Marvel’s latest blockbuster is a blast of fun that delivers all the action, adventure and laughs you could ask for. It also features one of Marvel’s most endearing characters in Star-Lord — Chris Pratt’s charmingly raspy voiceover performance has fans rooting for Peter Quill/Star-Lord to find his way out of this scrap heap.
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I can pinpoint when Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy first caught my attention. During a particularly tense encounter, the crew tries to defend Drax from an otherworldly creature, and I trigger a “huddle.” “Holding Out For a Hero” begins after a stirring speech by Star-Lord, and the squad goes into overdrive.
Even though there are a few flaws along the road, everything came together in that ideal moment, highlighting Guardians as a raucous space adventure anchored by deep emotion.
At the end of the day, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is without a doubt one of the year’s greatest shocks.
A Flarkin Good Time in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
The titular motley squad stars in Guardians of the Galaxy, which begins with the band of misfits sneaking into a quarantine zone in search of a rare creature years after the Galactic War. This is a totally new take on the characters and world, similar to Marvel’s Avengers, but one that is considerably more influenced by the comics than the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
One blunder leads to another, and the clumsy heroes soon find themselves embroiled in a battle for the destiny of the universe.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a narrative-driven game, and story is by far the most important aspect Eidos Montreal emphasizes.
You play as Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, and as the tale unfolds, you’ll have to make a number of speech options, some of which may change the course of events. Although the branching pathways don’t seem to be very different, they may have an impact on how the tale unfolds and how certain people approach Star-Lord.
I wasn’t sure how the overall writing would turn out in the first few hours of Guardians of the Galaxy since some of the dialogue is cringe-worthy and there’s a significant overreliance on in-universe swear words like “flark” and “scut.” The fact that Guardians of the Galaxy manages to cram in some genuine emotional weight along the road is one of my greatest shocks.
This is a story about a group of emotionally traumatized individuals rediscovering family, similar to many other Guardians of the Galaxy storylines. Over the course of the 20-or-so hours I spent with these individuals, I became emotionally engaged to them, and each one felt emotionally complex. They all have a lot of “major” events that give them more depth and provide them a window into the pain they’ve gone through.
Guardians of the Galaxy understands when to slow things down and allow some quieter moments play out, even if there are a few major set-piece sequences. When Star-Lord roams the dazzling neon alleys of Knowhere, it’s one of my favorite scenes.
Guardians of the Galaxy’s overall format sees you going through linear chapters while watching the plot unfold and making decisions along the way. You’ll spend most of the chapters aboard the Milano, the team’s spacecraft, where you may chat to them and explore their belongings. But don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of fighting; each chapter has a diverse range of combat situations.
You may fire your blasters and utilize melee assaults as Star-Lord, but the fighting system’s major draw is giving instructions to your fellow Guardians. A Guardians menu appears when you hold down a trigger button, with each of the four heroes assigned to a face button. When you press the face button, the Guardian’s numerous powers appear. Each character has a cooldown, and Star-Lord has his own special powers.
As the game advances, new complexity emerge: foes have a stun gauge, ambient objects may be utilized as weapons, and certain enemies are protected by elemental barriers. Star-Lord receives access to elemental firearms, which include ice, lightning, wind, and fire, as well as four other choices. Each of these aspects has a particular use in warfare as well as in puzzle solving.
The fighting in Guardians is a little simplistic for the first few of hours, but as you unlock more and more choices, things grow a lot more fascinating. It may be fun to figure out the best combinations to utilize, like as having Rocket throw a gravity bomb to draw in adversaries, then having Drax perform a powerful charge assault to bowl them over. Add in the fact that Star-Lord can effortlessly navigate the battlefield thanks to his jet boots, and conflicts may become a beautiful ebb and flow.
As a result, boss fights aren’t nearly as entertaining. Though they should be among of the Guardians’ most memorable moments, and some of them are pretty enjoyable, they’re often much too gimmicky, destroying their own fundamentals.
Guardians features two separate upgrading systems, both of which are quite easy, albeit they aren’t as sophisticated as I’d want given this is a game about becoming Star-Lord.
Battles provide experience toward a skill gauge, which may be used to buy new talents for each Guardian. Each of the five characters has four special attacks to utilize, and you’ll unlock all of them before the end, so it’s simply a question of choose which ones to use first.
Salvage is a material found around the globe that may be used to purchase perks for Star-Lord, such as greater health, a faster fire rate when low on health, or additional charge for his elemental weaponry. The upgrade systems, for the most part, are underwhelming and seem like they’re in the game just to be there.
One of the most prevalent criticisms of Guardians of the Galaxy will undoubtedly be its linearity. While you may make speech options throughout the game, the plot is linear and the settings are restricted in terms of their exploitability. You can look for Salvage, new outfits, and Guardian Collectibles, which allow you to have a fresh chat with one of your teammates on the Milano, but that’s about it. There is no vast overworld to be found here.
Another reason is because it is much too lengthy. In Guardians of the Galaxy, there isn’t enough variety, particularly later in the game, and there were many times when I believed I was nearing the conclusion only to discover that I wasn’t. While I appreciate the fighting in this game, the gameplay features get boring by the end of the 20-hour playtime, boosted by the narrative and characters that keep the game moving ahead.
The stunning art design just adds to it. Guardians of the Galaxy is visually appealing, but it’s the bizarre graphic style that keeps things intriguing. The environment and foes are often weird and spooky, in a nice manner.
The production team certainly took influence from comic books, and it paid off. Even if some of the other animations are a little odd, there’s some very great face movement on exhibit.
Of course, I couldn’t write a Guardians of the Galaxy review without mentioning the music, which is plenty in this game. The whole experience has an 80s vibe to it, and Square Enix has been pretty forward about all the licensed music sprinkled throughout.
While you may listen to a wide range of music on the Milano, licensed music is utilized rarely and only at critical occasions, which I believe is a good thing. With a few exceptions, such as the wonderful main theme, the remainder of the music has a generic movie soundtrack feel to it.
The Bottom Line on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
- A cast of characters that is well-written and emotionally complex.
- A dynamic fighting system that improves over time
- Fantastic art design that gives the game a one-of-a-kind vibe.
- The game drags on and on, and at times it seems padded.
- Upgrade system that is half-baked and seems like an afterthought
I had not anticipated loving Guardians of the Galaxy as much as I did. Even after a couple of hours with the game, I was still unsure what to anticipate because of the game’s marketing. What I discovered, though, is one of the year’s finest tales.
Although there is some tedium in the whole experience, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is an adventure well worth seeing, flaws and all.
[Note: The copy of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy used for this review was given by Square Enix.]
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