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January 24, 2017

The Last Guardian Content Guide + Review


The Little Boy and the Beast.


Release Date: December 2016

Developer: SIE Japan Studio


Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment


Platforms: PlayStation 4


Genre: Adventure



Content Verdict: Teenage Gamers for Fantasy Violence


Quality Verdict: Good (B)






Intro:



KVR Gaming uses a clear, easy-to-understand format for content guides, so that the reader may take away information with accuracy. Nevertheless, for first time readers, it may take a while to understand the formula. So here's a quick explantion of our reviewing style:



The double hyphen (--) represents an individual piece of content or area of concern. These paragraphs are colour coded in order to represent the intensity of said content. 



At the end of each mentioned piece of content is a number (1-10) in parentheses. The number is a more precise way of gauging content, with 1 being the lowest level of intensity and 10 being the highest.



--Green represents a low level of intensity. (1-2)



--Blue represents a moderate level of intensity. (3-5)



--Orange represents a high level of intensity. (6-8)



--Red indicates that the content is rather graphic and may be upsetting for some. (9-10)



If a reviewer finds a specific piece of content to be troublesome and worth expanded upon, the reviewer will place an X right after the double hyphen. This is called Flagging, where a reviewer will draw attention to a specific item in order to go into more detail in the conclusion of a review.



For any questions regarding content in a video game, feel free to leave a comment at the end of the appropriate review. 



Sincerely,



Kyle



Content Guide:


Violence/Intense Content: (5)

--(Major Spoilers) Throughout the game, the player is shown feeding a beast glowing barrels containing unknown food. At the end of the game, it is shown that the barrels consist of people, implying that the player has fed the beast people the entire game. (7) 

--A beast's tail is ripped off; we see another beast tearing at the former's tail, and see it disconnect and fall from the creature's body. This is bloodless. (7)

--Two beasts fight each other, clawing and biting at each other's throats, yelps heard and blood shown on their fur. The player can trap one beast's tail underneath a steel gate with spikes underneath, causing the animal to flinch with pain and roar at you. One of the beasts loses consciousness after the fight. (6)

--The creature can attack several soldiers, which are basically "living" statues, which try to attack the player. The creature violently slams and throws them around, destroying them and making them shatter into pieces. (6)

--A creature has a spear sticking out of its body, blood visible on the surrounding feathers. A boy pulls out the spear, the creature writhing and crying out in pain. This becomes a recurring event after combat, with spears being thrown at the creature and the player having to pull them out. (5)

-The creature is shown lying on the ground with blood flowing out from spear wounds on the floor beneath him. He wheezes in pain.

--The player, a young boy, can meet their demise by being eaten by a large creature; we see the creature swallowing him quickly before the screen fades to black. The player can also die by falling, going limp and letting out a cry of pain upon impact.

-Often, after falling an excessive height, the boy will limp for a while, gripping his leg and moaning with pain. (5)
 
Frightening Content:

--The creature, Trico, can be more than a bit frightening in certain sequences, and can be provoked to attack the player if not handled correctly, which results in him trying to eat you and destroying the nearby environment in the process. (6)

--Statues can chase the player, coming alive and running after you whilst roaring loudly. (6) 

Emotional Scenes:

(Major Spoilers) The ending is extremely emotional, with the creature nearly dying in its attempt to bring the player to safety. The creature is sent away, with a statement that it might not have long to live. The story ends ambigiously.  




Spiritual Content: (4)


--A couple of spiritual undertones: The creature, Trico, has a few spiritual elements which will remain unspoiled, but pieces of symbolism like an "eye" symbol are used in relation to him.

Sequences seemingly depicting death and rebirth are also shown, the "Game Over" scene implying that your character coming back from the dead or afterlife by showing a light which grows brighter as you push buttons, ending in your character returning to life. Creatures are shown using magical abilities to try and control your character, depicted through "Aztec-esque" symbols flying around your character.

Conclusion & Review of Game:




The Last Guardian (a weird name if you've played the game) follows the journey of a young boy and a giant cat/eagle named Trico as they embark on an extraordinary journey full of twists and turns.

Marred by poor camera angles and awkward controls, The Last Guardian suffers greatly due to the long development period leaving it ravaged and archaic. Nevertheless, the story has just enough heart for me to recommend to those who buy games in the bargain bin, as the tale still resounds in spite of how outdated it is by now.

The ending is particularly a strong point in the game, showing that in spite of the poor mechanics, The Last Guardian is still able to form a strong emotional bond between player and fictional creature.

Speaking of creatures, those wary of spiritual content in games might be bothered by some recurring symbolism in the game involving an "eye" symbol in relation to the creature. Its meaning is never explained, but those who want to read into symbolism might be able to extract a meaning which may or may not turn them off from this title.

Magic is also depicted, albeit it vague and never conclusive. Death and rebirth are also depicted, but never explained fully. Due to the fact that the spiritual content is so inconclusive, I have no qualms recommending this title even for those who are wary of such things. After all, it is just a work of fiction and shouldn't shake the foundations of your faith.

Flawed, imperfect, yet definitely a labour of love, The Last Guardian is worth checking out, even if it's just a title you buy on sale somewhere down the line. 




Verdict:



Good (B)
+Strong Emotional Bond with the Characters
 +Ending Resonates
-Flawed Mechanics
-Outdated Gameplay 

Rated Teenage Gamers for Fantasy Violence by KVR Gaming.

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