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The Last Guardian
Steerpike
Subtropical Southeastern Michigan
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December 7, 2016 - 9:14 am
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"Think Piece" is my middle name! Matthew Steerpike Think Piece Sakey.

Seriously though, and no one needs to read this since xtal already said it better, it probably is important to keep TLG's pedigree in mind when considering it, and re-reading both the Polygon review and the Eurogamer one, it's clear that Polygon's focus is on mechanical issues that (again, as xtal said) aren't really the... the point when it comes to a Team Ico game. Actually in this case it looks like some of the control "problems" are on purpose and, in fact, heavily mocapped to emphasize the movements of the kitty bear and the little boy. So maybe they're frustrating at times; the controls and camera in Ico and Shadow were also frustrating at times but to imply that the frustration seriously detracts from the experience suggests a perspective that's not really right for these games.

I'm really curious to see some of the stuff Eurogamer described at such length: the need to read the emotions of the kitty bear, to understand its expressions and the sense that they've really modeled animal behavior so carefully. I mean, think about Agro in Shadow of the Colossus, how impressively horsey he was, you can only imagine how much more they might accomplish with lots of development time and the PS4's processing power.

With luck, learning to incentivize the kitty bear will help me train my kitten to stop waking me up at 6am for breakfast.

Which one was the Eighth Colossus? Was that the one in the arena, the one Dormin described as a shadow that crawls on the walls? I should Google it.

(two minutes later)

Yes, it's that one. I had trouble with that guy, though I can't remember whether it was due to ineptitude or bothersome camera.

ANYWAY, Polygon's was the first TLG review I read and the more I reflect on it, the more it feels like it's coming from the wrong place, a place of not taking the Fumito Ueda-ness sufficiently into account and evaluating it as "just" a puzzle platformer, rather than a Team Ico game.

That it's finally here is strangely unreal. I always assumed it would turn up sooner or later, but I'd gotten so accustomed to the idea that TLG was going to be In The Future that I haven't quite grokked the fact that it's now In The Present.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

Steerpike
Subtropical Southeastern Michigan
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December 8, 2016 - 9:22 am
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A great QA with Takeshi Furukawa, TLG's composer, at Gamasutra.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Synonamess Botch
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December 8, 2016 - 11:32 pm
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I admit to having less and less patience with crap gameplay as I get older.  I also admit to getting frustrated with the camera in both ICO and SoTC at time.  But the key point about those games is that the controls aren't crap.  What they are is unconventional.  Perfect example: once you learn to work with Agro and not treat him like a motorcycle, he controls wonderfully; only once you relinquish control does it start to feel right.  So I too have little patience for those who won't get past what they perceive as shoddy controls.  They're missing unique and fulfilling experiences.

I may have mentioned this before but I could swear they smoothed over some of the rough edges in the PS3 remaster of SoTC.  I breezed through most of the Colossi as I never did in the original.  Anyone agree with me on this?

Anyway, I completely agree with both of you on all points.  And am I going to offend anyone by saying that Polygon is shite?

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xtal
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December 9, 2016 - 12:21 pm
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Eh, not me. I like some of their stuff, and some stuff not so much.

But totally agree with that comment, the controls aren't bad, just different. From what I'd read I was expecting a nightmare with TLG's controls, but that's not what I experienced.

So I played about an hour and a half the other night ... I found the game utterly mesmerizing. The music is beautiful! And my god, for a game that was in production as a PS3 game for a good while I think the graphics are gorgeous. The design is gorgeous. You could play this game and just know it was related to Ico and Shadow somehow.

I've been having difficulty recently with games that seem like they're going to be long and a lot of work, despite how amazing they seem. Like Dishonored 2; I'm only in the second level but the world feels so alive and thoughtful. But while I'm playing it there's no ... I'm not sure how to say it; no unseen force that compels me to push forward.

The Last Guardian has that unseen force.

Can I also say something that I think goes unmentioned and is underrated: the GUI of the game; rather, the lack of a GUI. I think it can be a sign of a well designed game, having no clutter on the screen.

Also was not expecting narration! But I like it. The beast (indeed, "Trico," or Turico as it sounds to be pronounced) just sort of does what he wants, but I haven't felt annoyed by him not doing what I want. This is mostly due to me getting lost looking at every bit of scenery. This game is so beautiful. Hey, it may not be the most surprising thing you've heard this year, but I love this game so far.

I think I have to be one of the most patient people playing games in the world. I chalk this up to being an only child and having to imagine up much of my fun as a kid, not having brothers or sisters to play with. Hell, another game I picked up and enjoyed this year is Elite Dangerous, the definition of a game which requires patience and imagination.

In my heart I kept the faith for The Last Guardian; imagining that I would probably dig the game, no matter its flaws. What I didn't expect was how great it would look. I knew it would have that graphical feel to it, but I think it's genuinely one of the best looking games I've seen this year.

I'm no longer part of this agency. You there, get my shoes!

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Synonamess Botch
Texas, y'all
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December 9, 2016 - 12:34 pm
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Dangit!  Amazon still hasn't even put my copy in the mail yet.

I have to say that I really lost faith in TLG, maybe even more than once.  By all accounts I trust, seems I was wrong.

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Steerpike
Subtropical Southeastern Michigan
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December 13, 2016 - 9:11 am
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Normally this is one I'd go straight out and get (or Amazon) but people say I'm "difficult to shop for" and 'tis the season. Keep the impressions coming, though!

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Synonamess Botch
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December 15, 2016 - 3:03 pm
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My copy finally came and I have also only played briefly.  What a surreal experience.  I can hardly believe I actually have this game.  I could say more but it would just be a rehash of Xtal's initial impressions.

And as if to punctuate the delay, my PS4 wouldn't even recognize the disk initially until I power cycled it.

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geggis
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December 15, 2016 - 3:10 pm
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Synonamess Botch said
And as if to punctuate the delay, my PS4 wouldn't even recognize the disk initially until I power cycled it.  

Sounds like your PS4 had a Ron Burgundy moment.

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Synonamess Botch
Texas, y'all
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December 21, 2016 - 9:19 am
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I'm really enjoying it so far.  The bond between the boy and the beast gradually deepens.  In gameplay terms it increases the number of things you can coax the beast to do.  I think coax is the right word since the boy doesn't directly control the beast.  In any other game it would become frustrating trying to figure out what to do.  In this game it feels like relationship building.

Still, I would really like to see a detailed post-mortem about what exactly took so long.  I'm sure there's quite a bit of hidden complexity but 9 years worth?  That obviously doesn't account for all or even most of it.

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