Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (Review in Progress…)

Oct 25, 2021

From comics, to movies and now a triple A video game, The Guardians of the Galaxy have gone from obscure characters to household names. If they weren’t your favorite superhero team before, Guardians of the Galaxy from Square Enix may be the space faring adventure that cements this loveable band of outcasts as the top tier superhero team they have always deserved to be.

Marvel’s Guadians of the Galaxy
Square Enix
Played on PlayStation 5

Note: This is a review in progress as at the time of writing this we have yet to complete the game. The review will be updated with a final score and conclusion once the game has been completed by the reviewer.

The Story

Guardians of the Galaxy has you taking the controls as their fearless leader Peter Quill, AKA Star-Lord. By far the weakest member Quill gets by on his charm, can do attitude and a lot of luck. The rest of the team is comprised of Gamora, daughter of Thanos and deadly assassin. Drax the Dreysor, feared warrior and overly serious, Groot, the living tree and Rocket, the loveable, gear obsessed Raccoon.

Guardians of the Galaxy’s story is a galaxy spanning epic that will have you encountering monsters, Nova Corps and the Universal Church of Truth. The later being the most terrifying and creepy. The story places our Guardians in the path of the Nova Corps as they seem to become indoctrinated by a new threat. In your search for money, the truth, and fame you and your Guardians jump from planet to planet giving you a variety of locals to explore along with a refreshing varied amount of enemy types. The game also sets up some interesting twists and turns for our characters but you will want to discover those for yourself.

The story thrives off our team’s interactions with one another. It keeps everything moving and the player engaged even during rudimentary tasks. The amount of dialogue in this game rivals anything Bioware has done in the past decade. Speaking of which, dialogue options will also direct the story as pathways will change based off your choices in the game and characters will remember your interactions, affecting how they interact later in the game.

Guardians of the Galaxy does a great job at mashing the movie version with the comic book version and that is most apparent in its story. It’s expansive and takes the player to numerous environments and situations. Just when you are starting to get comfortable on one planet it whisks you off to the next local. This keeps the game feeling fresh and the pace of the story is always moving forward. It also does a great job and throwing you right into the middle of Guardians lore as comic readers will easily pick up on cameo’s, characters, and locals as they have visited them many times before in the pages of the comic.

Gameplay

Where Guardians of the Galaxy had me most worried was its gameplay mechanics. Playing as only Star-Lord and then having to command the rest of the team who are much more powerful than you, didn’t seem like a great choice. Unfortunately, I’m more than halfway through the game and it still feels like they could have done something better.

Guardians of the Galaxy takes a bunch of popular gameplay mechanics and mashes them together creating a sometimes overwhelming, if not confusing mess during its combat portions. The gameplay is mostly quick time events with some mild platforming and those moments all work and act appropriately. Sure the quick time stuff does get dull after a while, but it keeps you engaged during sections where you’re meandering through the level waiting for the next combat zone to appear. Outside of quick time events, you also get dialogue options during these portions. These options allow you to have different exchanges with your team and ultimately affections your dynamics.

When we get to the combat portion this is where I felt the most disconnected from the game. First Star-Lord is incredibly under powered, so you thus have to rely on your team. Each of which has up to 4 abilities that you can “call out” during combat. It’s essentially a point and command system. You shoot things until the cool downs for your team expire, then you release a barrage of abilities on your enemies and then you repeat until they are all dead.

The system works fine and I’m sure some will love it as it harkens back to Mass Effect, but for me, it just felt like a waiting game for prompts and I never felt like the badass the others were being. There are just so many commands, then you have your own special abilities on top of your weapons’ elemental abilities. There is a lot of think about and utilize during combat in the Star-Lord arsenal including a “huddle system’
that is designed to give your team a buff during combat, which is cool but goes on for a bit too long and can be failed which isn’t fun. But at the end of the day you’re basically just holding down a trigger until it’s time for another command. Luckily as mentioned before the enemy types and environments vary enough that you never really get the repetitive feeling you may normally get from one of these games.

While the combat isn’t my favorite it isn’t terrible by any means and I’m sure with some practice and focus people will use it with god-like ability. In my case it is great that this game offers other systems and opportunities to enjoy gameplay that isn’t all combat based and thus when those sections do appear they aren’t to early and often.

Music and Sound

Thanks to James Gunn it seems you can’t have the Guardians of the Galaxy without a bitchin soundtrack and this game is no exception. And it is for the music alone that I have to recommend buying a hard copy of this game if you can. As we all know licensed music in video games can be a tough nut to crack and cause issues down the road so it’s best to get your hands on a version that can keep that licensing in tack. The game really does use music effectively to both tell the story and set the mood.

Like in the films this Peter Quill is infatuated with the music of his youth and that comes through every chance the developers get. From the opening on Peter’s childhood to rocketing throughout the galaxy you can always expect an 80s classic to be blaring in the background. It’s a great feeling and a welcome inclusion to the Guardians of the Galaxy brand.

Conclusion

While I will wait to provide a final score until I’ve completed the game (stay tuned). I am confident in saying Guardians of the Galaxy currently stands at about an 8 out of 10 for me. It is a faithful combination of both the films and comics even though it does seem to lean much more into the film aspects, especially when it comes to our characters. Speaking of our Guardians, they are all an absolute joy to hang out with, their banter and interaction really help to keep the spirits high and space moving throughout the game. You never feel like you are alone.

The game’s combat so far is the only really low spot for me. I understand this is a personal preference and I’m sure other gamers will have the opposite feeling but, the combat was the least enjoyable aspect of this game. It just doesn’t make you as the player feel all that essential as your only goal seems to be to bark out commands and hope for the best. A variety of environments and enemy types do certainly help make those moments more enjoyable and challenging, but at the end of the day I would have maybe liked the opportunity to individually control the character of my choice as opposed to being stuck with the weakest of the bunch.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a comic book video game that will reach the top of your lists, it isn’t perfect, but it certainly knew the assignment and succeeded beyond most of our expectations. Considering Square’s last endeavor into the Marvel Universe, Guardians of the Galaxy is a damn good time and an absolute triumph in the licensed gaming space.

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