astonished by the way Trico was executed. It really feels like an animal that thinks and has a personality.

    Let's just adress that yes, it has got issues with frame rate, controls and camera. In the beginning I was really taken back by it, but a few hours in and I could not care less. I was so immersed and captivated by the world and by Trico.

    It is a beautiful game running at a very cinematic frame-rate with a heart warming, and wrenching, story.

    What are your impressions of this long awaited game? Was is worth the wait?

  • @Fridge-man I want to jump in before the spoilers pop up so I don't have to read them:
    I haven't played the game yet, but I've heard that Trico's AI can be finicky. I know Ueda has said that he wants the player to end the game feeling that Trico is real. Do you think that was an intentional choice to make it seem more lifelike and less like a game mechanic?

  • I appreciate that the game played with your expectations of whether or not the boy or Trico would die. I don't understand all the hate for the controls but I'm guessing not a lot of people played both this game and Ico.
    That's what this game was, Ico 2, and I'm happy it exists. I've always felt that Ico was a better game on its own compared to Shadow of the Collosus, but I've replayed SotC a dozen times and only finished Ico once, so this is a great way to revisit that style of game but with a much more interesting companion.
    I was disappointed that the Master of the Valley didn't live up to the Witch or Dormin's incredible payoffs at the end of their respective games, but I felt good about the ending of The Last Guardian. However, the endings of Ico and Shadow of the Collosus stuck with me because they went in odd directions, and fell somewhere between a happy and sad ending, and unfortunately this one is probably the least memorable ending of the three. Looking back, I won't think too heavily on the ending of this game, but on Trico itself and all the wonderful hijinks you get into together.
    I loved it, truly.

    But why did it have to come out right around FFXV, Let It Die, the final RE7 demo and so much more? I felt like there was an overload of information surrounding the PS4 that prevented me from focusing completely on the game. Oh well.

  • @naltmank It is definitely meant to convey realism. This is not a spoiler, but the more you feed Trico, the more you earn its trust and get it to obey your commands quickly and accurately.

  • @SunnyMoose104 I haven't played through ICO or Shadow of the colossus. I still really loved the ending and I felt it was definitely memorable and impactful. I totally agree that The Master of the Valley payoff could've been better. It felt somewhat underdeveloped and not properly implemented.

    I also don't get why the Tricos would kidnap children to turn them into barrels. They can obviously eat children. Is it that they can't digest humans, but can digest wood?

  • I have to admit, the last hour of so of this game was an emotional roller coaster for me and I totally shed some tears, especially with that music near the end and the scene after the credits. This game will stick with me for a long time and I can't really say that about anything else I played this year.

  • @Sora I thought Uncharted 4 would stick with me the most this year, but boy was I wrong.

  • @Fridge-man Pretty sure the master of the valley was sucking out the kids' lifeforce before stuffing their body in a barrel and firing the empty flesh off to be consumed or something like that.

    I thought the first third of the game was terrible and boring, but as soon as you get eaten the second time and see that amazing flashback cutscene the game really takes off and is a good ride until the very end. The last sequence was particularly impressive, and after seeing pretty much the same thing through most of the game I didn't expect anything of a scale like that to be around the corner. My favorite parts of the game were when you'd be looking down and realize just how far you'd climbed up. Games have done it before but never this well.

    Was a little disappointed with the ending. Yes, I saw the scene after the credits, I just mean that the central tower was still standing when it was pretty heavily implied to be collapsing before the credits. Would have been more satisfying knowing I ripped that sucker down. Also, I kind of expected a New Game + where you could go in those blue doors you saw throughout the game and find additional lore rooms, instead I read on IGN those are just Game Over areas if you actually somehow manage to get carried into one despite how laughably easy it is to both get away from the armor dudes and wiggle out of their grip once one has grabbed you. On that note, wow this kid can fall far without dieing.

    I think the game overall is impressive, not really as a puzzle game since lots of them are repetitive and only afew really stand out, but just in the sense you get of bonding with an AI beast companion. I know lots of people have lost patience with Trico, but once you understand why Trico acts the way Trico acts you have to marvel at knowing devs not only programmed something to follow your commands but to act like a real animal would. Trico's animations, gestures, actions, sounds, visuals, etc. were well worth every stock PS4 frame drop. I bet the camera could've been better if they weren't rushing to finally release the game though. Oh yeah, and the rolling the cage part was the absolute worst.

    Final thoughts though, do you think they still eat people? They gotta eat something.

  • @Mbun I do think having had a dog/cat definitely helps with understanding Trico. Cats and dogs don't follow your every command and neither does Trico.

    From what I could understand, the master of the valley made them eat people (because humans are special because plot). They seemed to eat humans like birds of prey eat mice (and I don't recall seeing teeth) so I'd say it's safe to assume that it has to be about human sized. Their feet/claws and forward facing eyes suggest that they are predators. I think they probably still eat people to some regard, but try to avoid it when possible since we can hurt them. But animals like boars/pigs/deer/sheep etc would be my bet.

  • First of all, just as a disclaimer. Ico and Shadow of the Colossus made me want to become a videogame developer, team Ico games mean more to me than I can put into words.

    Secondly, I don't mean to discourage anyone from playing it, and I'm glad if you liked the game, I still think it is definitely worth playing no matter how many issues I have with it.

    All those things considered, The last guardian is probably one of the biggest disappointments of my gaming life.
    Lets get it out of the way, the camera is simply a BAD implementation, it's clumsy twitchy and overall uncomfortable to direct, there's also a "fade to and from black feature" when the camera clips with geometry that is simply disorienting.
    It seems to be aiming for cinematic shots but it simply makes it a pain to maneuver in the environment, specially in vertical sections and close quarters.

    The controls while serviceable when controlling the kid by himself also have a ton of problems. While holding on to trico, it is sometimes incredibly inconsistent the direction that will actually take you to the spot you want to be in. It seems it sometimes uses character relative and sometimes camera relative controls, and it never comes across as intentional.
    Several times through the game, I tried to press the X button to release trico, which seemed to just make the kid jitter and go back to holding the bird, occasionally holding down X worked, but occasionally just pressing X made the kid go full on limp ragdoll and fall to his death.
    Moreover, the game insists on assigning multiple actions per button, which is specially problematic on the circle button. You want to point that laser? nope you're too close to a barrel you picked it up instead, want to pick up that barrel? nope Trico is too close so the game decides you want to pet him instead.
    Sure, some of these issues are minor and only occasional but they constantly appear throughout the experience, and due to the amount of interaction with objects you do here, it feels even worse than shadow of the colossus and Ico.

    Then there is the problem of Trico itself, that can be incredibly frustrating to direct, specially once you get the ability to give him instructions. Sure, the interactions between the boy and the creature are wonderful and extremely powerful at the time of creating a bond, but the game itself is almost equally capable of destroying that bond through sheer frustration.

    Those I feel are the common complaints from people playing the game, but personally those are surface level problems.

    While the world is breathtakingly beautiful [I don't want to understate how gorgeous it is], the progression through it seems confusing and aimless, many places seem familiar, whether you are revisiting them or not, and while that does give a lot of cohesion to the world, it also ends up making the distinct sections less memorable. And even though there's a mention of your goal of escaping the valley in the game, it never translates to a landmark or an actual mission.
    This is also exacerbated with how repetitive a lot of the puzzling feels, I personally thought the game felt stretched and longer than it needed to be, with little reason for it. Sure there are a few stand out rooms, and some impressive set pieces, but the bulk of the transversal feels like busywork.

    There's also an over reliance of scripted moments, of the type "you need to die here" or "you have to walk to this exact point" for no reason other than triggering an event.

    But beyond that there are deeper issues that may only apply to me and my expectations of what the game could have been.
    Firstly, Team Ico games are "solitary epic" adventures, but to me one of the greatest strengths they have is their ability to hint, to remain mysterious, to avoid explanations and bluntness to generate a world that entices wonder, shrouded in shades of legend and conflicting morality. These worlds feel coherent, grounded and unexpectedly real, beyond their more overt fantastical elements.

    The Last Guardian seems to forget all about this, it is happy to indulge in full-on explanatory cutscenes, it does away with the shades and tells a simplistic story that feels way smaller and contrived than both the previous games, and most disappointingly, it provides Hollywood worthy cliché sequences and answers that seem unaware of its lineage.

    Specially in the final chapters of the game ( the white tower ) the context is broken and the world falls apart. Not only does the inside of the tower look quite cheaply made compared to the lush splendor of the rest of the world, but the environment and the puzzles there appear extremely "gamey", so much that I firmly believe this section doesn't belong in the game (maybe it was rushed or a matter of budget?)
    Both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus finish with some strong tonal and narrative shifts, but they actually work with the world, they aren't foreign. To me, the whole final section stuck out as a sore thumb.

    Honestly, using the severed tail to take out the core to me felt almost insultingly ridiculous.

    And the game goes on with it's blunt simplistic explanations, even offering us a glimpse into the future, in case we thought them flying into the sunset was too subtle an ending. The story basically ties it all up with a little bow. Where is the melancholic mystery and intrigue that made these games so memorable!?

    The only mystery remaining being were those barrels are people jello, or if the machine used the people as some source of power and the barrels were simply some Trico treat.

    It is really sad for me, I had the highest hopes for this game. And in the aesthetic department, it surely delivers, but I felt everything else is a mess, and overall, a huge let down.

  • The camera is really bad I have to admit, on the pro I didn't have many other issues, a few fps dips every now and then but nothing major.

    After thinking about it all day nothing else I played this year had me so invested and compelled to keep moving forward, yet at the same time stand still and take in the beauty of the world and marvel at the AI of Trico. They achieved something very special with this.

  • @Delcast It's interesting to see such a different opinion from a long time Team ICO fan. I haven't played through any of their older games (could not get invested in ICO, haven't played SotC) but I loved The Last Guardian. The technical issues we can agree, but Trico and the story seems to be experienced so differently.

  • @Fridge-man said in The Last Guardian discussion thread. Spoiler-warning!:

    @Delcast It's interesting to see such a different opinion from a long time Team ICO fan. I haven't played through any of their older games (could not get invested in ICO, haven't played SotC) but I loved The Last Guardian. The technical issues we can agree, but Trico and the story seems to be experienced so differently.

    Don't get me wrong, I think it's a very cute story, but it's far more traditional, predictable, and almost entirely literal... very little is left to imagination, which contrasts heavily with the studio's previous work. This more direct approach also weakens my emotional investment in the relationship, because the previous games talk about grand themes, this one talks about the events in a story.
    But that's why I'm specifying that my appreciation comes from someone with a very invested interest in the previous games. To me it feels like a game from a different (and a little less interesting) creative team.

  • @Delcast Honestly, I'm pretty sick of games leaving things super open-ended and up to the player's imagination and interpretation. I think it's a cheap, overused tactic to generate buzz around your game today. Give me a proper ending any day over that nonsense. Lore is still greater than story though, and The Last Guardian is certainly a story.

  • @Mbun I mean, fair enough. It may be true that too many games do it but, like all narrative resources, I don't think many games do it well or use it to great effect. I'll agree that having an open ended story just because is cheap, but neither Ico nor Shadow of the Colossus have cheap open endings, they simply aren't quite as expository.
    To me TLG felt a bit quaint, like a little bubble, there is a self contained event, a very pretty piece of a world, but it doesn't quite connect to anything else, it doesn't seem like there's more out there, neither lore wise nor story wise and not even in a moral standpoint, this game is very finite.

    At the end of SotC there were many literal questions: about the world outside, about what Wander's transgression had really meant, about what happened before and what you had helped him accomplish. But there were more interesting questions about good and evil, about necessity and struggle, about player agency and about gameplay as narrative...(this is less pronounced on ICO but it's still there). In many ways shadow of the colossus speaks about more than just it's story, and that is what "games as art" should do. Even if you don't adhere to games being art, that's just what good fiction does.

    That is sorely missing from the last guardian, it takes a far more literal and aesthetic approach to beauty, but it doesn't really evoke more.
    And I understand that for that reason it's a more comfortable game, it's cute (but it is also very blunt about unnecessary details), but it's not intriguing, and to me that's a real shame.

  • @Delcast I don't disagree, but I think the games are just trying to accomplish different things. I think you could still consider TLG art for how it bonds the player with an AI companion over the course of a journey like almost no game before it has before. The entire game is playing with your heart over this relationship between Trico and you. That's the focus.

  • I can't get myself to play it
    I tried multiple times and spent 3 hours on the damn game, but the controls and framerate is so bad it made a the game near unplayable and puzzles unnecessarily difficult. I don't understand how this game got rated so high, probably because muh 10 years

  • @siegeh Framerate stays at 30 on the Pro. I know that's probably not an option for you but worth mentioning. The controls are just something to get used to. If you've ever played the studio's previous games, you should already be somewhat used to them. If you're struggling with Trico's AI, learning how to handle it is half the fun of the game.

  • I think the PS3 to PS4 conversion hurt the games performance. Their engine needs a serious upgrade because it wasn't really a techincal marvel visually, but it still chugged hard. I got used to it eventually, same story with the controls. Controls you can always get used to, getting used to frame rate is an individual thing.

  • @Mbun I have, the thing is, those games controls were decent. There comes a point where it feels too sluggish and unresponsive to actually be worth playing