The Last Guardian Catch-All

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Thanks. I appreciate the clear response.

I finished last night.

Wow. Thanks to Aaron and Tuffalo for the heads up on keeping the kids away near the end. Unfortunately, my youngest is mad at me this morning for playing without her, and my oldest is really into playing the game on her own profile. If she has the patience to play it through I'm going to have to warn her.

Great, great game. Still processing it a little, but it's gotta be a tie between this and SotC for my favorites of the three. It's sort of a slow burn at the beginning, but there are some really awesome moments in the last half.

I didn't have a lot of trouble with controlling Trico either. You do need some patience, and spamming him with commands kinda confuses him and pisses him off. (which seems legit). I found giving him a command and waiting a few seconds to see what he does worked fine most of the time. You even start to take clues from his body language as to whether he got the right idea.

Several of the puzzles were really satisfying to me too. I liked how you sometimes have to use unique features of the environment in a particular area. It's not all just find the lever for the door, repeat.

I had to look up one puzzle, and I feel it was a design flaw:

Spoiler:

On the spherical blob at the end. I figured out I had to shrink it with the mirror and climb, but if you shrink it all the way down (to the point where the core sends out runes) it grows back too fast. You have to shrink it down just enough so that it grows back slow enough to give you time to climb.

Definitely a "dammit! I knew that" moment when I looked it up.

Is there a spoiler thread yet? Because

Spoiler:

I'm pretty sure all these games fit together.

I definitely had the worst experience of all of us. Finished it last night, and for me it's a profoundly broken (but not unfinishable) game. I had far too many times where I literally couldn't get Trico to do what he needed to do for ten or fifteen minutes. Which stretches out to more time, because you think "well, I must have the wrong idea of what to do", so you investigate everything else, and come back to what you were trying to do, and Trico will do it in a quick-for-Trico minute or five.

I'm a very non-violent, animal-loving person. I largely can't stand FPSes, and one of the huge plusses of my job is my bosses bring their dogs in to work, so I can regularly be found typing away at a keyboard while a dog sits in my lap and rests its head on my arm (which means using keyboard shortcuts in order to use the mouse as little as possible). I'm the guy who traps a spider under a glass and then releases it outside. But there were many, many times in this game where I wanted a button to hit Trico, I was so incredibly frustrated with him/her/it. And this comes from someone who enjoyed he independence of Agro in SotC, and will spend an extra 10 minutes per guard to take them out non-lethally in every game that offers that approach.

Also, the camera is the worst camera I can ever recall experiencing. Not just in terms of regularly freaking out and only showing you blackness or of mess of feathers and a stray body part of the the boy you're controlling, but there were a couple of platforming sections where the camera would move while I was in midair in a leap, causing me to fall to my death over and over again. The worst, when you were jumping from ledge to ledge on the ouside of a huge cylinder, had a checkpoint at the beginning of the section, so every time I fell to my death because the camera effectively pulled the ledge away from me, I would have to start the entire sequence over. All told it probably took me twenty-five minutes to finish a two minute sequence, but I actually quit in disgust one night and took it up the next. In fact, I'd say the majority of play sessions ended with me quitting in disgust, and kind of dreading going back to the game. Honestly, at this point I'm just glad it's over.

The really frustrating thing is this could be a crowning achievement for Ueda, a real culmination of many of the ideas that have run through his previous two games. The animation is beautiful, and really expresses emotion (although honestly the boy you're controlling stumbles and trips so often it seems like he's drunk), and Trico's an extraordinary creation with clear antecedents in Yorda, Agro, and the Colossi. The environmental design is very much of a piece with previous games. A few puzzles are I think far too obscure, with essentially no environmental cues given for solving them

Spoiler:

I leapt to my death down a hole in the elevator that couldn't get past the ceiling, then wasted a good 10-15 minutes running around that tower trying to figure out how to proceed, before I finally read a FAQ that told me to drop Trico's tail down the hole; I don't think there's anything there that clues you in that you need to go down into inky, featureless blackness in order to go up

, but realisticaly that's par for Ueda games. But too often the emotion I felt while playing the game wasn't awe or wonder, but hatred, both at the game and at myself for being so stubborn that I kept playing it. I have never, ever sworn so much or so vehemently while playing a game.

Really glad I can now switch to Inside to kind of clear my palate.

Evan E wrote:

Really glad I can now switch to Inside to kind of clear my palate.

Ha! Yeah, that's probably the best game ever to play next given your frustration with the game mechanics. Inside is kind of a lesson in how to perfectly fine-tune game mechanics.

It was good to read your thoughts, so I'm glad you took the time to detail the issues you ran into. I'm not really sure why I didn't get frustrated with those issues. It's hard to say. It's not like I'm great at video games or anything.

Also, I've been thinking about how you would "fix" the game. I'd love to read a giant post mortem on the game where the developers went into great detail about why some of the things are the way they are. Obviously, they didn't want the game to be frustrating. I think they could argue that their puzzles were all the way they wanted them to be, but I'm sure they struggled with trying to make the camera and general platforming work.

I started to notice after playing quite awhile that there was a lot of work done with the camera. Ultimately, you have control over it, but there are times, like when you're near Trico or when they want to give you an environmental clue that they'll nudge the camera in certain ways. There was definitely a lot of work done to try and make the fact that you're a tiny person next to a giant thing work which I imagine was insanely hard.

tuffalobuffalo wrote:

Ha! Yeah, that's probably the best game ever to play next given your frustration with the game mechanics. Inside is kind of a lesson in how to perfectly fine-tune game mechanics.

Not to derail the thread, but it's weird to me that that's the aspect of Inside you chose to highlight. The gameplay is so minimal, I don't think getting it mostly right is very notable.

nako wrote:
tuffalobuffalo wrote:

Ha! Yeah, that's probably the best game ever to play next given your frustration with the game mechanics. Inside is kind of a lesson in how to perfectly fine-tune game mechanics.

Not to derail the thread, but it's weird to me that that's the aspect of Inside you chose to highlight. The gameplay is so minimal, I don't think getting it mostly right is very notable.

Well, more generally, the game is just so perfectly polished. The developers made a perfectly polished version of exactly what they were shooting for.

nako wrote:
tuffalobuffalo wrote:

Ha! Yeah, that's probably the best game ever to play next given your frustration with the game mechanics. Inside is kind of a lesson in how to perfectly fine-tune game mechanics.

Not to derail the thread, but it's weird to me that that's the aspect of Inside you chose to highlight. The gameplay is so minimal, I don't think getting it mostly right is very notable.

Maybe that's true if you don't consider figuring out how to solve a puzzle to be gameplay. How did you feel about Portal? Almost all of that game is about figuring out how to progress; once you've done that, I thought very little was about having the skill necessary to actually do each puzzle.

Trico was very responsive for me. I'm honestly a bit baffled by folks saying they spend 10-15 minutes trying to get him to do what they want.

I'm starting to wonder if there is a bug there somewhere. I did encounter one bug where Trico got himself stuck in a particular mode of catching barrels and I had to restart the game to fix it. Seems like Trico has three ways to eat a barrel. Pick up, catch, and snatch from the kid's hands. I was walking toward him on a ledge with a barrel and he tried to snatch it from me. He missed, and knocked the barrel out of my hand and off the ledge to the floor below. After that he was completely unable to eat barrels. Every time his head would go for the bite, it would dart toward my character instead as if he were stuck in snatch mode, even if I was quite far away. Exiting the game seemed to reset him.

I wonder if the AI may be breaking in other more subtle ways causing some of these issues. Folks seems to be having night and day different experiences here.

I also didn't have any trouble getting him to do what I wanted. There were probably times I was trying to do the wrong thing, though, and I couldn't get him to cooperate.

Your speculation about a bug or the AI breaking could be right.

I think the technical flaws in this game really pull it down. I've had some minor problems with Trico, but I am only an hour in. It's the massive frame rate drop a which is a huge problem for me, it's just so offputting.

Clusks wrote:

I think the technical flaws in this game really pull it down. I've had some minor problems with Trico, but I am only an hour in. It's the massive frame rate drop a which is a huge problem for me, it's just so offputting.

Yeah, it's a bummer. I'm going to wait to replay the game until I ultimately get a PS4 Pro since that will give you a perfect 30 fps at 1080p. I think I'll try and get the platinum trophy eventually. I looked through the trophy list and they seem like fun challenges.

I think I've read that it still will chug momentarily on a Pro, but it's gone in a second or two. I'm not particularly framerate-sensitive, and I played Shadow of the Colossus on the PS2 without thinking framerate was an issue, so while I played Last Guardian on a Pro I can't really say whether I noticed any problems.

Eavan E, did you pre-order the game?

'Cause based on your criticisms it's pretty obvious you didn't get the Trico Goes to Obedience School pre-order bonus.

Pretty sure my Trico flunked out.

(That should of course be read in the same voice as Charlie Brown's "I got a rock" from the Halloween special.)

There's a thoughtful article on Eurogamer discussing the ending of The Last Guardian.

I've finally found some time to get into this. I'm about 30 minutes past the E3 demo portion, and so far, I'm absolutely loving the game.

Though the camera is pretty atrocious, turning the sensitivity up to maximum has made it manageable outside of the spasms it has in tight corridors. I highly suggest turning the sensitivity up for anyone that hasn't already done so.

I've mostly skimmed through the comments in this thread, since the few that are participating are much further than me, but I haven't had much trouble getting Trico to do what I want since the initial couple of hours. There seem to be some little tricks to getting Trico to do thing more quickly. For instance, it seems like I've had much better success getting Trico to follow movement commands when it can see me from the ground than when I am perched atop its head. I have no idea this is actually true, but it has been my experience so far.

I've had one framerate drop in the teens for about 5 seconds, but otherwise, it's been mostly fine. Certainly not bad enough to ruin the experience at all. I would love to see how it looks running on a Pro though. Some of the moments where Trico is traversing through the outdoor areas are breathtakingly beautiful.

I think the thing I'm most enamored with so far is that Trico is the most fully realized and believable video game character I've ever seen. From the way it stutter steps before making a jump to the way it squeezes its head through small openings and claws helplessly at the air while waiting for you to open a door, every action Trico takes is animated perfectly and sounds exactly as you might imagine. I've spent a good deal of time just watching Trico explore and interact with the world on its own.

One of the things I love so much about the Monster Hunter series is how much you can learn about the monsters through simple observation. There are no health bars or flashing lights to signal weak points, but you can tell how much a monster is hurt or what it's about to do from its behavior. I'm very glad that the creatures in Monster Hunter aren't as believable as Trico. I'd probably have to stop playing those games if they were.

By the way, is Trico a boy or girl? Is this even addressed, or do I just need to keep playing to find out?

Dyni wrote:

By the way, is Trico a boy or girl? Is this even addressed, or do I just need to keep playing to find out?

Nope, it's not addressed as far as I can tell, which is kinda cool. It completely doesn't matter. Decide for yourself or just don't care either way!

This game is down to 25 pounds here in the UK, which is never a good sign in terms of how well it's sold

Pretty sure I'm and the end stretch, and I do appreciate how unique and cool the game is, but I still have a lot of technical issues. There's been 2 or 3 occasions I've just had to look up a guide because I couldn't figure out what to do, and it turns out that I had tried the right thing, but the game just glitched.

Also, this is hard to explain, but if anyone else here has played an Elder Scrolls or Bethesda Fallout game, but does anyone else feel like some of the puzzles are a bit like when you take advantage of the scenery in those games and create a shortcut for yourself when you shouldn't be able to do so? Like sometimes it feels like I shouldn't be able to jump onto certain ledges - makes me feel a tad guilty.

tuffalobuffalo wrote:
Dyni wrote:

By the way, is Trico a boy or girl? Is this even addressed, or do I just need to keep playing to find out?

Nope, it's not addressed as far as I can tell, which is kinda cool. It completely doesn't matter. Decide for yourself or just don't care either way!

The narrator refers to Trico as a "he" several times. But, I agree it really doesn't matter.

Ah, I was wondering if that was the case that I just missed a little thing like that. Good to know.

Wow. I'm glad I waited to post my end year list until I finished this. I might post some thoughts later, but I'm going to sleep on it for now.

Yesssssss... well, you might find my end of year list interesting. Sadly, I don't think we're going to get The Last Guardian on the list given this thread's size.

I didn't mention it in the thread, but the recent 8-4 Play podcast had a really good discussion about this game with someone who didn't find it frustrating and someone who found it really frustrating. It loosely mirrors a lot of the opinions here.

Here's a look at the entire game world, taken from a moment in the game and touched up in Photoshop:

Spoiler:

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/MiRDSRi.jpg)

This is the first thing I've seen that makes me really want to play this.

Cool! Yeah the world feels enormous and endlessly vertical.

I recently finished The Last Guardian, and my feelings are similar to the earlier games - the world is amazing, the puzzles are sometimes obtuse, and the technology is somewhat problematic. I appreciate the games far more than I enjoy them.

Experience Spoilers:

Spoiler:

The boy and camera controls were really challenging. One of the trophies is a no death run, and given how many times I died due to the controls, I see that as an exercise in frustration. For the most part, Trico behaved well. The most frustrating time was getting out of the water hole. His tail eventually came down, but got stuck and didn't fall all the way. Eventually it somehow came down and I could get out.

The game also felt too long. There were a few too many times where you get knocked back after making progress.

Fortunately, I was able to solve all the puzzles without a walkthrough. I think the magic would have been broken for me if I had to find solutions elsewhere.

Also, I had a weird thing happen where it looks like Trico goes through a gate that is way too small for him.

Isn't that just one of the flap gates he crawls through?

I never saw a flap gate being used. I guess that's it. I could only go through it, not move it.

So, I fired up the intro on my shiny new PS4 Pro, and it's so much better. I really look forward to playing through it again at a steady framerate.

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