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The Last Guardian Preview

Chris_Hudak By:
GENRE Action 
RP What do these ratings mean?

Trico is a hyenahuahuahippogriff.

Hold on to your heartstrings, folks; Team Ico has your emotions in its quiet, deliberate sights once again.

click to enlargeDesigned and directed by Fumito Ueda and developed by Team Ico for exclusive PS3 publication, The Last Guardian focuses on the growing relationship between a boy and a huge, winged, and disarmingly-cute creature called Trico. The game is a third-person action/puzzler wherein players control the boy as he runs, climbs, jumps, and otherwise interacts with numerous environmental challenges - often based on objects or in chambers that aren't made to support the weight, or allow the passage, of a dog/dragon/griffin hybrid the size of a small house).

The Last Guardian focuses on the process of players teaching, working with, and otherwise generally getting to know Trico—he's dragon-sized, with wings, feathery limbs, and a face calculated out to ten decimal places to trigger the same sorts of emotional responses Team Ico's efforts have become known for. He's also an animal—I assume it's a 'he', at any rate—and that means that, as with even the most affectionate real-world human/animal relationships, that there may and surely will be times when players will have to struggle simply to make their intentions and desires known to Trico.

How do you even get a two-story creature to direct its attention in one direction or the other, anyway? Maybe you throw a barrel or some other object (and if you have to throw something dangerous, you hope your large winged friend doesn't try to 'fetch' it back to you).

click to enlargeFrom what we've seen, Trico doesn't seem to have a terrible-clear initial understanding of his comparative size and mass. It's certainly handy and satisfying to see him swat a heavily-armed soldier out of the player's way like an oversized kitten thoughtlessly batting aside a stuffed toy. But if you're on a rickety suspension bridge that barely supports your onscreen-hero's weight, you probably don't want your huge feathered friend trying to soar into the air and settle down next to you. Naturally, Trico's size allows players to clamber up one of his hairy/feathery legs, settle on the back of his neck, and make like that scantily-armored chick in Heavy Metal, sans armor or chick.

During The Last Guardian's off-floor pabnel, Ueda-san even indirectly addressed recent fan-rumors that it might take a stylistic cue from Team Ico's previous games and have 'a sad ending'. Ueda didn't completely or directly deny the notion, but stated that the game conclusion could be considered open to interpretation. Team Ico has already made lots of us feel like soggy-eyed crap at least twice—so what are the odds they'd do it to us again, anyway?

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