November 8, 2019 at 10:11 AM #855
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series
Rating: 3.0 – Fair
Looking for a standard cosmic adventure? Look no further.
I’ve been a fan of Telltale games ever since their amazing take on The Walking Dead first came out five years ago, and I’ve played many of their games they’ve made in the time since. While I’ll admit that their formula can start to feel repetitive after a while, I’ve found that as long as the story is strong enough, it makes up for any other issues the games have. However, this is the main problem that plagues their take on the Guardians of the Galaxy…it just doesn’t ever sail to great enough heights for it to ever be anything more than an average game.
So, for those that are unfamiliar, most Telltale games take a licensed property and create their own story for it. This time around, they’re tackling Guardians of the Galaxy, which is an obscure Marvel comic that’s gained much notoriety in recent years due to its film adaptations. This actually seemed like a bit of an odd choice to me, since Telltale games revolve around player choice, and this didn’t necessarily seem like the kind of property that would benefit from that concept. However, it actually works better than I expected. Most of the time, you’ll be playing as Star-Lord, the leader of the Guardians. The team finds an artifact that can bring the dead back to life, and they must fight to try to keep it from an enemy known as Hala. However, the real danger usually lies within the team, as different members of it have different feelings on how the artifact should be handled. So, the player choice aspect really starts to play in heavily as you’re trying to keep your team together and not tear each other apart from their bickering. You’ll find that it’s not easy to have everyone on your side at all times (mainly because the game is deliberately designed this way), so you’ll have to make the best choices you can to keep the team intact. I think this is the aspect of the game that I personally like the most.
I’ve done so many reviews for Telltale games by this point that I’ve grown tired of describing the gameplay in each one, since it’s largely the same in every game. However, I don’t want to alienate any newcomers, so I’ll give a brief rundown. For those of you who are familiar with Telltale games, feel free to skip this paragraph. Okay, so basically there are three "types" of gameplay found in the game: point-and-click, quick time events, and choices. In the point-and-click sections, you’re typically walking around an area, investigating it, and interacting with different objects to learn new things that can progress the story. These are the sections where the story takes a backseat to give players time to play around with the world a bit. Since I really only come to Telltale games for the stories, these sections appeal to me the least, but they could be the best for other players. Quick time events take place during action sequences. Basically, you just press the button that’s prompted on screen to keep the Guardians from being killed. Then, the choices are what progresses the story along. Most of the choices involve you being given a choice of three different things to say (plus a silent option), all of which can prompt different reactions from characters and make an impact on the overall story. However, there are usually about five BIG choices that you make throughout each episode, and these are the fun ones that have the most impact on the story.
Okay, so with the explanation out of the way, how is all of this in Guardians of the Galaxy specifically? I found myself really just wanting to get through the exploration sections. For it being a cosmic adventure, I didn’t find many times where I was interested in actually exploring the environments. As Star-Lord, you’re occasionally given access to his jet boots, so you can actually fly around at different points, which is a fun, unique addition for the game. I found that the quick time events are the same as ever. They work and they break up the monotony, but they don’t add anything spectacular to the game. Then, with the choices, as I mentioned earlier I found the best choices in the game to be the ones where you have to try to make the best decision as a leader on how to keep your team together. This adds a nice twist on the usual formula, but other than that the choices in Guardians really aren’t anything spectacular. It doesn’t have the same weight to it as one like The Walking Dead does, so that took me out of the overall experience a bit.
If you’re like me and are only really familiar with Guardians of the Galaxy because of its two movies, you may notice that the characters in the game look a little…different than their movie counterparts. Not unrecognizable or anything, but noticeably different. I think that Drax and Gamora suffer the most from this. I’m not sure why exactly this is either, to be honest. It could be because of how the characters look in a different medium, but I haven’t really researched it enough to say. But admittedly, this is slightly distracting, although I don’t want to knock the game too much for just that, because honestly everything else in the game looks pretty in Telltale’s usual cel-shaded style.
Adding to the problem of the characters feeling different from their movie counterparts, there are some different voice actors for the game. I think the voice actors do fine in this, it’s just that a lot of times it doesn’t have the same flair that I enjoy from the movies. I think the real winner in the sound department is the music though. Anyone familiar with Guardians of the Galaxy will know that the soundtrack plays a huge role in it, and so the developers made sure to put in some classic tracks for the game. Admittedly, there isn’t nearly as much as I had hoped for, but I’m sure it costs a bit of money to get some licensed tracks, so I don’t hold it too much against Telltale. There are still some recognizable songs, such as "Dancing in the Moonlight." I think what’s more unforgivable is more the simple fact that the music isn’t utilized right often enough. There is one very memorable sequence in Episode 4 to the tune of "Stone Cold Crazy," but other than that there aren’t really any big moments that come to mind that had music involved.
As usual, your "replay value" for this new Telltale game will be found in if you want to replay the game to see how different decisions will affect the story. Other than that, you’ll probably play it through once and then be done with it. Each episode is close to 2 hours, with a total of five episodes, so you’re looking at about a 10 hour game total. I’m not someone that thinks length is super important in games, but I know that some people feel strongly about "getting their money’s worth." Well, to me, that hinges on how well you feel the time spent was, and for me…I didn’t feel like Guardians of the Galaxy added anything significant to my gaming life. I don’t think it’s a bad game by any means, it’s just kind of forgettable. It’s a shame, because I was looking forward to seeing what Telltale would do with a Marvel property for a long time, so I was hoping for better.
So, let me just end by giving out final recommendations. Put it this way, if you hate either Telltale games or Guardians of the Galaxy (then first off, why are you still reading this?), this game likely won’t convert you, so just stay away. If you’re a fan of Telltale games, then you’ve likely played much better than this one, so I’d say that you could skip this one. If you’re just a fan of Guardians of the Galaxy that wants to experience some more of them, then I think the game is worth trying out, but don’t expect it to be anything mind blowing, because it’s not. I found it to be a nice companion to the movie that came out earlier this year, but beyond that it’s not a stand-out for the franchise. Finally, if you’re not familiar with either Telltale or Guardians and are wondering what the heck I’m even talking about, then you’re probably just looking for a fun new game to play. In that case, I think this is an easy skip for you. There’s much better Telltale games, point-and-click adventure games, and just games in general out there. However, might I suggest that you give one of Telltale’s better games (I recommend The Walking Dead or The Wolf Among Us) a try? All in all, this is just an average game in the end, so I only really recommend it to diehard fans.
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