I will start this with a disclaimer. If you have not ever played any Team Ico games (namely, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus) you may not want to read this. Only because Team Ico makes a very specific type of game (one that tears out your heart and eats it like George R. R. Martin would) and I don’t want to ruin their other games for the few of you who may not have experienced them yet. By the way, they are brilliant games and you have no excuse, so run and get along with that so the adults can talk. Talk about how The Last Guardian looks like it is going to stick with Team Ico’s trend of making you fall in love with something and then forcing you to deal with its death (and maybe even your own). A game that looks like it could be its own Pixar movie. A game that people have been drooling about for for almost a decade now. A game that has moved its development across game generations and consoles. I am talking about The Last Guardian, and it’s potential to be one of the greatest video games ever made if they actually deliver what they seem to be promising.
Team Ico’s History
First thing that has me thinking The Last Guardian will be the greatest game ever made is the experience I had with their last two games. Ico was a soft and fragile game that can best be described as both stunning and incredibly moving. Team Ico only upped that when they delivered Shadow of the Colossus. One of the most original games ever made. And we got the same kind of stunning visuals and the same kind of heart breaking, mind-blowing story.
So to assume we are not going to be drawn in by The Last Guardian’s beauty, but then spit out by its (most likely) heart breaking ending is silly. This game is going to wreck us in the best ways possible.
I will be honest with you. Post E3 2015 I am shocked how few people are in an absolute spin about this game. Yes, I know, some say the visuals in the trailer are not much improved from the original presented YEARS AGO on PS3 hardware, but I would debate that. Go back and watch the original trailer. Yes, the cell shaded backgrounds look possible, but look at that creature and its design (as well as its movements and little characteristics that make it seem real). Did you see that trailer years ago and think THAT game could run on a PS3? I didn’t. Put it this way. The creature from the first Last Guardian trailer looked more realistic then the dog does in the new Fallout game. And that was seven years ago they dropped that first trailer. See what I am saying now?
Much like what James Cameron did with Avatar (he had to wait for the tech to catch up with his vision), that is exactly why I think the game was delayed. They knew they had something perfect, and were not going to settle delivering anything less.
What we need to understand before we even play this game is, the ending WILL make us cry. There is no “maybe” here. Either the tiny, cute human you play as is going to die, or the creature will die (or hell, maybe both) because that is just what Team Ico does. Power lies in the brevity of their storytelling, and to expect anything different this time would be silly.
Also, keep in mind, we all assume the Last Guardian is the creature, but do we really know who is really guarding and protecting who yet? No, this is a Team Ico game, after all. Remember, the same design team that made you into the bad guy for Shadow of the Colossus and you didn’t even know it? That is who we are dealing with here, and we have to be prepared to be beaten down by the end result.
I’m All In!
But I don’t care.
Beat me down. Screw me all up. The Last Guardian looks that f*cking good to me. This is an abusive relationship I will get into willingly just to have bragging rights if I somehow manage to survive. Just watch, this WILL be one of the greatest games ever made. I’ve been gaming since you were a swimmer in your Dad’s sack, so trust me on this one. I have smelled this one coming for a while, and each time I see it, I get chills.
That reaction alone already tells me everything I need to know about this game.