What's that, you say? The Earth is in danger again? Oh dear. Well this time it's a bit different. You see, there are no mega weapons to use in the attempt to be humankind's saviour. Just you - the last guy capable of rescuing the remaining people left on the planet looking to survive a horde of roaming monsters. What can you possibly do to help? The answer is more than you could imagine...
Playing like a classic coin-op arcade game, The Last Guy's aerial perspective action has you running around a number of maps based on real world cities (such as Asakusa, Los Angeles and London) rescuing people from a host of monsters who have taken over.
These poor abandoned souls follow you around in a snake-like trail until a beastie kills them by direct contact, frightens them away back into a safe indoor area, or you lead them to the Escape Zone where they'll be picked up by a dropship at the end of the level's time limit. If the Guy touches a monster he'll expire before he gets to complete his valiant task of collecting the quota of survivors needed to progress to the next stage.
It all seems simple enough. But as with the best games, the devil is in the details. And The Last Guy has a veritable mother ship of details waiting to whisk you away from the hassles of real life and land you in an addictive world of pure playability on PlayStation Network.
A lasting impression
Each level in The Last Guy is given a detailed satellite style map appearance to mimic that of the real place it's based on, complete with roads, buildings, alleys and even features such as stadia. Given the similarities to the shown locations, it's fun to pick out well known or identifiable landmarks in each stage as you're rescuing the masses. It's not just a clever device either, as the maps are well designed enough to offer a fair challenge and come with considered short cuts and gaps to take advantage of.
The Guy is also blessed with easily controlled speed and manoeuvrability to make the most of these topographical features. A run button gives a short boost of speed, and a whistle button quickly gathers all your collected masses into one place - both of these abilities deplete a limited stamina bar, which can be extended by amassing a certain number of survivors to your train. The more, the better - it also means you can access certain areas which can only be passed with a required number of humans in tow. So at the game's heart is a finely tuned, brilliantly compelling risk versus reward mechanic.
Throw in the Thermograph Display (which lets you see inside buildings and highlights people, but at the danger of not being able to see any monsters while it's on) and a batch of power-ups that render you invisible, provide more stamina energy or even warp you back to the Escape Zone, and there's suddenly so much more to The Last Guy to consider.
It's even a thrill to discover what twisted new monster will be introduced at the start of each stage, as well as what new terror it'll impart on your quest - can you avoid the short-sighted Pest Zombie which will only attack you if you enter its line of sight? What about the Stalker Zombie which follows you around until you find a narrow alley? Or the fearsome Cackling Gigantus which scatters refugees with its terrifying voice?
Just one last go...
The Last Guy is a superb title that captures the essence of timeless gameplay with presentation that feels utterly fresh thanks to its High Definition display, clever use of topography, great special effects and a well honed sense of what makes a game great, addictive fun. Make sure you're not the last guy to rescue this gem.