Today marks new gameplay of The Last Guardian being shown off, with impressions of the game being posted by different gaming outlets who was able to spend some hands-on time with the title.
For as much as The Last Guardian nails the broad feeling it’s going for in this demo, it whiffs on the details. Specifically: It feels awkward as hell when it comes to actually controlling the main character. The protagonist doesn’t walk so much as he lurches in whichever direction you’ve pushed the analog stick. Much of the demo focuses on platforming, but his jumps have a stickiness to them, a sense of inaccuracy that could be played up as realistic weightiness in the right game but just feels frustrating here.
The game seems to have a hard time determining what you actually want it to do from button presses alone. On several occasions, I tapped the jump button to reach a swinging rope, only to have the main character instead shift direction and climb on top of a nearby railing.
Many of my problems with this short demo of The Last Guardian can be summed up neatly in one sentence: It feels like a PlayStation 2 game. I love a lot of PlayStation 2 games, but in the decade-plus since that was my console of choice, I’ve grown used to such novelties as responsive character movement and a camera that isn’t shitty.
At times I extended this lesson to the game itself—a few parts of the demo felt rough, and I ran into trouble with simple actions like pushing something up an incline. I was supposed to grab and push a large cylinder up a ramp, but I kept getting stuck in place or suddenly let go of it. The ordeal seemed to take longer than it should for such a simple action, and I wondered if this was an in-game bug that Sony was currently fixing. Other times, I’d have to wait for Trico to do what was necessary to complete the puzzle, because it would follow his own logic instead of instantly listening to my demands. I wasn’t playing The Last Guardian at my own pace, but at Trico’s.
I don’t know if this makes for a good game, but it did make for an interesting experience. The AI seems rather sophisticated, and Trico could very well be the most realistic creatures to appear in a video game. While that realism might wear on some players’ patience, it made the game more immediate. You are dealing with an animal and all that entails.