Must love dogbirds.

Really, though. You start the game waking up unexpectedly next to the catbirdthing. It’s upset, wounded by spears, and tied down by a chain around its throat. If you don’t immediately feel a sense of wanting to help a hurt and abused animal, I think this game might not have quite the same effect on you.

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I mean, I’d be pissed if there was a spear stuck in my thigh, too.

But let’s back up. Why was this game so high profile? Fumito Ueda was responsible for bringing us these two masterpieces on the PS2:

Otherwise known as Ico and Nico in Japan. The mysterious birdcat is named Trico :).

I didn’t spend a lot of time in Ico, but Shadow of the Colossus is one of those gaming experiences you never forget. I had the pleasure of playing it before it exploded into fame, which only made it better. The game is a total of 16 massive boss battles with emptiness in between fights. You kill a colossus, get “infused” with its mysterious power, wake up, and go again to defeat the next colossus. The world has a similar magic realism feelingย that you find in Miyazaki films, for example.

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It’s a large, lonely world.

What makes it feel even more real is that all of these protagonists aren’t strong or graceful–they stumble, they fall, they don’t suddenly take off running at full speed but instead sloppily build up speed. It’s incredibly noticeable after playing years of games with instant response times and characters that go from standstill to running, that climb impossible walls without struggling, and that jump massive gaps to land with an expected roll. When your characters gasps, slips, struggles, catches his breath, and clings onto giants for dear life, it suddenly makes you aware of their mortality. And then there was that ending I’ll probably never forget.

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The truth is revealed after this last colossus.

Anyway, that’s enough about its predecessors. The Last Guardian delivers much of the same enjoyment that its last two counterparts did. There’s a lot of the same mysterious beauty in the world. It’s very large and lonely, but you have Trico.

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Sort of like inadvertently picking up a stray puppy…

And he LOVES you.

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“Please pet and love me.”

Climbing him is a lot like climbing colossi, except instead of trying to kill you he jumps over buildings, crevasses, and other things…like a cat.

In general, this game is centered around 2 things: Trico and platforming. Trico usually wanders around, but if you’re struggling to find where to go next he/she will usually sit next to where you need to go and make a noise at you as if to call you. You can also call him/her to get Trico to follow you. It’s a really cute language-less dynamic.

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Lots of platforming. I like climbing things.

Anyway, I’m definitely liking it so far. If you want action and a linear game, this isn’t exactly for you. I think fans of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus will find a lot to love in this game too, and I SWEAR IF THIS DOGCAT DIES I hope nothing happens to Trico…

If you’d like to see more screenshots of The Last Guardian, feel free to follow my twitter :). I think I’ll start trying to use it as a platform to share gaming screenshots.

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