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The Last Guardian Prepares to Melt Hearts for Holiday 2011

The Last Guardian Prepares to Melt Hearts for Holiday 2011 (photo)

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Team Ico has never made a bad game. Granted, the Sony-affiliated dev studio has only created two games over the last nine years, but each one stands as an inarguable classic of modern gaming. Their first title “Ico” delivered a poignant, dark fable about a banished, horned boy and a wan girl trying to escape a labyrinthine, crumbling castle, pursued by creepy shadow creatures. The spiritual sequel “Shadow of the Colossus” centered on a boy who stalks 16 giant mythological creatures so as to harness their life energy and bring his deceased love back to life. Keep in mind these quick summaries do no justice to the clever, spare and affecting experiences that the games offer.

Both “Ico” and “Shadow of the Colossus” appeared on the PS2 and fans have been eager to see what the studio’s moody, slight medieval aesthetic would look like on the more powerful PS3 hardware. Rumors of a new game have persisted for years and its existence was finally established at 2009’s E3. However, ever since it was officially announced, there’s been little news on “The Last Guardian.” Thankfully, this year’s Tokyo Game show held a bonanza for Team Ico acolytes. Not only did the faithful get new gameplay footage from “The Last Guardian,” but Sony also confirmed brewing speculation that the studio’s previous games would be getting high-definition reissues for the PS3. The “Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection” should be available in the spring of next year.

As for “Last Guardian,” little is known by way of plot details but there’s clearly a special bond between the young man in the game and his eagle/goat/dog/chicken companion. Last year’s E3 trailer for the game showed the mash-up creature chained in captivity, later freed and gamely venturing forth with the title’s plucky, presumable hero. This new clip shows off gameplay, not cutscenes, and testifies to the dev studio’s continued mastery of lighting. Both of their previous games boasted beautifully lit worlds and the play of sunshine and dust particles in the new LG trailer indicates that they’ve taking the environmental illumination to a new level.

Team Ico’s works have also made much of turning relationships and physical closeness into gameplay mechanics. In “Ico,” the title character has to constantly hold the hand of his enervated charge Yorda to keep her moving and their grasps and tugs were replicated by gentle vibrations in the controller. “Shadow of the Colossus” required players to climb and grip most of the Colossi’s hair or skin in the game’s sweeping battles. This mechanic put you in the paradoxical position of having to cling for dear life on the very thing you were trying to kill. There looks to be the same kind of spatial intimacy going on in the glimpses of “The Last Guardian” that I’ve seen so far and it’s almost a sure bet that the game’s emotional dynamics will be extremely heartfelt. And it’s gonna look hella pretty, too. “The Last Guardian” will be out exclusively for the Playstation 3 in the holiday season of 2011.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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