4. The Last Guardian
For most of Fumito Ueda’s ethereal adventure, you’ve no idea where you are or why you’re there. Are the silent, deserted spires and hallways a temple or a prison? What is your relationship to this gigantic creature that you’ve befriended? And why is there no plot? All good questions, were this any other game by any other studio. The Last Guardian – like Ico and Shadow of the Colossus before it – defies all attempts to suss it out or play it mechanically, encouraging exploration not with hidden treasures (though there are some) or checkpoints, but by tying your fate and your moment-to-moment action to Trico, the most astoundingly realized animal ever seen in a video game. As the hours drift by and the puzzles blur into one another, Ueda's majestic, abandoned world seems only to become more mysterious, even as your companion becomes ever more distinct and thrillingly alive. At some point you realize that your relationship to this creature is the game – the rest is just a canvas.