The Last Guardian Review
Posted: 12 months ago, last updated 2 weeks ago.
You wake in a ruined castle and discover an enormous, winged, cat-like creature. After removing the spears from its body and feeding it, you unchain the beast and a friendship begins. This builds on themes from previous games from the auteur-developer Fumito Ueda: Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.
From there you explore a broken down ancient world by climbing, running and solving environmental puzzles. You develop cooperation with your large, Trico. But you can't command the creature directly. Instead you must develop a relationship with them so they accept your guidance.
The story is narrated from a retrospective perspective. As you progress you learn about your past and the importance of the creature. Caring for Trico is a big part of the experience. Petting, removing arrows and generally tending to your friendship is engaging and affecting for players.
These parts add up to an unusual game in many ways. There is a floaty looseness to the mechanics that invite exploration and experimentation. This creates a unique world in which to journey with your living-breathing companion. Trico very much has its own will, which underlines the need for empathy, trust and dependency required to finish the game.
This is a story about therapeutic friendship. Trico has clearly survived mistreatment and abuse. Your presence is not only to cast off injury and physical chains, but to walk with a creature learning to trust again. As Simon Parkin wrote in the Guardian, "This is a game, as much as anything, about rehabilitation through kindness and companionship. That story of therapeutic friendship and survival is told lightly in the dialogue. But it’s far more meaningfully told through the action, which shows an unspoken, healing bond forged in real time by two underdogs together facing otherwise insurmountable odds."
This game has been rated ESRB TEEN.
This game has been rated PEGI 12 for depictions of realistic looking violence towards fantasy characters, and non-realistic looking violence towards human-like or animal-like characters.
This game features frequent depictions of realistic looking violence towards fantasy characters, they can get impaled by spears and arrows, slashed with swords and attacked by other fantasy creatures, very mild blood is shown and the characters are shown whining in pain. There are depictions of non-realistic looking violence towards human characters, there is a section in which a child looks as if they are being gobbled up by a large hybrid dog-bird. The child displays no reaction and is not scared by the events taking place, no blood/gore is shown and the creature doesn’t chew on the child.
This game also features frequent depictions of realistic violence of a minor nature towards human characters. The protagonist of the game is often knocked around by the creature, pushed into walls and hit. There is little to no reaction and rarely are they injured in the process.
PlayStation 4 has a range of accessibility settings. Some are system only, some work in games (invert colours and button mapping)... read more about system accessibility settings.
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