Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a damn good superhero video game

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy surprised the hell outta me. I anticipated customary, blockbuster action-RPG fare painted with an ’80s nostalgic gloss that might by no means elicit an emotion extra significant than, “cool, they obtained the rights to Blondie!” And whereas the builders at Eidos Montreal did certainly get the rights to Blondie and a powerful host of different ’80s mainstays, I used to be shocked to find a game that had a lot coronary heart and emotional depth that on a number of events, I caught myself whispering a reverent “damn” at the display screen. Although fight might be a bit of a slog, each Guardian and nearly each non-Guardian are so properly written and voiced, you don’t thoughts toughing it out to get at the juicy character improvement bits.

Guardians of the Galaxy has completely nothing to do with the Marvel cinematic universe and simply barely kisses comedian continuity, although some of the characters’ backstory launched in the films nonetheless applies. Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, is nonetheless a man plucked from Earth in the ’80s to reside a ne’er do properly life in house earlier than cleansing up his act. Gamora is the face-turned adopted daughter of Thanos. Drax is a widowed warrior from the planet Katath who is incapable of understanding sarcasm. Rocket is a house experiment gone incorrect or proper relying on perspective, and Groot is nonetheless the tri-syllabic tree creature whom solely Rocket understands.

We meet up with the Guardians 12 years after the finish of an intergalactic battle that noticed Thanos and the ruthless Chitauri empire defeated. You play as Peter Quill, pilot of the spaceship Milano and chief of the newfound Guardians of the Galaxy — a mercenary group that may do actually something for cash. Peter’s buddies and colleagues are prickly, egotistical people who find themselves nonetheless attending to know one another, and it’s your job to maintain them in line as finest you may as you bumble your manner by way of ruining after which saving the galaxy.

The characters on this game are wonderful, and I really like each one of them, even the ones I didn’t actually look after in the films. To keep away from infringing on actors’ likenesses, all the characters appear like Wal-Mart model variations of their film counterparts. It was off-putting at first, however I got here to want the uncanny valley Guardian look-alikes. Drax the Destroyer by no means moved my needle, if you recognize what I imply. Dave Bautista is a good-looking man, however I simply wasn’t interested in his Drax. And although game-Drax has the similar extremely dry persona and (largely) the similar look as movie-Drax, there’s a tenderness to him that we simply didn’t see in the films. His excessive aggression and violence are simply a smokescreen hiding a man nonetheless quietly mourning the homicide of his spouse and little one by Thanos.

Early in the game, you incessantly must defend Gamora (his household’s assassin’s daughter) in opposition to him, correcting him when he calls her “murderer” as an alternative of her title. By the finish of the game, when all the Guardians have damaged down their hardest, prickliest bits, Drax begins calling Gamora by her title all on his personal, and he says one of the sweetest strains I’ve ever heard in a video game — saying that in the event that they die on their quest, he’ll ask his god if there’s room for his buddies in his heaven. Naturally, I fell immediately in love. It additionally doesn’t damage that Drax is a bodily competent himbo who is all the time shifting or chucking heavy objects whereas shirtless. Let’s simply say Drax may destroy me at any time.

Rocket Raccoon was one other shock for me. Early in the game, you’ve got the choice to throw Rocket like a soccer throughout a chasm so he can hack a panel that may create a bridge the celebration can use to get throughout. Rocket, naturally, objects to this remedy. When you select the throw possibility (like I did), Rocket is livid — not as a result of of the bodily hurt, however since you violated his autonomy. Rocket Raccoon is a Looney Toon; he’s a foul-mouthed raccoon that makes issues explode. Ha, ha, very humorous. It’s straightforward to dismiss him as a joke — which is precisely how he’s handled in the film — and it will have been very straightforward, anticipated even, for the game to proceed to lean into that characterization with out analyzing how Rocket feels about it. Although he has the look of a tiny, garbage-eating woodland creature, game-Rocket refuses to let individuals deal with him as lower than human. The second is a actually good instance of the game’s alternative / consequence system as a result of whenever you throw him, Rocket gained’t allow you to neglect it, and he makes you are feeling like a piece of shit, which, should you do throw him, you kinda are.

Alternative on this game is very well completed. The game treats your selections with sufficient weight to make them really feel like they matter whereas additionally throwing in cool change-ups in alternative presentation. Like most video games with a alternative mechanic, choices are offered as a dialogue field on a timer. The game pauses, and you’ve got so many seconds to make your alternative earlier than motion resumes with a little “Character will do not forget that” field ala the Telltale video games of yore. Late in the game, in the center of fight, Gamora says she’s going to chase after the escaping unhealthy man. On this scenario, there was no stoppage and no dialogue field; subsequently, I didn’t know there was a option to be made at the time. The battle area was arrange such which you can observe after Gamora, or you may proceed the combat with Rocket, Groot, and Drax. Desirous to again up my pal, I chased after her. The platform I used to be working on exploded, throwing me into what would have been a fall to my demise, however Gamora rushed in to save lots of me, thus denying her the chase. Then a field popped, “Gamora is livid you didn’t let her chase the unhealthy man.” I used to be surprised, unaware I used to be making a determination there, impressed with the manner Eidos Montreal switched up how alternative was offered, altering it from the anticipated piece of textual content you choose like choosing off a listing to one thing you make your character do.

The characters are alive in Guardians, and it makes them the game’s greatest enchantment. They react to what you do and the selections you make. Gamora incessantly introduced up me not trusting her to go after the unhealthy man alone, and should you get lost to discover some hidden nook or cranny in search of one of the game’s many collectibles, they name you out on it, chiding you for losing time.

Fight is the least pleasant half of the game, but it surely isn’t too massive of a deal-breaker. As Peter, you’re outfitted with pistols that shoot elemental bullets, and you can too command your Guardians, having them execute one of three customary talents or a particular super-move. When you’ve mastered the stagger system, elemental properties, and issuing instructions, fight turns into a rote expertise to largely endure quite than take pleasure in. There’s simply sufficient selection in enemy weaknesses, environmental hazards, and talents that stringing collectively profitable combos isn’t terribly repetitive, however fight simply isn’t the place this game shines. Enemies aren’t tough, they’re time-consuming, and when the game chains battle sections again to again which might be crammed with the greatest, beefiest monster varieties, it will get to be a slog. There’s a notably unforgivable sequence towards the finish that was a endless hall of battle arenas with no platforming sections interspersed to interrupt up the motion. It was the most tedious half of the game.

I additionally didn’t love the controls. It was too straightforward to get my wires crossed, triggering a huddle once I meant to direct Rocket to throw a grenade. Huddles are an final capability that buffs both you or all of your celebration, relying on the dialogue alternative you make. They began out as a cute, little deal with however shortly turned very stale. In a game that is extraordinarily good with how characters reply to occasions of their context, huddles are a unusual aberration. The Guardian’s feedback are by no means acceptable to the battle, and should you set off one throughout a boss combat, they don’t even point out who you’re preventing. Huddles are additionally an sudden supply of hilarity. Along with offering a buff and a heal for celebration members, a huddle will even play a tune from the aforementioned ’80s hit listing completely at random. I don’t find out about you, however once I suppose of an ’80s, hotblooded, pick-me-up tune, I’m not pondering of “Dangerous Popularity;” I’m pondering of “Wake Me Up Earlier than you Go-Go.” The game agreed… incessantly. In my whole playthrough, I by no means as soon as obtained Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out For A Hero” after a huddle, although that tune was performed throughout each one of the game’s promotional movies. I held out for a hero, and no person got here.

Like many, I loved the Guardians of the Galaxy film duology greater than I believed I might. It’s the similar for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. It might have been straightforward to stretch the pores and skin of a typical superhero film plot over the bones of a customary motion game and name it a day — kinda like most of Marvel’s Avengers. However Guardians defied being a lifeless, flesh hulk to as an alternative be a residing, respiration creature with a coronary heart that beats and bleeds throughout the display screen.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is obtainable now on PlayStation, Xbox, Change, and PC.

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