The Last Guardian

released on Dec 06, 2016

In a strange and mystical land, a young boy discovers a mysterious creature with which he forms a deep, unbreakable bond. The unlikely pair must rely on each other to journey through towering, treacherous ruins filled with unknown dangers. Experience the journey of a lifetime in this touching, emotional story of friendship and trust.


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O jogo que nos faz questionar se a amizade com um gigante híbrido de pássaro e gato é mais complicada do que nossa última relação amorosa.

Vamos começar com os altos e baixos: quando funciona, a ligação que forjei com Trico, meu amigo peludo e emplumado, é mais forte do que a cola que gruda chiclete no cabelo. Ele é parte companheiro brincalhão, parte protetor, e juntos navegamos pelo mundo melancólico criado pela Team Ico. Mas, entre esses momentos de ternura, o jogo é uma bagunça de controles esquisitos, uma câmera desajeitada e quebra-cabeças irritantemente teimosos.

Trico, ah, Trico! Ele é mais vivo e carismático que a maioria dos gatos que conheci na minha vida. Assistir a sua transformação de besta selvagem assustada para protetor leal é como acompanhar um episódio de "O encantador de cães" com Cesar Millan. Ele tem suas próprias ideias, mas geralmente é previsível. E esses detalhes sutis, como o jeito que ele se sacode depois de ficar molhado ou estica as pernas ao chegarmos a uma área mais aberta, dão a ele uma personalidade única. Às vezes, eu ficava parado só observando Trico brincar com borboletas ou farejar galhos de árvores. Quando ele se comportava bem, eu quase esquecia que ele não era uma criatura viva e respirante.

Agora, sobre os comandos… Bem, você não tem controle direto sobre o Trico. Você incentiva ele com gestos e comandos vagos, como se estivesse treinando um cachorro gigante. Agarrar suas penas enquanto ele pula de plataforma em plataforma é emocionante, mas desmontar dele é como tentar sair de um abraço de polvo. E, sinceramente, mesmo depois de rolar os créditos, ainda não tenho certeza de como fazê-lo fazer exatamente o que eu quero. Mas talvez essa seja a essência do Trico: ele é independente e inteligente, e eu sou apenas um humano atrapalhado tentando entender o que se passa na cabeça de um bicho gigante.

Successfully expands upon the themes of the previous Team ICO games while also subverting them; every ICO game functions as a lesson in empathy. ICO as the baseline, empathy for someone you must protect, someone you can't understand in terms of language but rather in terms of physical communication. ICO revolves around touch, holding someone's hand, intuiting how they feel and react to things, and besides brief (brilliant) subversive moments, is a game which has a fairly one-sided relationship in terms of your role in said relationship. It is a one-sided tale of heroism to a degree, you're in the role of a protector, which in of itself makes it very easy for the player to establish an empathetic connection with Yorda, that simplicity is not a fault of the game, as ICO remains my favorite of the three projects and my favorite game of all time. Shadow of the Colossus however feels intentionally contradictory to the lessons of ICO, it shows the ends of having no empathy for something you cannot understand. Your primary relationship through the game as that with the colossi, and it is destructive, like your relationship with Yorda it is built off the physical, but in SOTC it is built off violence rather than leading someone by the hand. Your role in SOTC see's you testing the bounds of game structure, in the supposed "heroism" of interaction, and indulging in the familiar by forsaking that (or those) which is not familiar.

Much like the previous two ICO games, TLG is also a lesson in empathy, but it is maybe the most difficult lesson of all, as demonstrated by even the fans of the previous game’s interaction with it. The last guardian is not about a one-sided protective, or violent role towards another but rather a mutually dependant role. It is a role, as the game requires, that forces the player to at times be entirely helpeless. To entirely rely on something (someone) outside of yourself. Someone you cannot speak to beyond basic commands (and at the beginning of the game not at all), and that you must not only trust but be patient with. Your relationship with Trico is one that requires a lot of patience, barking commands at him wildly will result in confusion, incorrect movement, and will further frustrate you. You cannot fight for yourself, but rather can only run, struggle, and rarely knock certain items out of enemy’s hands in order to bolster Trico’s ability to fight. Every design choice here is one that doesn’t limit the player's actual ability to experience the game, but rather to DIRECTLY control it. Gaming as a medium is not a medium dictated by placation, immediacy, or action, but rather INTER-action. By the degrees of separation between you and what you can achieve within a dictated environment. Trico, mechanically, forces the player to build a bond with not only an unreal character in a game (such as ICO), not only an animal (such as SOTC), but also forces you to rely on it consistently, rather than simply leading it through the game and acting for it. TLG teaches the player the most difficult lesson of all, seemingly for most gamers; the lesson of giving up control, not of giving into weakness but of accepting it while also accepting your strengths. It’s a game of picking your battles, a game revolving around empathy for something imperfect, for someone who won’t ever really understand you but WILL fight for you, but you must be patient, and you must try. In many ways TLG is team ICO’s real opus in terms of achieving empathy/relationships through game design, if I’m being honest with myself, I do think it’s the greatest game they’ve made in many ways. That being said, ICO will always probably truly have my heart, as both an emotional and aesthetic experience I will probably always consider it a step above the rest, however TLG will remain Ueda’s real success in terms of the actual meaningful goals and artistic lessons of the team ICO project, until such time as their next game comes along (hopefully sooner rather than later).

If you hated this game, I won’t be the one to change your mind. Honestly, I really don’t care to hear why. I understand you were probably frustrated (although how this frustrated you and the previous two team ICO games did not I can never understand), and at times I was as well; but why can’t games be frustrating. Why must they have to constantly reward and placate you in order to be good. Why can’t a game consistent of struggling against something larger than yourself, something inevitable and horrible and inarticulable. Why can’t a game be about relying on another, and why does your view of gaming as an art form so solely rely on immediate gratification and streamlined control. I don’t mean to insult you, but I sincerely do hope that you at least consider the level by which you actually respect video games as a legitimate art form, and I sincerely hope you give TLG a chance if you have not already, or another chance if you already have, because it is sincerely a perfect game.

I had been eagerly anticipating playing this game for a long time, and in December 2019, I finally bought myself a PS4. I had been working for over a year by that point, so I thought to myself, "I can treat myself." The console came with a bundle of games, but I purchased The Last Guardian separately. Then, the pandemic hit, and with not much to do, I decided to finally play the game I had been waiting for since its first teaser, back when it was supposed to come out on PS3.

The isolation of quarantine amplified what was already an emotional journey for me. Not having people to interact with for a while made the game even more immersive and deepened my connection with Trico. The boy's journey felt like my own. Despite the somewhat clunky controls, I loved the game. I've revisited it since then, and it's still good, but not as magical as that first time. Nevertheless, I adore the "Ico Trilogy"; each installment made me feel both alone and accompanied in different ways. A great game.

In 2016, this game could be a good impetus for buying a PS4. However, after generally restrained or negative reviews from people I respect, I decided to postpone the purchase until the better times that aeventually took place these days, when I am finally able to play, paying only for the PS+ subscription.

In terms of reviews, there were complaints about performance, camera and control issues, and finally Trico himself became the main target of humiliation. Well, by an amazing coincidence, at least 4 years after the release, the game runs in a solid frame rate, doesn’t have frustrating control problems (it was quite smoothly for me) and, most importantly, it turns out that Trico also has no problems in general. Moreover, the beast, together with me, went the ideal pace of the path from complete rejection (on his part, of course) to real strong friendship and mutual understanding. So I got exactly the initially intended gaming experience, and it was absolutely wonderful.

I can only comment exactly one problem in the game in the form of a voiceover. Unfortunately, no more elegant way of giving hints to the player was found, and obvious comments were added along the way, so that the voiceover was evenly distributed. In my opinion, it is better to sit and think than to be offended by a trivial phrase, inserted only so that there is no way to get lost. Considering that the boy's own remarks do not violate immersiveness, it was possible to put clues in them. But apparently some of the producers have a grossly underestimated opinion about the intelligence of players. This is clearly not a nitpicking, because in the Shadow of the Colossus remake that came out two years later, the hints (which were already more organically built into the game) could be turned off in the settings. Next, I want to breathe out, because the amount of lore information is just as small as necessary, and the voiceover is really mostly limited to trivial commenting on what is happening.

In addition, the game just feels consistently after Iсo and Shadow of the Colossus, incorporating aspects of both. This, of course, does not mean that Mr. Ueda's previous works do not need to be played. I felt frisson and cried playing each of the three.

(Jan 19, 2021)