The Last Guardian is one of the most sought-after video games in recent history. In development since 2007, the game launches in Japan and North America on Dec. 6, 2016. Reviews are coming in as of Dec. 5; here’s some of the highlights from the gaming journalism community:
Over here at CGMagazine, Cody Orme had a mixed response to The Last Guardian. Orme felt the game succeeded through portraying Trico and the player character’s bond throughout the game. However, he called Trico “a technical disaster,” one that rests on patience and luck just to get him to move to areas and respond to the player’s commands. “Somewhere underneath the broken gameplay and terrible camera controls lies a lot of potential for a great game,” he concluded.
GameSpot’s Peter Brown had high praise for The Last Guardian. Brown enjoyed the relationship between the player character and Trico, feeling that the two had a nuanced dynamic in both gameplay and storytelling. “Much like a real pet, Trico doesn’t automatically learn because you want it to, but its progress yields confidence in your cooperation as it eventually learns to take commands on the first try,” he wrote. “This is gratifying from a gameplay perspective, since you feel less like you’re wasting time investigating the world and more like you’re working in concert with a reliable partner.” While he felt the UI system broke the game’s immersion, Brown overall found the game highly enjoyable. “When the book closes on their story, it’s hard not to open it up again and begin anew,” he concluded.
Evidently, Philip Kollar was mixed about The Last Guardian in his review for Polygon. Kollar felt The Last Guardian creates a strong emotional attachment between the player and Trico, and he enjoyed many of the puzzles that involved guiding Trico through tight areas. He also felt the game “hits sentimental high notes that, against all odds, don’t feel cheap or unearned.” That said, Kollar found Trico’s behavior frustrating, partly due to his realism as an animal, and he ultimately felt the game “bounces between highs and lows without ever fully living up to its legacy,” partly because of the problems he experienced with moving Trico and the main character through the world.
While met with mixed reviews, The Last Guardian was overall praised for its ability to create a strong emotional bond between the player and Trico. Sadly, the game’s handling of Trico itself needed work, but reviewers still found a lot to love in the game regardless. In some situations, anyway.