Guardians of the Galaxy: A Telltale Game is another title in Marvel’s desire to conquer all media in the known universe, and Telltale is the perfect partner for a story-based game. For Episode 1, did they nail the feel of the universe, characters, and classic rock soundtrack, or did it fail to hit the right notes?
The gameplay is similar to past games in the Telltale stable. At certain points, you will need to swipe in a direction with your thumbstick like some furious Tinder session to move or hit the buttons on your controller to accomplish an action on-screen. Most of the time, failure is not the end and you can keep going, albeit with a slightly different story result.
As normal, the game does allow you to pick responses in conversations. These can have an impact in future episodes, but, within the same episode, I found that the end result is usually just some different dialog.
There are a few bigger choices in the episode, and these show you different sequences or put you on an alternate path. In episode 1, my choice prevented me from meeting or interacting with a minor character altogether and allying myself with another group. It is too early to tell if it will make a difference in future events, but I can always go back and try something different.
The story starts with your crew being asked to help the Nova Corps with a little problem named Thanos. He is up to no good, and killing everything in sight. Although that is probably a typical Tuesday for him, the Guardians decide to intervene and pursue him.
Without delving into spoiler territory, the rest of the story in this episode shows the team finding a mysterious and very powerful relic and dealing with the aftermath of an enormous accomplishment while trying not to tear each other apart.
The story is a decent start for the season, and the pacing between action and the slower conversational parts of the game are well balanced. As the first episode, it is there to set up the world, an introduction to the characters, and the villain makes an appearance. The main nasty of the story has some understandable motivations that I hope are further explored in future episodes.
This is where I think episode 1 really shines. As someone who has not had any real exposure to the Guardians stories, I only have the movies and some online reading to supplement my understanding of the characters. This episode frames them in a very real way, and their fighting felt more like a family than a group of people who actually dislike each other. I actually liked it more on my second playthrough.
They are exactly what I expected and hoped to see. Drax takes everything in the most painfully literal way, Gamora is strong and haunted by the ghosts in her past, and Groot is his usual eloquent self. By far, Rocket is the standout. He is explosive, funny, and sarcastic, and although all the voice actors did fairly well, he steal’s every scene.
The game’s visuals are the best I have seen in a Telltale game. It is still highly stylized, but the textures, faces, and environments are very clear and crisp. There is even motion and activity in the backgrounds making the world feel more alive.
For those who are wondering, the game’s music is fine, but the soundtrack is the standout. Telltale has multiple licensed tracks, including ELO’s “Livin’ Thing”, that are inserted into appropriate places during the game, and it feels great and gives the whole experience a more authentic feel. Kudos to them for actually spending the money to get the details right.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy. It nailed the feel of the world, the characters, and the music. It looks great, and I look forward to playing the next episode to see if they can continue what they started and hear more great songs.
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series PS4 Review
Even if you are not a Guardians of the Galaxy superfan, Episode 1 does a great job of making you feel welcome. The characters feel right, the music sounds great, and the game looks better than any other Telltale game I have played. The choices are still going to be minor changes to the story and dialog, instead of huge shifts, but the overall package makes it a worthy start to the season.
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*Reviewed using a base PS4.