The Last Guardian is a videogame published by Sony Interactive Entertainment and developed by genDESIGN. It is produced by the same gaming studios that came up with Shadow of the Colossus and shares some similarities with this popular videogame. Announced back in 2009 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo it will be playable on PlayStation 4 consoles, after initially intended for PlayStation 3
Key facts about The Last Guardian
- The Last Guardian spent nearly a decade in the making, as work on it started in 2007 and was on the verge of getting canceled.
- The game will be available exclusively on PlayStation 4 consoles, after developers failed to meet the release date for PlayStation 3.
- The Last Guardian refers to the hybrid creature befriending a child and protecting him from harm, while trying to find a way out of the maze.
- The interactions between the two main protagonists are surprisingly complex and players need to get creative to control the guardian.
- The Last Guardian is played from a third person perspective and it is a hybrid between action-adventure and puzzle video games.
The Last Guardian games
The Last Guardian is essentially a puzzle-based game, with players being supposed to overcome various obstacles when completing the main quest. The developers didn’t shed too much light on the side missions and the little information that has surfaced suggests that the game is pretty linear. There is rarely more than one way of solving a puzzle and players need to find the correct solution to advance the next stage rather than improvising.
The two leading characters depend on each other and both act as guardians for their friend, as they can only advance together. The Last Guardian requires a lot of attention, while good reflexes and the ability to act quickly under pressure are less important. A lot of time was invested in creating breathtaking environments and these game mechanics allow players to appreciate the surroundings.
What is The Last Guardian
The Last Guardian was one of the most anticipated games of 2016, published by Sony Entertainment and developed by the same studio that created Shadow of the Colossus. genDESIGN spent more time developing this game that is centered on the adventures of a young boy and his guardian.
Their fate is intertwined and the hybrid will follow the child everywhere, helping him reach remote places and defending him from enemies. At the same time, the giant beast requires the assistance of his companion to remove harmful wards and obstacles that block his way. The Last Guardian brilliantly succeeds at establishing a strong bond between the two friends throughout the single player.
Gameplay of The Last Guardian
The Last Guardian gameplay is an eclectic mix of puzzle and action-adventure elements, posing a real challenge to players. They can only control the young boy, who has no weapons and no special abilities, but can jump over narrow gaps, climb obstacles and move around stealthily. The hybrid guardian that accompanies the young boy everywhere can’t be controlled directly and players need to lure him with food and various gestures, just like a pet.
Despite its size and menacing look, the creature is rather shy and will rarely engage enemies directly. That’s why, players need to find ways around the guards and silently move across the map to avoid being captured. Unlike other role-playing games in which players control heroes armed to the teeth, in The Last Guardian, they need to use a stealthy approach in most situations. Time quickly runs out when the central character is captured, but players can avoid an untimely end of the game by freeing him quickly.
Work and train a best friend
The Last Guardian is driven by simple animal instincts, so players need to have a basic understanding of his behavior. Luring him with food and gaining his trust are essential actions and every now and then, players need to find more creative ways to motivate him. Luckily for them, the hybrid beast has a special affinity to the little boy and will always run to his rescue when in danger.
An original challenge posed by The Last Guardian is that the creature tends to run ahead of the little boy and doesn’t like standing still. This is a surefire way of getting noticed, so players will need to do their best to keep him on the short leash to prevent exposure. At the same time, building a strong bond between the two friends is of great importance and players are supposed to feed the creature often. Arrows and spears tend to get stuck in its body and removing them will also help strengthen the bond.
The goal of the game is to better control the creature in the long run, to turn it from an unruly beast into a trustworthy companion. The Last Guardian will go out of its way to protect the little boy as this is its natural instinct, but a little affection goes a long way. The best part is that at the end of the game, each player will have a different friend, the result of many hours of gameplay.
Plot of The Last Guardian
The Last Guardian’s story is still shrouded in mystery despite the fact that development on the game started almost a decade ago. The producers chose not to spoil all the fun by revealing the juicy details, but we know a great deal about the introductory stage. A little boy and his hybrid feathered creature try to escape from a remote place that lies through win and this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
The Last Guardian only looks like a menacing beast, but in fact it is a kind creature that seeks affection and enjoys the company of the child. Initially bound and chained, it is freed and becomes a trustworthy companion for the little boy, helping him at every stage. Players get to solve numerous puzzles, but also fight armored soldiers and pretty much any enemy that tries to block their path and hurt the child.
Developers hinted that in the later stages of the game, players might discover other creatures similar to their guardian. Many of those who are familiar with the works of the game developer fear that The Last Guardian plot will end sadly, but there is hope for an open-ended story.
Development of The Last Guardian
The Last Guardian was inspired by the popular Shadow of the Colossus slot machine and developers focus on the interaction between the central characters. Developing the emotional attachment is at the core of the gameplay and despite the numerous amendments made to the game, this core concept didn’t change. A combination between Ico and Shadow, the game focuses more on the bond between the boy and his companion than the puzzles and challenges they need to solve.
The developers chose to walk down the less traveled paths and refrain from creating a cute companion. The Last Guardian looks very different today compared to the creature design during the first few years of development. The game engine was changed as well and it will now be available on PlayStation 4 instead of the previous console. By using key frame animations, developers created complex motions that allow the creature to better express his emotions.
Where can I download The Last Guardian?
The Last Guardian is not available for preorder yet, but as soon as the game is officially released, players will be able to acquire it from Sony Entertainment’s website. There are plenty of fine video games to find there while waiting for this game, such as the popular Uncharted 4 A Thief’s End, Horizon Zero Dawn, Bloodborne, Mortal Kombat X, or Street Fighter 5.
What are others saying about The Last Guardian?
The Last Guardian is one of the few games that have developed a cult following even before the official release. This is what kept it alive despite the fact that the developers failed to meet all the deadlines they set and were on the verge of canceling the game altogether. In the wake of its unveiling at the Electronic Entertainment Expo it sent shockwaves across the gaming community and was well received by players.
Critics also had only good things to say about the game, its fine graphics, the complex interactions between the central characters and the smart puzzles. The lengthy delay of the videogame is still a major concern and unless it meets the high expectations, the post-release reviews can be crushing. The Last Guardian now also has to compete with other emotionally charged video games.
The Last Guardian tournaments
This is mainly a single player experience and the only character that players really need to interact with is the hybrid creature. The game doesn’t support a multiplayer and there won’t be such modes in the close or distant future for what that matters. The Last Guardian tournaments are not going to happen.
My rating of The Last Guardian
I have to admit that I’ve learned about The Last Guardian only a few years ago, so the hype didn’t affect my impartiality. I’ve accepted the numerous delays as a fact of life and never gave it too much thought, but the game grew on me and I absolutely love the characters. We still have to see the final product, but so far I can’t find a fault to this game and my review score of 9 out of 10 is likely to be revised upwards.