The Marvel universe and its vast number of superheroes and villains have brought an unfathomable amount of joy to my life. When I heard that Telltale Games, one of my favourite developers, was creating a Guardians of the Galaxy game, no words could describe my excitement. However, it is that excitement that which leads to extremely high expectations.
Could Guardians of the Galaxy: A Telltale Series truly live up to the hype and deliver that Marvel magic? It is with great relief and excitement that I can say with confidence: Guardians of the Galaxy: A Telltale series have not only lived up to the Marvel and Telltale names but exceeded all expectations.
Warning: There be early game spoilers ahead
Tangled up in Blue
Episode One is entitled “Tangled up in blue” and introduces players to Guardians of the Galaxy’s unforgettable cast. Star-Lord, Groot, Gamora, Drax and Rocket are all there in all their glory and comedic relief. Fans of the film franchise might be disappointed to hear that Chris Pratt doesn’t voice Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord. Instead, Scott Porter is the voice actor in charge of Star-Lord, my favourite Marvel character, and he does the role justice.
At the start of the first episode, the Nova Corps contact Star-Lord and crew, asking for help against one of the greatest villains the Marvel universe has ever seen. I am of course talking about Thanos, the mad Titan bent on destroying the galaxy.
Since the game is a story-driven experience, I don’t want to spoil anything else for you, but I can talk about the game’s exceptionally fun and engaging mechanics without dropping spoiler bombs.
First up, there are Star-Lord’s rocket-powered boots, which allows players access to areas otherwise inaccessible. The mechanic creates a multi-tiered approach to areas, which in turn creates a much more dynamic playstyle.
The most interesting new mechanic, however, is the time device you can use to look at past events in an area. The device just shows a short glimpse of what happened so that Star-Lord and crew can figure out what to do and what their potential next move is. Further, you get the standard Telltale gameplay we all know and love. It's not particularly difficult, but pressing buttons at the right time and seeing the attacks fly in is still a satisfying experience.
All the game’s mechanics feel polished and one of the things I love the most about Guardians of the Galaxy is that performance wise, it is much better than the Batman game. The combat sequences, as you can see from my video at the bottom of this review, are smooth and the music, as well as overall sound quality, is superb.
I can’t stop this feeling
You can feel the Marvel magic in every minute. Telltale truly did do the franchise justice and then some. It might just be one of their best games yet, delivering a nail-biting story, interesting and sometimes difficult choice as well as solid gameplay. Throughout my time as Star-Lord, difficult decisions had to be made.
Some will clearly have a great impact on how the rest of the episodes play out, while others are of a more personal nature. An example of the latter is how you choose to react to your crew members.
The crew is a very unlikely group of heroes, with completely different personalities. I chose to support Rocket and give him some praise in Episode One, but other crew members noticed that.
Further, the relationship between Star-Lord and Gamora comes into play throughout the game. Even though Groot can of course only say “I am Groot”, the expertly crafted expressions shows his approval, disapproval or even confusion when you make a decision.
The game also has a mechanic which allows you to talk to your crew members and asks for advice or just joke around with them, even when you are separated from them, through a communications device. Using the device, I learned some valuable information about my crew, their feelings and ways to proceed, but I never felt as if I was forced into a certain choice.
Episode One is off to a rocket-powered start, blasting past my expectations. The game is some of the best work Telltale has ever done and I simply can’t wait for the second episode, entitled “Under Pressure”, which arrives next month. The only thing I can fault the game on is that it follows an episodic format because I want to play it all right now!
If Episode One is any indication of what is to come, I can recommend the game with absolute confidence to anyone who loves Marvel or story-driven gameplay that Telltale does so well.
Available on: PC, PS4 and Xbox One | Reviewed on: Xbox One | Release date: 18 April 2017