Why I Write Game Reviews

I consider myself open-minded when it comes to games, however, I found that the chance of me liking a game increases when 1) the music is good and 2) if it’s visually attractive. I appreciate good illustrations. But I wonder if that statement is true or if I am just being simple-minded. For instance, while many folks enjoyed Nier Automata, released on February 23, 2017 and developed by PlatinumGamesVirtuos, I still don’t like it as much as the first installment nor do I prefer Nier Replicant, developed by Square EnixToylogic Inc. to Nier Gestalt, released on April 22, 2010 and developed by Cavia.  It’s a mystery why I like certain things or maybe it’s not all that mysterious: I prefer certain game developers over the other. This may explain why some games speak to me more than others–and why my mental state does not always have an effect on my enjoyment as I initially believed. Perhaps, my likes and dislikes are embedded in my conscience. Some things never change–like my soul. For instance, I tend to enjoy dark humor and horror since I was a kid, but I don’t consider myself mentally unstable. Most of my peers (a.k.a. “nice girls”) don’t like horror. So why do I like it? I have been trying to probe into my own psyche to learn more about myself because that’s what introverts do! Surprisingly, I learned recently why I enjoy the survival horror genre after watching the horror film: The Witch, directed by Robert Eggers which was released on February 19, 2016 (I did not enjoy the outcome because it has a horrifying political statement). Have I ever mention in this blog about hating politics? I don’t think so. I may write something about it in the future. It just depends on my mood. After all, this blog is a hobby(Actually, sometimes I confused play with work. I could do this for a living happily).

After dropping Scarlet Nexus, developed by BANDAI NAMCO StudiosTose, released June 24, 2021, I picked up Zero Time Dilemma, developed by Spike Chunsoft which I purchased a few years ago, I am finally getting around to playing it. Yes, this game was released in 2016 as the third installment of the Zero Escape series. If you were to ask me, I am currently enjoying it a lot despite what some folks have mentioned about the game in the past as a lower tier compared to the first two installments. As I mentioned in one of my reviews, I love puzzle games and gameplay does matter to meThe gameplay and the story go well together in this game. In defense of this game, most likely there will be a review/analysis in the near future. I find that it’s easier to write when my emotions are pleasant. Unpleasant ones turn the writing process into a chore. In the past, I have already volunteered my time freely to write these game reviews which could use a little improvement:

No surprise there, they are all horrifying games, but they all have potential. It’s hard not to critique them when I spent time playing them. However, I learned that if I don’t have anything kind to say, I won’t say it at all because writing politely about a game I don’t like took a lot of energy out of me, and it does not serve any real purpose other than to blow someone’s ego (I don’t know why gamers feel attacked when someone doesn’t like their games), although an indie game developer did thank me for a solid game critique writing of their game. This took me by surprise because I always thought I am writing into the void. If there is anything I learned from blogging about the games I’ve played is that my passion for games have not died. It’s just that “bad games” do exist, and I am not going to like everything I play and that is okay.


Games don’t have to be epic or difficult for them to be good. It just got to have some sort of sense to it. At the end of the day, I sure do like games that feel good and rewarding.

I Couldn’t Follow Through

I hate dropping games, and most importantly failing to keep my word. I am just not as addicted to Scarlet Nexus. According to Howlongtobeat.com, the game takes about 25 hours to complete the main story. I have already clocked in 21 hours and I am still not done with Kasane’s story. There are just way too many talking and character-bonding episodes. It’s not bad for those who enjoy anime and story-driven games. But it just feels so staged and generic. I started this game up a few times. Last year, I tried and I tried again this year. It’s just not for me.

The gameplay is flashy and pretty. It makes you feel good when you defeat an enemy, but at the same time, it feels like button mashing. On top of that, the color red is too intense for me, although I did find some areas pretty to look at:

I am going to drop this game. I want something more mellow and relaxing. Yes, I failed but at least I could say, I tried.

Scarlet Nexus First Impression

So far, this preachy, cliché game about learning how to get along in a team is quite entertaining. On top of that, the Photo Mode is fun. Slowly, I feel like I can do more of this virtual photography thing. It’s sure a fun way to pastime. Plus, I could always use more humor in my life. In this game, you can select either male (Yuito) or female (Kasane) protagonist to start the game. I chose to play Kasane’s route first. She’s an indifferent, strong rational lady–atypical, but typical of what a strong female character should look like, but I will go more into that later after I finished playing her story.

The color red in this game is far from relaxing

I feel that discussing gameplay, story, and the overall structure of the game will take several blog posts to cover this JRPG game since I like to play games thoroughly. I have thought of writing daily to jot dot detailed playthroughs, but I have not decided if that is the route I want to go for this blog because quality posts matter to me. As a reader myself, I hate wasting the reader’s time. So, that’s why I do my best to write a polished blog post. However, it will take the load off of my shoulders if I just do freewriting like in this blog without being overly concerned about using proper grammar. For one, most gamers don’t care. Secondly, classist book snobs don’t take video game stories seriously, so there’s no point in trying to impress them or convince them. Sometimes in life, you just have to take a side. Being true to myself is more important than finding acceptance. I stand by my hobby.

How true…

It always blows my mind how narrow-minded a well-read person can be. You’d assume they would be more open-minded. Not the other way around. Anyway, I won’t go into politics. After all, I am thinking about a particular person. She doesn’t represent the entire book community. For now, I will take my leave. This summarized my weekly blog update. Hopefully, I provide enough information on what to expect in future posts.

Fatal Frame IV: Blossomed Death

When you think of a horror game, you think scary. Not this game. It’s beautiful. The concept, the plot, the characters, the music, the sound production, the colors, etc. Even one of the ghosts is quite fashionable! Okay, I am being overly enthusiastic about the game. The game is good but it’s not cosmetically perfect. Recycled ghosts, cheesy jump scare moments, and frequent wraiths spotting sort of destroyed the horror atmosphere. However, what the game did right is making a horror game feel and look beautiful. I can only imagine those who enjoy this game tend to lean toward their “feminine side,” the emotional side. If I could describe this game in a sentence, it’s feminine all around just like the moon, and like the sea, it tugs and pulls you in.

Music helps one recall a memory as to the Moon that helps give us shape and form

I am going to confess. I think the order of the story can be confusing. The order of story starts with Misaki and Madoka exploring Rogestu Hall. They were lured to the island by the cause of their friends’ death, believing that the island had something to do with their past. According to the synopsis, 5 girls went missing on the day of the Karuga Rogestu festival which occurred every decade on Rogestu Island. Three out of the five missing girls: Misaki, Madoka, and Ruka went back to the island to solve the mystery that caused their amnesia. While investigating the Rogestu Hall, the girls discovered they were part of an illegal clinical experimentation that attempt to cure the Moonlight Syndrome which caused the people on the island to lose their memories and their sense of self. Their only relief is to head toward the Moon where it gives them some of sort relief (I like how the Moon is used to describe light–a soft light that guides the living because death as we know is presumably and utterly darkness). The incurable disease Moonlight Syndrome caused a mass death on the island which then resulted in the abandonment of the island altogether. But how did this Moonlight Syndrome come about? The answer lies in the Karuga Rogestu ritual dance. In the dance, the maiden wears a mask, acting as a vessel surrounded by five girls called the organs. Each plays a different instrument. Because the mask was not perfect it caused the ritual to fail and the face of the maiden to blossom death. Anyone who sees her dies. If you were to ask me, the story makes more sense if it begins with Detective Choshiro Kirishima, but that would defeat the mystery and suspense parts, and I wouldn’t be able to find joy trying to piece the story together.

Perhaps, I am just a natural detective

When I take a step back and look at the story, what I find so poetic about this concept of this story is the notion that people are made of a tune. Each and everyone have a different tune. When there is no tune or noise–we called it death. Also, the moon is a metaphor for memories that makes up the soul. The Rogestu Karuga ritual also known as the Rite of Descent in ancient times is a spiritual dance where the “living souls meet the dead.” Why perform such a horrific dance? Well, we learned that Rogestu Island is the gateway to Hallow Realm where the dead reside. The dance is meant to ward off the dead from reaching the moon (the living realm). To do that, a ritual is performed by a maiden and girls who have high spiritual potential. They must be in tune with the Moonsong that pacifies the dead back to their graves.

What a gloomy game

There are more details to the story that I left out, but I believe I got the main point out of the way. The story can be a hit or miss with some folks who prefer a linear story. I, on the other hand, enjoyed the abstract idea and the metaphor: The soul is an orb, a light, the Moon that houses one’s memories. One without a soul becomes void. Hence, blossomed death. This game is pretty abstract like a messy painting but it all seems to come together at the end.

Note: This is just my interpretation of the story. I may update and correct information in this article accordingly.

Currently in Nightmare Mode

I wanted to write about the story in Fatal Frame Mask of the Lunar Eclipse but I sort of got burnt out; on top of the fact, I am ill as we speak. It hinders my ability to write, but I’m slowly getting better. If only I schedule in advance like most bloggers, this wouldn’t be a problem. Oh, my stubbornness. I just like to do things naturally without a set schedule. You can’t force creativity. It comes to you or it just doesn’t.

I give myself a cookie for attempting to keep this blog updated weekly

Anyway, I finished my third playthrough with a 62% completion. Took a break from the game and now I am playing it for the 4th time! Collecting all the Wraiths is the hardest part since it happens on random occurrences. However, I am not too concerned about beating the game on Nightmare Mode. I just have to be mindful of using health items and stronger type films since you can no longer purchase them in the Save Menu. Luckily, my weapons (Camera Obscura and the Spirit Stone Flashlight) are maxed out. It’s going to be tough because items in the game are pretty scarce. So that means…I can’t let ghosts touch me! As I mentioned before, the wisest decision is to play the game on Easy Mode so that you can get the feel of the game. All items will be carried to the next playthrough. So I recommend stocking on items while you can. But if you are in just for the story, then Easy Mode is the way to go because the story alone is pretty good.
I still have not grasped the thought process behind the reasoning of each character but I feel that Detective Choshiro Kirishima is the hero of the day.

Resting time is up.

He is investigating the Moonlight Syndrome that turns people on Rogestu Island into lunatics. Okay…I am just joking that is not the story of the game. Stay tuned while I’ll try to piece the story together on the 4th playthrough in Halsdoll’s style. Hopefully, I will try to get it in before Mother’s Day. I could play more feminine games like this.

The photo mode is so fun.

Fatal Frame Mask of the Lunar Eclipse Review: Not A Walk in the Park

As the title suggests, this game is hard to platinum and get an ‘S’ rank. I flunked this old-school survival horror game. I cleared the game with a ‘D’ rank! I still don’t know how the grading works, but boo hoo, I have no shame in sharing my score because if there’s one thing I’ve learned about life is that we become better through failing: All babies learn how to crawl before they even learn how to walk. It’s this childlike optimism of mine that keeps me going because this game is no walk in the park, but I sure love the challenge.

As a horror fan, there’s no surprise that I am a fan of this franchise. I still remember those youthful days when my younger brother and I bought Fatal Frame on the whim simply based on the cover and because it’s a survival horror game. We played up to the third installment but did not get to play the 4th installment for obvious reasons. North America did not get its release. Like most survival horror fans, I tried to find ways to play the game but gave up on it many years ago. Glad I did not spoil myself because I enjoy playing the remastered edition, released on March 8th 2023 for the first time. It reminds me of the PlayStation 2/Nintendo Wii era. It feels like a Wii game with trophies. I am not sure if that is a good thing. Sometimes wanting to do many things in one playthrough can get overwhelming as I found with most PlayStation 3 games.

There is a reason why it’s called a blind playthrough…Attempting to collect everything in one playthrough is impossible.

Because I like to play games I enjoy at least twice, I started with Normal Mode but then went quickly back to Easy Mode. I know several people selected Normal Mode because they don’t want the game to be too easy, but the wiser decision is to play on Easy Mode to experience the story. Plus, when you are starting out, defeating enemies can be difficult since the Camera Obscura (your weapon) is at its basic. I found that playing on Easy Mode on my first playthrough was harder than playing on Normal Mode. The second time around, defeating ghosts becomes a breeze when items are no longer scarce since upgrades and items are transferrable over from the first playthrough. You can also trade in your spirit points by defeating ghosts for items that can aid you by accessing the Save Point menu in the game.

Speaking from my own experience, I can only speculate that the 2nd playthrough is when the player knows how to play the game. So, completing Ghost List which consists of taking pictures of Wraiths, Specters, Revenants and Hozuki Dolls was just an additional fun gameplay factor. I am not sure if the Ghost List was originally part of the game or whether it is a new addition to the game. All I know it’s a good way to make players play the game multiple times. So far, I completed the Hozuki Dolls. There are 79 of them by the way and they are not easy to find. If you ask me, I enjoy the hunt and the thought process. Some of the doll hiding places are purposely hard to locate and can be quite funny too.

It was right on top of me all along…

On the downside, modern gamers might find the controls quite frustrating. The controls sometimes are not very responsive. But then again, with a little practice, it is possible! Yes, you need to learn how to do a quick turn (press L3 and R on the PS5 controller) to avoid ghosts in battle and snap good pictures, which can be a terrifying experience for those who are easily spooked out, but for me not so much. When I am in “hunting mode”, trying to defeat ghosts by taking pictures becomes less scary since I have some form of control over my environment unlike in films where I am a passive observer. But that’s beside the point of what I am trying to make. The controls can be quite annoying. I failed to snap a good picture of the specter several times for it to show up in the Ghost List, which is part of a trophy. In order to capture the picture, you have to take the picture at a certain angle so that the blue circle lights up in the frame shot. I found myself attempting to reload saved points over and over until I get the perfect shot! One of them took me an hour!

I was so happy getting this one!

Then there is the part where the item meter glows but there’s no item to be found until you swing your flashlight back and forth until something eventually lit up. Talk about a great way to kill time. I believe all of these factors contribute to my low score. As I mentioned, the game is no walk in the park. It is, after all, a horror game. Did people expect it to be an Animal Crossing experience? So, I am not too harsh on the controls and the slow movement of the characters. But I do recommend playing the game on Easy Mode on the first try for a seamless gaming experience.

Despite my frustration with the gaming mechanics, I am getting better at snapping pictures. I found that it’s easier to defeat ghosts on my 2nd playthrough on Normal Mode than Easy Mode. That should say a lot about the game. Players are encouraged to play multiple times. As a result, progressively, the player will get better. Now I am on my 3rd playthrough. The entire game can be finished in 11 hours or less (The most time-consuming part is trying to complete the Ghost List). Each phase (chapters) is not too long are drawn out. So, finishing a phase feels manageable. There are 4 characters total that you can play, but I will go more into that in my second game review (in essay format) which I will cover the story and its prominent metaphor, the moon.

For what it’s worth, players will get a lot from this game: good story, good soundtrack, attractive characters (great selling point for me because I like dolls). Overall good pacing. It’s a shame I don’t have a hard copy to add to my small horror video games collection. At the same time, just being able to experience it is more than a dream come true so I can’t complain too much. Like its song, this game is going to linger with me for a very long time.

Goetia Review (PC): I’m A Nice Ghost

Old habits are hard to die. Like black coffee, video game is one of the things that get me out of bed. Here I am talking about it when I said I will keep the hobby to myself. One nice thing though is that I did not rush to write a thoughtful review after I finished the game. Instead, I took my time to write here and there when I can without feeling the pressure to meet deadlines. This blog is supposed to be fun, and fun it should be.

Someone once told me a decade ago, if I want to play games for the story then I should sign up for Steam. And so, I did. However, I can’t say I played enough indie titles to abandon AAA Games entirely. While I enjoyed games such as Cat Lady, I wish I could say the same about Goetia. The story wasn’t all that interesting enough to keep me on my toes. If you were to ask me to summarize it, it would require some painful backtracking because putting the story together feels like a chore. I didn’t think it was necessary to throw in some excerpts from books to help flesh out the story. Most of the time I asked myself what am I reading? How does this item tie in with the story? On top of this minor annoyance, the font style in some letters made it hard to read.

My eyesight is not bad, but typically I do wear glasses when I play games. There’s a problem with the font if I have to squint to read the pretty letters.
Does this book have something to do with the actual story other than just a place to hide a clue?

This brings me to gameplay: The puzzles were difficult but not in a good way. For instance, if the character is not good with music theory why include a music puzzle? There’s a difference between being challenging and being sadistic. It rubbed me the wrong way. All in all, I had to follow a guide for this game. And I learned that I am not the only one who felt this way! Talk about incohesive gaming experience. Not good. On the positive side, the game excels at atmosphere, although I can’t say I was scared playing as a ghost named Abigail! Should I be frightened of myself?

floating orb near scary statues
I am the floating orb in the game…

It’s a shame I wasn’t demonic. Instead, I was a nice ghost, which made me realize even if you were a demon or a ghost, you will always be in the right! That means smashing the dishes, slamming doors, and screaming are all justified (I hope I am not the only one who thought this was funny). On a serious note, the sound production in this game is soothing. I can see how this helps those who suffer from anxiety. This game is great with a cup of tea. You can check out my short playthrough to know what I mean.

Overall, it was a relaxing game. The greatest part about this game is learning a new vocabulary. I guess I am not demonic or gothic enough because I didn’t know what Goetia is before I played the game. Well, now I do! I noticed there is part II, but I didn’t like the game enough to want a sequel so I am going to pass. An explorative horror game with a lot of free agencies to roam is just not my cup of tea, but I sure love the ambient, horror theme!

It’s Been 5 Years…Is It Game Over?

Recently, I learned that it has been 5 years since I registered this domain. Wow! It has been that long? WordPress, as a blogging platform has been my sanctuary for many years, and I have been quite comfortable where I am but if I want to attract more readers something must change. I love writing about video games but they are the least popular with Search Engine and take up the most time to write. While I am proud of what I write, the only person who gets the most joy out of it is me. So that’s why I’m grateful when people do let me know they like it as well. Because I created this blog for me, I don’t get sad or depressed when stats are low. Never have. However, I do think my stuff is pretty good and deserves to be in front of more people. This got me thinking. Should I head over to YouTube where the eyeballs are at?

If I were to go toward the YouTube route, it will take a lot of time to edit and create a video since it is not in line with my expertise. Thinking about it is quite overwhelming but I’m willing to be flexible if that will help my blog get more exposure. Then I ask myself is that how I want to use my precious time? My preferred method of communication has always been through writing. Losing the ability to write is a scary thing for society as a whole, and I don’t want to be a part of an activity that helps bring the downfall of humanity. Oh wait, I am being a hypocrite here. What about video games? Oh no, I am becoming a confused robot.

I feel paralyzed…what was I thinking?

The other route is to write more about books and films, which I don’t attest. I love to talk about books and films artistically. I did a lot of that in school! However, gaming is my main hobby. So naturally I like to analyze the games I have played in detail. After all, I am one of those people who consider video game as art. I play games because I admire beauty and craftsmanship. Playing video game to me is like going to an art museum, which is why I tend to lean toward Japanese video games than Western games. They are just more experimental.

This brings me back to the point of why I blog in the first place and whether I should move away from lovely WordPress. I haven’t found the right community that is accepting of my hobby but also shares the same values. I remember my co-worker laughed when people online start talking about an indie game as if it were some great novel. If you ask me, it can be. For those who are not aware, I lived in Seattle for quite some time. You’d think gaming is supposedly more acceptable there because of the tech industry. But you’d be surprised. Some people still think it’s a waste of time. Many of my acquaintances and friends still feel that way. Some even work for game companies. Well, I am not a fan of Halo and guns so I can understand their points. I digress.

So back to my question? Is it Game Over for this blog? Not quite, I’ll keep this blog open, but it is time for me to seriously write and look into traditional publisher. I suppose it was only a matter of time before I learned the importance of writing and how it links to the human souls. Writing about video games will not do–but writing about other things will. Unless there are some kind souls out there who would support this silly passion of mine, I might be able to keep writing about video games. In the meantime, I will keep my hobby to myself.


I have never seen my fruit of labor as a waste of time. More than anything, it puts things into perspective and brought me joy that only I could understand.

PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo Review–I Found A Good Soap

One of my favorite pastimes is exploring the Steam store page. And it just happened that I stumbled upon PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo, which is developed and published by Square Enix, and released on March 8, 2023.  It’s an adventure, visual novel, supernatural horror game. Instantly, based on the cover, I knew it was going to be a quality game. Was I right? Well, it’s no masterpiece but it’s quite entertaining.

If there is one thing I learned from this game is that men are still afraid of women, especially those who have the face of a smiling Buddha (Uh oh, is the game pointing at me?).

I wonder if the evil business lady is the source of inspiration for this horror game because it got me cackling up like a witch. I have always admired business-oriented women, but I know some can be a total b*tch.

After all, it takes a lot of skill to regulate one’s emotions to appear pleasant and attract customers–because people sure respond better to an attractive face. So it wasn’t a surprise to me to learn that the main protagonist, Shogo happens to work for a soap company which belongs to an ambitious, aging woman who is obsessed with eternal youth. At first, I thought I smell sexism. But then I realized there are other villains in the game such as the low-life perverted English teacher who looks down on his student; the chubby general shop owner by Sumida River who abducts high school girls; and the conceited occult researcher who is passionless about teaching. Just to name a few. I suppose the soap is a metaphor for cleansing and purging the ugliness that one may feel about themselves. All of the societal crimes are caused by the characters mentioned above. They are just rotten to the core and they hide their stench pretty well. But that’s just my reading. I am, after all, actively fishing for metaphors. I may very well be taking things out of context. Nonetheless, the plot sounds crazy. Hence why this game makes a perfect, entertaining horror story.

Namigaki is a lonely college student. Life can be tough for rich kids too who are often neglected by their busy parents. They often seek validation from an emotional, abusive lover.

Despite the notion of evil women, I think this game has good intentions. It speaks to teenage and college students who are having a hard time navigating life alone. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have loving parents or guardians to guide them to the right path. Clearly from the dialogues, the intended audience for this game is targeted toward the vulnerable youth population. However, I can also see mature audiences appreciating the game as well for its craftsmanship.

Michiyo's looking vengeful
Good girls tend to hide things pretty well at the expense of their happiness. If you noticed your friend is quiet and distant, you should check on her.

I won’t go into any further detail about the plot since this game is relatively new. I do hope you will check out this game. The story can be dramatic to your liking and will appeal to those who enjoy reading and learning about the detailed world revolving around The Seven Mysteries of Honjo. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the art style is pleasing to the eye. In terms of gameplay, there are some memory tests, which are a good way to engage with the player. Also, this game encourages players to think outside the box. In doing so, you can get a good ending!

So, if you are up for a good supernatural story with a touch of humor, this game is for you! Trust me, I laughed more than I expected even though the game indirectly called women like me evil! Yes, ambitious artistic women can be so selfish. It is even eviler when we tried to retain beauty for vanity sake. Tsk tsk. I don’t think some men can ever understand why it’s important to keep up with one’s appearance. We all can benefit from using good soap. It’s just basic human etiquette.


If I have to choose a favorite character, I would say it’s Mio. I don’t see a chubby short girl in a video game that often who has an interesting role.

The Last Guardian: A Fairytale for Boys

I watched an interesting video on the development of The Last Guardian where the creator, Fumito Ueda states that video games allow people to feel empathy. The video clip made me think about his statement regarding empathy which I rarely feel because most video games are designed for boys. Even though I share some similar traits such as finding satisfaction in conquering and defeating my enemies, I have always felt a disconnection between the playable male character and myself. For instance, while I empathize with the character Yorda from ICO and want to escort her to a safe place, I never found the urgency to protect her. Well, that’s because I never saw gender as an indication of fragileness.

Feeling trapped and small is one thing but being trapped is another thing. We all need a helping hand from time to time.

This got me thinking about why I enjoyed the Last Guardian more than Ico. It was a video game analysis of the Last Guardian by Game Overture that points out that the player was playing a supporting role which made a lot of sense since it’s Trico and not the boy that takes the spotlight in the game. As time goes on, we see the mystical, frightening but child-like creature becoming stronger and stronger whereas we see the boy becoming weaker and weaker as he takes on the subservient role.

boy giving food to the injured Trico
Here is your food…”.Say ahh.”
boy holding trico poop
Yes, the green goo is Trico’s poo!

As I mentioned in my non-spoiler review, I love this game and feel more deeply connected to it than Ico and Shadow of Colossus. I wonder why. Then I realized it has to do with my personality. While I’m quite capable of making quick decisions, I rather reserve my energy in the background problem-solving than take the spotlight in the frontline. Thus, playing as the “defenseless boy” in this game produces a familiar experience. If the theory about playing as a supporting character is correct, then the game is not about making the player feel like he or she is the Chosen One. There is nothing unique and special about the boy. He and the other Chosen Ones happen to be the unfortunate ones who are captured for human sacrifice. Well, depending on your worldview, I suppose it’s an honor. Dig a little bit deeper, this game is an allegory of the business side of game development exploiting children to keep a business running. How did I come to this conclusion? It is not until toward the end of this innocent, dream-like journey of great teamwork that comes to a dark twisted turn. It made me wonder why was I protecting the predator in the first place. The boy could have left the poor creature alone shackled up in a cave. Yet he decided to save him anyway. Was he trying to be a hero? No, he simply just has a good heart like most children. He didn’t even know that he is a sacrifice until later on.

He’s a good kid. That is why I find it so shocking when players complained about playing as the awkward boy. He moves funny. He waits on Trico to save him several times. As a result, it’s frustrating and the gameplay makes the player feels small; therefore, the game is not as impressive as its predecessors. The boy is not badass enough. He doesn’t take on giant colossus. Instead, he babysits a giant baby! Okay not quite (I’m assuming Trico is a kid because of his child-like behavior). But let’s get this straight, according to the creator’s interview, he was purposely designed to be independent, which makes sense to me. The story wouldn’t be as effective if it revolves around the defenseless boy (who I can’t recall even has a name which I can only speculate it was a modest decision on the creator’s part). In this game, players don’t get to be the hero of the day. Instead, he or she gets to witness a hero in action. I find the concept to be quite ingenious and refreshingly humbling.

Boy pulling down the level to open the gate for Trico
What’s so bad about playing as a gate opener? It’s so gentlemen-like.

So, I wonder what sort of person doesn’t like this game. Would it have made a difference if they were to play an all-powerful man-eating-fearing beast? Surely, the boy is braver than Trico on many occasions. Ironically, it’s his naiveness that makes him naturally more confident about finding his way home than Trico who seems lost inside his own home, which reminds me of a giant cage. Trico may be strong but he also needs guidance, which is why he is controlled by signals and waves from within the valley in the first place. Yet, he and his kind are not to be mistaken as dispensable slaves because the creatures do seem to be revered and respected as important residents of the valley based on the buildings’s architecture.

trico standing by the door
If you look closely, the entire place is designed around griffin-like creatures. Look at the size of the door.

This made me ponder who are the real captives in the game. Is it Trico and his kind or the boy along with the other chosen ones? Some people say it’s the boy and some say it’s Trico. There is no clear answer because the creator wants the player to decide for themselves. As for me, the logical answer is both of them. They are the last guardians who put the sadistic cycle of the god-like entity Master of the Valley to an end, which the more I think about it–might not even be all that evil because we don’t know its full story. For all we know, it’s trying to maintain order and balance despite sacrificing children in the process.

Trico versuses other beasts
The world does feel like a dog-eat-dog type of place when you have to compete for resources.

Despite its grim plot, I find this game emotionally comforting. It’s a story about growth, loyalty, friendship, and ultimately what it means to be a leader. It’s all the little spices that make life worth fighting for. It’s nice to know that in this dog-eating world, there is compassion. A good friend will always try to catch you if you fall because life, as we know it, can be quite rough.

Trico trying to catch boy


  1. Game Masters: Fumito Ueda Interview
  2. The Last Guardian | A New Perspective for Gaming by Game Overture
  3. The Last Guardian creator: ‘I can’t face playing my own game’
  4. Picture of Yorda in a cage: Team Ico Wiki
  5. All other pictures were taken from my playthrough