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The Last Guardian is a slow gaming classic

The Last Guardian is original, gorgeous to look at, a bit repetitive and pokes you in the feelings.

Emotional depth is the stand-out feature of this game, which has at its beating heart the relationship between a small lost boy and a giant, flying feathered creature named Trico.

The Last Guardian wants you to care about its characters and it succeeds. Sony’s Japan Studio have recreated that bond between a boy and his dog. Call Of Duty this game ain’t. It’s slow gaming.

You navigate a cloud-capped complex of crumbling old towers, dark chambers and rooms pulsating with luminous energy conducted by mysterious technology. The environment is stunning. It’s nice to just linger among the towering, plunging ruins while flocks of birds fly by far below. Graphics are unfussily effective, right down to the rendering of Trico’s feathers, which flutter in sunlight in a way that’s god-darn poetical.

In this fantasy adventure game, teamwork is essential: you can’t get anywhere without your big beastie companion. You must feed Trico and pull spears out of its body when it’s hurt. The gameplay isn’t varied; it basically adds up to pulling levers and lots of platform jumping. Some people might even call it dull: there’s no boss battles, no weaponry to speak of and you do spend a bit too long trying and failing to get Trico to follow commands. Occasionally you must battle castle guards which are nothing but possessed suits of armour full of blue smoke.

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It’s a sign of how well the developers succeed in creating a bond between the player and the characters that I caught myself cheering when Trico survives one particular moment of jeopardy. It’s the first time I’ve responded like that to a game. I couldn’t pull out the spears out of the poor thing’s bleeding body fast enough.

My personal experience of gaming’s Landscape of the Passions is that it’s not a lush place. It’s normally a visceral hell-scape with just a single fuming volcano spewing out raging fury, feverish glee and nothing else. The Last Guardian is very different. It’s a meditation on companionship and is well worth a look.

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It took me 23 years to complete Prince of Persia