an example of a gameplay story

an example of a gameplay story

The Last Guardian impresses with its unique approach in terms of both gameplay and story, providing the player with an immersive experience and not leaving indifferent to the secondary, but no less important, clumsy character. The exciting implementation of artificial intelligence of the animal adds an additional level of depth to the game, interacting with which the player spends the entire game time. Despite some identified problems in the process of passing, they are not able to spoil the overall impression of the project. In this article, we’ll take a look at the structure of the gameplay narrative and suggest ways to solve the most common problems to ensure a more positive gaming experience.


Gameplay story

Let’s start by looking at the most notable characteristics of this game, namely its ability to present a story through game mechanics. Unlike the traditional approach, where the plot in games is usually demonstrated through numerous words, cutscenes, notes and journals, this game focuses on using game mechanics and situations to develop relationships between the main characters. The beginning of the game is set at the moment when Trico needs the help of a little boy. The player immediately gets acquainted with the process of extracting copies from the animal’s body, which leads to its calming down and improving relations (Fig. 1). Then the next stage involves feeding the chained creature in the center, which also helps improve the overall mood (Figure 2). Later in the game, the player gets the opportunity to free Trico from his chains and tame him (Figure 3). Both of these mechanics continue to function effectively throughout the game, as the creature needs to be fed periodically, and taking out copies becomes strategically important when facing opponents who use these tools against Trico.

Learning mechanics in The Last Guardian

The story in the game is also based on the idea of ​​mutual aid. At certain points, the player must feed Trico (Fig. 1) to calm him down, restore his strength and the ability to move forward by breaking the stained glass windows that resemble eyes (Fig. 2). This new ally of the boy becomes a key helper in moving the architectural structures up to the exit of the ancient city located in the crater. In the face of constant attempts by the law enforcement officers to capture the player, Trico acts as the boy’s constant defender throughout the game (Fig. 3). Separately, it is worth expressing thanks to the developers for the wonderful architecture, which serves not only as an aesthetic element, but also indicates the path taken. Columns going into the clouds create a feeling of infinity moving through the houses at the beginning of the game (Fig. 4).

The boy helps Trico

Triko helps the boy

Architecture in The Last Guardian

Mutual assistance is also manifested in dynamic action scenes. In the first of these scenes, when a structure collapses, Trico is closely monitoring the player’s actions. When the structure collapses, the player has no choice but to jump towards Trico (Figure 1-2), relying on his faithful companion for support. This moment calls for the mutual aid that was pre-established in the previous scenes and becomes an integral part of the gameplay narrative, strengthening the relationship between the characters. Further, the player will be in similar situations, and the player will trust Trico even more.

The first action scene

Problems during the game

The game still has a number of technical problems that surprise or even annoy players. Let’s take a closer look at the organization of artificial intelligence:
1. Compulsion to act (for example, a boy’s cry)
2. An important element of interaction with Triko is his ability to focus and prioritize actions. When the player offers the barrel to the beast, thus creating a signal for activity, Trico responds by consuming the item. However, when the spear is removed, the animal makes painful sounds and becomes less mobile. After fighting enemies, the player needs to calm the beast down by petting it to strengthen the bond and set it up for friendly interaction. If Trico moves away from the player, this may indicate a lack of interest in the boy. With the development of relationships between characters, the speed of response to the player’s instructions increases. However, the initial slowness of action early in the game can cause the player to doubt their chosen moves and cause them to lose interest in the project. Now let’s pay attention to the problem itself – the lack of clarity in the execution of the instructions given by the boy. It is difficult for the player to determine whether Trico will perform a specific action or continue to wait for new instructions. Sometimes when executing a command, the beast may resort to an unexpected action, which can confuse the player about his expectations.

When passing, clearly visible problems with the camera. The player has the opportunity to spin it freely, which causes various strange situations, for example: the boy may not be visible behind a wall or column (Figs. 1 and 2). This can be annoying when traversing and losing the character in mind. Here, on the one hand, the problem lies in the camera itself, which should be made fixed, on the other hand, developers, if leaving such an element in force, should take this into account when creating locations and make them more free and test. The first option is more advantageous, since the game has narrow passages that cannot be done without a fixed camera.

Camera problem in The Last Guardian

Visual indication mechanics in video games are a variety of ways to indicate important interactive elements. The importance of visual indication is to provide the player with a clear perception of game mechanics, making them understandable and accessible. This creates a more immersive and intuitive gaming experience, increasing player engagement and making it easier to learn new game mechanics. The ways of noting the mechanics of climbing are varied and involve the use of different elements. For example, it can be blue stones (Fig. 1), hieroglyphs (Fig. 2), wooden boards (Fig. 3) or metal crossbars (Fig. 4).

Visual indication in The Last Guardian

However, there are situations in the game when the player will have to move through the leaves (Fig. 1). It will be very difficult to predict this in advance, since familiar methods are not used, which disrupts the stability of game mechanics. Blue outlines could be highlighted on the sheet, attracting the player’s attention. The second point concerns the narrow passages (Fig. 2), which are difficult to read in this environment. The use of light beams similar to those used by developers for similar passages in buildings or caves could improve the reading of these elements.

The impermanence of visual language in The Last Guardian

There are moments in the game where it is difficult to determine the important path for the player. At the entrance to the location, you can see a destroyed bridge (Fig. 1), which forces you to order the beast to jump over the cliff, but this action simply does not happen. The player gets used to the fact that mostly the boy calls, and the beast does the necessary action, but here it is the other way around. The problem is that there was a passage nearby (Fig. 2) that leads to teaching Trico to give orders. It is there that the player learns to give commands, for example, to jump or push. It is better not to make such a fork, but to make locations in the form of a gut, where first there will be training, and then consolidation of new mechanics.

Marking an important path

Sometimes there are game areas that can mislead the player, leading him to a dead end. Such situations must be corrected, otherwise the player can get confused in the location, thinking that he is performing all the actions. It is important to take steps to exclude such false possibilities to ensure understanding and proper direction of gameplay. So that such problems do not arise, it is worth testing more thoroughly.

False opportunities

In the game, there is a situation where the player needs to make a jump to a certain point, but due to the significant distance between him and part of the location, it turns out to be difficult on the first try. It is critical to set up the locations in such a way that such situations do not occur, and the player can successfully complete the task the first time. Not only will this improve the user experience, but it will also prevent misunderstandings like this from failed attempts.

The problem with distance

Together

Considering all the problems listed above, the game is still worth playing at least because of such a unique gaming experience that it wants to convey to the player and, indeed, an interestingly constructed storyline, realized through game mechanics.

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