It sounds a lot like Ico (navigating through a castle, solving puzzles, etc), more so than Shadow of the Colossus’ open world and sparse encounters. Instead of guiding a girl through the castle, you’re guiding Trico.
I hope there’s more to the interaction between Trico and the boy than we’ve seen far. If the main interaction is just scrambling up his back to reach high places in order to flick the next switch, I can see the gameplay becoming repetitive if the game is lengthy. Ico was a short game, so the experience consisting primarily of puzzle solving didn’t feel drawn out. Shadow of the Colossus was longer, but the encounters were so diverse that each fight felt fresh and exciting. I’m hoping we’ll see more elements from Shadow thrown in, where Trico literally acts as a moving landmass that you must navigate.
Regardless of whether this game lives up to the hype, The Last Guardian will be a day one purchase for me.
Hopefully the delay will mean that the release date and the play date are the same. We’ll see!
Polygon have published an 18 minute continuous gameplay video from Tokyo Game Show, along with their impressions:
Personally, I’m not worried about the controls. Ico and Shadow of the Colossus controlled distinctly different than the silky smooth controls found in modern platformers such as Tomb Raider (2013) and Uncharted. Movement was more unpedictable. More frustrating at times, yes, but arguably more realistic. Indeed, I think Shadow of the Colossus has the best horse controls of any video game I’ve played. You actually feel like you’re riding an unpredictable animal, rather than controlling a vehicle which looks like a horse. It’s fitting that The Last Guardian retains continuity in this area with its predecessors.
As people in the comments section noted, The Last Guardian “feeling like a Playstation 2 game” may be intentional. If the boy controlled like Lara Croft, the feeling of being an inexperienced nobody in a dangerous world would disappear. With this in mind, The Last Guardian may only appeal to a niche audience, those of who had the kind of patience required to defeat the final boss in Shadow of the Colossus. But it was always going to be case that The Last Guardian wouldn’t have mainstream appeal anyway.
Watching the video, The Last Guardian feels like an uncompromising game, one that stays true to it’s origins and the vision of it’s creator, despite it’s ever expanding development cycle. If The Last Guardian isn’t either a critical or commercial success, it may not matter so much. We’re very unlikely to see fourth game in this series, especially now that Fumito Ueda has left Sony, so The Last Guardian doesn’t need to try and be a game that someone else would want to play in order to secure a wide enough appeal to warrant a sequel.
The boy is going to control just like Wander did in SOTC (just a bit sluggish). It also made Wander feel more believable because in reality he wasn’t really a warrior. It just takes some getting used to. You either love it, hate it or learn to love it!
I think I’ve made this point before, but with all the mythical games finally getting announced / released (Duke Nukem Forever, Shenmue III, Last Guardian, even BG&E2) the final piece of the puzzle missing is now Half Life 3…
Valve are likely waiting to introduce some kind of innovative mechanic that depends on the right technology being available, the same way that Half-Life revolutionised storytelling in FPSs and Half-Life 2 made physics a prominent part of the experience. Both games were hugely influential on future games in the genre. I thought that VR might have been related to the wait, but surely we would have heard something by now if that was the case. Perhaps the technology isn’t ready for what they want to achieve. I don’t think Valve want to release a mere sequel, a Half-Life 2 with better graphics; they’ll want to release something that moves the genre forward.