Updates every other Sunday with new artwork and content from the working life of a freelance illustrator.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

The Last Guardian mini-review

Trico fanart, The Last Guardian
Trico, digital gouache painting

Shadow of the Colossus and Ico were games that have been recommended to me relentlessly over the past six or seven years. I own both of them and have given them both a try (repeatedly, for SotC) but, while I can appreciate the artwork, scale, originality and artistry, they've always thrown me with awkward controls and lack of guidance.

Regardless, I've been waiting a long time for The Last Guardian.

If you know anything about me you'll know that big fantasy beasties with child companions are absolutely my jam, so I knew I was going to love this game from the very first teaser trailer so, so many years ago.

Between myself and Ian we decided to invest in the special edition version, so we've got a really sweet statue of a sleepy Trico, an art book, stickers and the digital soundtrack. The art book is incredibly sparse for something that's been in production for so long. It's a lot of scribbles and pre-rendered modelling, with very little character/creature design. Maybe they're holding out for an in-depth book.

The game itself is thankfully a little more forgiving with the controls than previous Team Ico games. The trademark lack of guidance is there, but with more intuitive controls and clever level designs I was very rarely left without a clue as to where to go next. If anything, it was a refreshing break from the hand-holding that's plagued modern games and made me such a lazy gamer.

I sat down with The Last Guardian for two sittings and sped through it. The relationship between Trico and the boy gripped me, as I knew it would, and stirred me to the point of tears on several occasions. The sections that rely on the bond you've made with Trico are particularly moving, like throwing yourself off a crumbling platform and hoping that it'll catch you. The game never tells you to do this. But when Trico lunges forward and snatches you from tumbling into the abyss...damn, the feelings are so real.

This is the Team Ico game that fits the hype I've been hearing about all these years. Though I'm not sure it's enough to persuade me to revisit their classics. Not until I've stormed through Horizon Zero Dawn and Breath of the Wild, at least.


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About Me

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Hi! I'm Claire Spiller, a freelance illustrator, vis-dev artist & storyteller based in Bristol, UK. I love animals, wild places, plants, handmade things, and creating characters and stories. My work often blends nature and fantasy, science and mythology. I also do bits of sculpting and needle felt occasionally as a hobby, and sell prints, original art and bits of arty goodness in my Etsy store!
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