Announced at E3 earlier in the year, I could not help but wonder what to expect of the second Marvel game Square Enix was making. Marvel Avengers implanted a seed of doubt for me if Square could reach the expectations of making a solid Marvel Comics video game. However, when I got the chance to play Marvel’s Guardian of the Galaxy, that “doubt” disappeared. With absolute no question, Guardians of the Galaxy found its identity quickly compared to its predecessor. This game may not have reinvented the wheel for gameplay or features, but that is fine. It is a solid, fun, interactive adventure that comic book or non-comic book fans will have a fun experience playing. With its 18 to 20 hour story, Guardians of the Galaxy adventure is precisely what fans of the group were asking. Here is my review.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a one-player linear action-adventure story that has you play as Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord. An Earthling from the 1980s that, for some unforeseen circumstances, finds himself growing up in space. He’s the leader of a team that has the galaxy’s worst bunch. The group consists of the daughter of the Mad Titan Thanos, Gamora, an angry, moody killer, Drax the Destroyer, and the duo of ex-bounty hunters Rocket & Groot. One is a raccoon with the mouth of a drunken space sailor who is a tech genius. While the other is a tall tree-like plant person that is reserved since he can only say three words…”I am Groot.” Those three words have a vast range of meanings. Developer Eidos-Montreal did an incredible job allowing this ragtag group to shine and become heroes in their misfit, mischievous ways.
Learning from their previous mistakes, Guardians of the Galaxy does not have a games-as-a-service mentality, online multiplayer, or even microtransactions. Instead, the developers at Eidos-Montreal put their focus on two things. The gameplay experience for the player and the incredibly loaded story completely works to its advantage for the game. It has an astonishing story that wants to be told through a linear timeline. At the same time, have the player enjoy the ride with the team’s banter between one another, the awesome licensed music that gives the effect of Peter Quill being a man of the eighties, and fun gameplay when you fight all sorts of different mobs throughout the way. The best phrase I can describe Guardians of the Galaxy is a less is more mentality. Eidos-Montreal knew that they did not need the bells and whistles when it came to enhancing the player experience. Instead, they focused on just making the game as solid as it could be.
When you break down the experience of playing Guardians of the Galaxy, the journey from starting as a bunch of strangers within your own team to becoming a giant, powerful family unit is exciting. The battle system itself is very captivating. Throughout the game, you are entirely in control of Peter Quill. The rest of the team will fight alongside you; however, you can tell your team what to do with a limited range of commands. Each member of your team has a specific attribute in their abilities. If you need high burst damage immediately, use Gamora with her powerful assassin attacks that do massive damage. Or if you need support because there are just too many enemies, Groot is your guy to bind them while you can systematically take them out. Each Guardian possesses four different abilities that you can unlock by spending experience points from the battles you encounter. You can mix and match abilities to create some devastating damage to the bad guys. This system is excellent because having limited guardians control allows you to focus on how the player wants to fight as Star-Lord.
Initially, Star-Lord starts as a man with simple melee attacks, rocket boots, and his iconic pew-pew lasers. Later on, he becomes a force to be reckoned with by unlocking his abilities and enhancing his attributes by using Rocket’s workbench. What’s interesting about all of the ability and character enhancements is that everything already appears on a list from the beginning of the game. In a way, it does leave little to the imagination of the endgame since the abilities are fully transparent, but that is perfectly fine by me. With a fun, simple battle system, Guardians of Galaxy also mixes it up with the stages. By mixing a series of simple stage puzzles and secret areas to find cool outfits, collectibles to unlock extra conversation with your teammates, and side-story reading orbs, it never gives anyone playing it for the first time a dull moment.
The battles in Guardians of the Galaxy are incredibly entertaining, but when it mixes your fellow Guardians’ banter, it enhances your experience even further. Your team interacts with one another nonstop through the game. You would expect this banter would get old, but I would strongly disagree. The way Rocket constantly complains about the situation that they’re in, Drax’s literal interpretations of different subjects, and Gamora’s quick quips it does a great job to distract the player from the repetitive things such as simply walking to other zones. Especially since there is no running in this game, it keeps you in the mix with these conversations your fellow Guardians are in by giving you choices to choose from on how you would react to the topic they are discussing.
Be careful, though. Some of the options you choose may actually change the story or situation. The banter is so vital in this game. There is even a huddle-up ability that you can do that is simply genius. While in the middle of any fight, you can huddle up with your guardians. From there, it is up to you to decide which pep talk you give your team. If you choose right, you get a buff. Regardless, when you break the huddle, a random licensed song from the MTV 80s era will play while you are fighting! The best feeling is when you rally up while fighting a boss while getting Rickrolled in the background. The banter is an excellent addition to the game. There are, however, times where it loops the same conversation over, but that is few and far between.
Guardians look incredible. I played this on a PlayStation 5, and from the first location to the very last one is breathtaking. There are so many different kind of places that you travel across. From planets to ships to floating heads, it’s incredible, simply put. I did have some glitches. There was one time I was randomly walking and got stuck. That forced me to restart my game, but when the game sees that your character is attacked, it does a good job resetting your character. If the mob hits you in the right place, you may get stuck on the stage. I had to restart the game and go back from the last checkpoint to clear it. Again, these glitches happened reasonably rarely.
Overall, I would highly recommend getting Guardians of the Galaxy. Some things like more haptic feedback support could improve the overall experience, but the way it is now is entertaining. Eidos-Montreal did something that I was not expecting. They renewed my faith in Square Enix to make a great Marvel game with a great story, beautiful graphics, interactive and fun battle system, and so much more.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Review
The game may not have reinvented the wheel for gameplay, but it doesn't have to. It's still damn fun!