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Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Review – Enthralling Space Madness



From the moment the Guardians of the Galaxy are presented as a space team that will do anything for a quick buck, it’s entirely clear how much of a dysfunctional mess they are. Gamora and Rocket are at each other’s throats. Drax and Star-Lord disagree. And no one pays attention to Groot. For the next 15+ hours of play, I listened to these misfits bicker, curse, and chat nonstop – much to my delight.

When I say “non-stop” I mean they never stop talking. A second rarely goes by without the Guardians sharing their thoughts. I am not exaggerating this frequency. All the quiet moments made me wonder if the game was not working properly. The amount of dialogue created by Eidos-Montreal is off the charts, and most are well written, offering the witty humor, heartfelt intimacy, and chaos you expect from the Guardians.

Drax’s inability to understand colloquialisms and common phrases is a lot of laughter and is just as good as James Gunn’s take on the character in the film. Guardians‘films. I’ve never said this in a review before, but the dialogue is the best part of the game. Eidos-Montreal got it out of the park. The rest of the game is a lot of fun, but with varying levels of quality and finish, the latter subtly harming critical areas of the experience.

It took me a few hours to get used to both Star-Lord and the combat system. Peter Quill is a bit squeaky from the start, but it comes as the team dynamics begin to solidify and the story softens from its overall grandiose tone to allow him to show his emotional side. I have come to adore him over time, especially when he talks to himself.

Its history is well written and Eidos-Montreal has done a great job injecting its leadership qualities into action and decision-making. Players are in complete control of Star-Lord and will determine which route your team takes. These choices are not on the same seismic scale as a Mass Effect game and don’t change the story much, but offer fun alternate sequences and even more dialogue.

I can’t speak for all the results that come with these choices, but the dozen and more I experienced in a second game were just as good and flowed as naturally as my first half of the game. While it was fun to take in the various unique humor or gameplay sequences that I had previously missed, they weren’t enough for me to continue to see how the Second Journey would be different. Again, things don’t change much.

It’s a game where storytelling consumes as much time as gameplay. Given how enjoyable the story is, I had no problem sitting around and watching much of my time, especially when I had control over the most important decisions. The attraction of discovery anchors the story and touches each guardian in a way that enriches them in depth. I don’t want to reveal too much of the plot, but the Guardians are chasing something evil that they are unleashing. This hook stays strong for most of the experience, moving to a good clip and striking a delicate balance between serious and downright absurd.

Eidos-Montreal fully embraces “science fiction” themes in worlds, characters and this evil entity of note. The worlds steal the eye with their panoramas in crazy colors and strange design. The characters are just as weird (sometimes for the sake of comedy), and this evil beast moves in the strangest and most amazing ways.

Each world prompts the Guardians to rely on their unique abilities to navigate dangerous terrain. The paths to follow are always linear and filled with platform and battle arena footage, much like the Uncharted games. While the player only controls Star-Lord – a move that works well for all aspects of the game – each Guardian can be summoned with the push of a button to complete a specific task. These brief entries work well, and Eidos-Montreal even distorts the character in the desired location to ensure that you move forward at a steady pace. You can summon Drax to knock down a pillar or Gamora to jump up a wall to give you a boost to a platform. All of the Guardians’ moves are used to solve environmental puzzles, which starts to get fun but loses its sparkle through repeated solutions.

Guardians also play a huge role in combat and are as powerful as you would expect. Groot can topple enemies with a root swarm, Rocket blasts enemies with ridiculous numbers of guns, and Drax and Gamora use blades to slice and dice. For Star-Lord, however, it’s not a game I would call a power fantasy. His blasters are weak, and he has to work hard to bring down even the most humble of enemies. All Guardians must be used strategically to be successful. Star-Lord can rush in quickly and eat away at an enemy’s health, but his most important contribution is as a game creator. When he wants to call in a Guardian, time slows down and he can tell him to perform a desired ability. It’s not a power fantasy, but a teamwork fantasy that ends up being extremely satisfying when everything clicks as it should.

At its peak, combat is handled admirably through the controls, allowing the player to walk through the arena, quickly highlight targets, and just as quickly tell each Guardian what to do. Considering how many characters are on screen at any given time, the melee feels chaotic, but there’s a violent beauty, and you oversee everything, barking commands to rain down death in various ways. The Goalies can also chain most moves to really show the power of the team. At the end of the game, the battles are extremely entertaining and provide a good challenge. Oddly enough, the most powerful ability in the game is a pep talk from Star-Lord, which still carries a bit of humor, but interrupts the fight for far too long and ends up being quite boring.

Now the bad news: The opening hours for the fights are tough and uneventful. Before legitimate threats emerge from the woods, the Guardians face off against cubes and gelatinous spheres, conflicts as boring as they seem. With a good majority of abilities stuck for more than half the game, the Guardians’ true potential is held at bay for too long and experience suffers. This game is at its best when outdated, and it ends up getting there, but not quickly enough. The training wheels are on for half the game. A lack of polish throughout the experiment also hurts. Some animations are a bit jittery, specific gameplay mechanics like sliding don’t offer a lot of precision, and the combat framerate can be rough at times.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

Another failure is to control the Milan in space combat sequences. It’s cool in concept, but the clunky controls and lack of threat make these moments little more than a visual showcase. The other distractions of the game fare much better. Finding different costumes for each Guardian is a nice reward, and some collectibles that appear on the Milan open up new conversations and backstory.

As a fan of the Guardians comics and movies, I really enjoyed Eidos-Montreal’s unique take on this supergroup. The characters’ incessant banter and well-crafted choices make it a worthwhile journey, even if the gameplay takes a bit too long to showcase the team’s true potential.

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