We are just one week away from the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 in cinemas and to say both MARVEL comic fans and film fans are incredibly hyped up and excited to say the least. So the timing of the launch of Telltale Game’s first series based on MARVEL’s Guardians of the Galaxy could not have been timed better. But could this series capture what made the first film so successful or like their take on Batman, try and do their own thing with the Guardians?
When the game was announced late 2016 I was not quite sure what kind of approach Telltale would take with it. Would they try to follow the style of the film or perhaps go towards the animated series or just give their own take on the characters much as they had done with Batman: The Telltale Series. Happily I feel that they chose to blend all three. Visually the game uses the look most known from the comics and animated series but the pace, tone and humour from the characters is very familiar and in keeping with what many fans will know from the big screen.
Playing it safe this way was a smart move, unlike Batman, most fans of Guardians would only have seen or known them from the film, so by keeping it familiar Telltale are able to bring fans into a world they already know but have some fun at the same time. I like that the game doesn’t try to give us an origin story for how the Guardians came to be together, instead we get to learn more about each character and backstory via their dialogue exchanges with Peter ‘Star Lord’ Quill. The game uses Peter really well in this regard, it keeps the focus on him as the leader of the Guardians by making him the one responsible for keeping the team together and much like how the first film ended, the team will follow his lead when it comes to big decisions.
Big decisions are the driving force for any Telltale Game, and pretty early on in this first episode the player will be made to start making choices that will shape how the story and character relationships will progress. The story will use two guardians to try and steer the player choices with Gamora and Rocket both trying to entice or encourage Peter to follow their way of thinking. This not only sets the story path but also the moral compass for Peter Quill. Gamora strongly encourages Peter to align himself and the team with the Nova Corps and be more hero like and good. Rocket however is Rocket, and it is all about the better payday so tries to get Peter to go down the route to make the most credits. It is also interesting that with Rocket comes a little emotional baggage as he says he wants a break from the Guardians, which adds the element of trying to keep him happy to get him to change his mind or upsetting him and pushing him further away.
You can also shape Peter as a leader in the dialogue options for him which can be stoic and very hero like to funny and sharp-witted which can either charm people or make them roll their eyes. How you shape your Peter Quill as a character is completely up to you as the player and it will change certain cut scenes and character interactions which I found interesting in my two full play-throughs trying out all the different choices both in dialogue and discovered some very fun little nods and references that only appear depending on character interactions so I advise trying different options with different character conversations, I won’t say what the results are but it is definitely worth trying out.
Gameplay wise it certainly follows on from Batman: The Telltale Series with set piece action sequences, conversations and some point and click sections. In the fights the QTE moments involve all the Guardians, with each one taking a turn should they be present and it gives the player a feeling of controlling the whole team. The moments where Star Lord gets to investigate an area can feel a little draggy but overall the pacing works well between the action set pieces, dialogue sections and decision making scenes, I loved the humour with Peter Quill with his interactions with the team, especially with dialogue options. The Action sequences are fun, and with a big opener to start the game and another towards the end, episode 1 really sets the scene for what is potentially a great series for Telltale entering the MARVEL Universe.
Playing this is a great lead into Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 hitting cinema’s next week. Much like Batman, you can get the fresh feel that Telltale have put into elements of the game but never strays too far away from what fans will know from the film. You may expect to have the same songs from the film but the selection for the game still work and are placed well enough to compliment the gameplay. Sadly it still has the now standard frame rate issues and loading into the next scene following a path decision that almost all Telltale Games have which is both annoying and frustrating but not quite experience breaking here.
After believing that The Walking Dead: A New Frontier series has shown how stale that universe has become, this first venture into MARVEL’s universe shows that Telltale can do great and refreshing things with new IP’s. If the episode release schedule can stay on track for this series, the partnership with MARVEL could bring amazing titles in the future. Right now as the song says, I am “hooked on a feeling” with Telltale’s take on Guardians of the Galaxy!