On December 7, The Last Guardian released the last major PS4 exclusive title of the year. Sat 9 years in development, the puzzle adventure places the unusual friendship between a small boy and a huge bird monster. In the first chapter of our test day we provide you with impressions of the first game hours with the final version. 2009 announced for PS3, for a long time believed missing, 2015 for PS4 again announced: The Last Guardian has an unprecedented odyssey behind itself. Now the game of genDESIGN and Sony Japan Studio is finally finished and is available on the 7th of December exclusively for the PS4 in the shop. Our two-part test is now ready, at the end you will read the update based on the last game hours as well as the final score.
The Last Guardian Review: Many questions, few answers. How did we land in this mysterious game world? What sort of a mysterious giant creature-half-cat, half-bird-who is lying on the ground, spear-pierced? And how do we get away? Even after more than ten game hours, we have not yet received any clear answers to these questions, at best hints. Admittedly, during the 10 hours, various search and search minutes were included. Actually, the puzzles is only about progress. But this is easier said than done with a duo of a small boy and a huge creature. Narrow openings are, of course, only one of the two, so you have to look for a switch after short crabs, in order to open the door or the gate to the meter-high companion. Sometimes it is also enough to climb a higher level with the boy and to show the way to Trico, who then follows with a brave jump.
Only the boy is controlled, but that does not mean that Trico is useless, quite the opposite. If Trico leans on a wall, for example, we can climb on to him, in another place we can climb Trico’s hanging tail to an otherwise inaccessible level. When Trico is placed next to us, that can mean that the being is keen on a few strokes. Or that it wants to ask us to ascend, because it wants to jump independently over an otherwise insurmountable abyss for the boy. You realize: Trico has his own head – and his own fears. For example, we regularly find glass discs with one eye in the middle. For so far unknown reasons Trico is extremely afraid of this symbol. So if there is any progress, we must destroy the targets. This can sometimes lead longer jumping and climbing passages but the evil Dings splits into many parts, Trico is visibly grateful and our journey can go on.
Knights are another danger. If we are caught by this one, we must quickly tap on every conceivable controller button to free ourselves. At one point, we have to pull a big chain to open the gate and let Trico in while we are attacked by the Knights. The trick here is to remove as far as possible from the chain, to let the somewhat sluggish knights, then to run past them and run to the chain. The whole procedure then a few times and finally Trico can help us. Our companion reacts very angrily to the knights and literally leaves no good hair on them. After the fight we have to calm down Trico first by stroking and pull the spears out of his body when he was hit.
At the beginning we find a magic shield, which we can use as a weapon Tricos tail: We aim with the shield and immediately shoot lightning from the tail and destroy, for example, brittle walls. However, the shield is taken back quite quickly. A pity really, because such objects usually bring variety into the game. Let’s see, maybe we’ll find another item. Overall, the puzzles so far have not required intellectual geniuses, but a lot of search work and also some skill. If, for example, one of these barrels, which Trico has to eat for energy generation, must move from a vault to the creature. The lies just on the ground refuses to go even a step further.
After some game hours, the relationship with Trico is too stable that we can train the creature. At the push of a button, for example, we point Trico to jump, or literally head through the (hopefully brittle) wall. We can also specify the direction of rotation. This naturally results in new possibilities for the movement, which are promptly interrogated in the next puzzles. If you do not get closer in the partial nested vault at first glance, you can not help but look second or third. Luminous spots or markings, as they are found in many games today, are in vain. If you hold down L3, the boy sits down on the ground and concentrates, but instead of a helpful tip, the off-speaker the much older version of the little boy – repeats only his last sentences.
Unfortunately the gameplay under the constant input lag: Both the control of the boy and the manual movement of the camera reacts always with a short delay. And the readjustment of the camera is essential, because the automatic functions only inadequately. You get used to it, but in the face of the rather old-fashioned look, we find it annoying that the developers could not implement direct control. Speaking of optics: Technically, The Last Guardian clearly shows that the development of the title was already begun on PS3 in 2007. Blurred textures are the order of the day, the game world is color and detail-poor. Edge flickering The picture resolution does not look on the PS4 Pro after native full HD – from native 4K resolution not to mention. There are glitches, and sometimes our hero disappears in a wall. On the Habens side stands, above all, the impressive representation of Trico. The huge creature is absolutely natural (so if you imagine how a cat bird should move), the fur is also great animated.
Of course, in a game of the developers of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus we looked forward to a special atmosphere and many emotional moments. We have experienced both in small doses so far. Mystery tension is quite present, but the story is, as indicated at the beginning, very leisurely. The evolving relationship between Trico and the boy is definitely interesting at first, and the creators quickly create the personality of Trico. At first injured, chained and weakened, the creature sees the boy only as a means to an end. But gradually, it becomes a friendship and you take Trico off, that he worries, when he is separated from the boy – and rejoices when the two are reunited. However, these moments naturally lose their appeal when they repeat themselves too often. That is why we hope that a lot of variety and additional tension comes into play. On the horizon, we saw another “giant bird” – and look forward to meeting him soon and find out whether he is friendly or hostile to us.
After more than 15 hours playing time, we have The Last Guardian through – and our overall impression has improved a bit. The emotional moments are increasing in the second half of the game and there are also the most anticipated boss fights. There are only two of them, but these are really spectacularly staged and also playfully interesting. With the excellent orchestral soundtrack. A little surprising, we meet Trico’s fellow-citizens, and from this a tension-positive develops. However, the poverty of variety remains unchanged. We get the magical shield again from the beginning of the game and use it this time as a weapon, but this is rather a weak consolation. More items, more enemy types, more gameplay ideas, that would have done the game well. Also, to compensate for the mentioned camera and control weaknesses, which annoyed us during the whole season.