The Last Guardian

Highly anticipated this game, on announcement back in 2011. Fumito Ueda designed and genDESIGN studios in charge of animation, the game was destined to settle heavy on perceived-aesthetic-beauty and immersive puzzle breaking.

The setting is this; a boy lost in a dream, on a spiritual world, connected in some way to a mythical creature of old. It is very clever at this point you should know that gameplay is coincided with a flashback narrative of an elder, real-time explaining the story on which you embark. This becomes very useful if stuck on a puzzle as he will explain how it was he overcame this obstacle. Do not be dismayed, the voice only hints at clues and after the tutorial stage of the game it seems to be a rarity.

Having only played the game a few hours, there are a few areas on the design to briefly discuss. On arrival into the game it is clear that sound would play a role within the game. Highly emotive cut scenes draw out your feelings along side cleverly animated and realistic character movement. What is very clever about this games sound design is that composed music is used only in these linear moments of the game, when an important factor occurs. This will no doubt have an impact, an idea thought up by the games composer, Takeshi Furukawa.

For this game the role of gameplay-sound is from a sound design aspect. A level being filled with many ambient and natural sounds; birds, caves, atmospheric and a multitude of water states along with the gargantuan sounds of the lost animal. Giving the setting a whole array of other-worldly and magical sounds fill the spectrum as a reminder to the hyper-real of the spiritual aura. These high frequency and quite dainty sounds are just what the brain needs to stimulate problem solving. With a fine attention to detail Sound Designer Tsubasa Ito has worked a piece of art here to be very proud of.

Now this ‘beast’ Trico bares a resemblance to the ancient Egyptian Sphinx or Griffin from western mythology. In a rather intriguing way the main plot of the story line is communication between your character and the creature. In-game there are plenty of ways to interact, most times receiving vocalizations or outbursts of distress, impatience and angst. Though the shear beauty of the animals sounds and movements could get any lover of our canine/feline friends feeling quite reminiscent. With heartfelt moments to take away from the game, spending some time with Trico is well worth it.

tlg