- Spoiler: show
Woah, now this is a game where I am all over the place on. When I first played it I could not get enough of it. Trico was fun to interact with and the puzzles were really satisfying to solve for the most part. I loved the fact that the boy is massively vulnerable to the suits of armour that patrol the area. Having to solve a puzzle while avoiding their gaze were easily some of the most tense moments and the adrenalin rush you get when Trico gets to save your behind by ripping these guys apart was immense. Whenever I got stuck, stopped playing and would solve the puzzle straight away next time. Things were good.....
And then I got around halfway through the game and a lot of problems crept in for me. The few barrel puzzles where you need to throw them in a certain place in order to feed Trico were absolutely misery for me. The finicky controls and atrocious camera in those sections just completely drained my enthusiasm for continuing with this game. I seriously would not touch it for days because I dreaded going through this exercise in torture. But I was determined to finish it and eventually came back to it. Then came the underwater sections, holy shite. The controls for swimming are easily the WORST I have ever come across in a 3D game. The boy is about as easy to control as a lorry on a rope. Just getting him to turn was teeth pulling. At this stage Trico was pissing me off too. Just dive in the goddamn water so we can push ahead! His stubbornness could be endearing at times but here I was really ready to just never play the damn thing again. Then there is a section where you are stuck in a cage and Super Monkey Ball this ain't! Again, turning and getting it to go up a step was stiff and completely joyless exercise. The controls are seriously a real huge issue in this game and I am amazed that in the decade that this game was in development that they did not give such an important part of gameplay a hell of a lot more polish.
But then the final third of the game happens and I am immediately sucked back in. The boy's relationship with Trico is a real heart melter and there are moments where my eyes did tear up a bit! Trico really is a beautifully animated creature that you can't help but like. The music is also a thing of pure beauty which is expertly placed throughout the game at just the right moments. I adapt to the controls and camera and the worst parts of the game are behind me. When the story really gets going I could not put the game down, a far cry from where I was a few hours ago in the game! Story and atmosphere is where this game really does shine.
In summary, I am glad that I stuck through the shit bits in order to experience this tale and overall my feelings towards the game are positive. But there are serious flaws with it and I feel it would have been a proper masterpiece if these issues were looked at and dealt with.