‘Guardians of the Galaxy was, for most people, only a recent discovery. While the series has been a part of the main Marvel canon for years, it wasn’t as well known as other titles. However, the MCU breathed new life into the franchise. With the popularity of the movies, a video game adaptation was sure to follow, but it’s probably not what fans expected.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy only bears a minor similarity to the movies. Instead, it’s a combination of the original comics and the films. While this choice was, obviously, a bit of risk it’s worked in the game's favour. The characters are all familiar, yet different at the same time.
Graphically the game is impressive enough, admittedly not as much as some of the more recent releases but some moments can take your breath away. The design of the planets and races and the game won’t tax most current rigs. On console, the game runs perfectly fine, with only the occasional bit of tearing. Loading times are reasonable most of the time, but they can drag on occasion.
The plot of the game takes place shortly after the forming of the team, with Peter, Rocket and Groot having been a group beforehand and have picked up Drax and Gamora recently. The team are working to capture a monster for the mysterious Lady Hellbender, a monster gathering sociopath, and it all goes wrong from there. The pacing and progression are well crafted enough that you’re never bored or left wondering what the hell is going on. However, the main plot is really kind of secondary, the main focus is on the team. Throughout the game secrets are revealed, feelings are shed, racoons are dampened and it all helps to flesh out the characters and feels organic.
Gameplay is a mix of third-person combat and team-based strategy, at least in concept. The player takes control of Star-Lord for the entirety of the game and can both shoot and physically hit opponents. However, for the most part, your guns are about as effective as a stern look. The majority of the damage comes from your teammates. Throughout fights, players can order the guardians to use special attacks. These ‘super-moves’ can do increased damage, affect stats, or trap enemies. For the most part, it works, but the limited number of skills and the general tankiness of some enemies can make longer fights drag.
There is the option to initiate a special huddle that increases the team’s recharge speeds and it also makes one of Star-Lords musical choices play out loud. It can be funny hearing Rick Astley play while fighting a giant squid, but after a while, it loses a bit of the entertainment value. However, the combat is serviceable and helps to keep the game moving.
While his guns may not be effective, they do have several special abilities the player will be able to unlock. Due to Star-Lord’s Spartoi heritage, no planet dad this time, his guns can change and adapt. These elemental abilities are slowly unlocked throughout the game. Each one can affect opponents in different ways, but can also affect the environment to complete puzzles.
Outside of combat the players are either exploring the levels for collectables or talking to their team aboard the ship. While it doesn’t have the same level of detail as Mass Effect, it is still a strong point. Each of the characters has a chance to interact with other members and the player.
Each of the characters is well crafted and their evolution feels natural. The side characters are equally as strong, with special mention being given to a very furry best boy. This all helps to craft the universe and make the player feel invested in the characters, which helps to add weight to the plot.
The collectables are nothing to write home about, but they do give some insights into the world and characters. While they aren’t hard to find, some will take a bit of exploring. There are lore pieces, character gifts and new costumes. The costumes are especially interesting and allow the game to connect to both the moves and the games, or just allow the player to put Rocket in a suit.
Overall, Marvel’s Guardians of Galaxy has some bumps but mostly they’re minor and don’t take away from the enjoyment. There are indications of there being a potential sequel with new characters not seen in the films yet. Hopefully, the developers take the time to iron out parts of the combat and control system, but only time will tell. Until then, there is enough here for every type of player both fans and non-fans of the movies and comics. Onwards Guardians, or is it Guardians assemble? How about I am Groot, that seems to fit.
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