Like James Gunn’s original movie the Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Square Enix and Eidos-Montréal’s newest game Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a hit. All across social media, it’s being praised for its writing and character work. Unlike Marvel’s Avengers that faced a litany of complaints and jokes about the main cast looking like MCU knockoffs. The cast of the Guardians Game is being heralded by some as better than its on-screen counterparts.
It’s All About the Guardians of the Galaxy
Batman Arkham Asylum set the bar and created the perfect formula for a superhero game. It showed us that you only need to focus on one hero and treat the game more like a story. So long as the world and the story feel right to the hero, the rest falls into place.
What makes Guardians an instant classic is the moment you drop into Star-Lord’s boots, you feel like you’re a part of this original and iconic Marvel family of misfits. These characters feel as real behind the controller as they do on the silver screen. But you get to spend hours upon hours with them instead of just two short hours. The banter never repeats or gets old, and that’s an easy pit trap to fall into.
The game design is very linear, with no open world like Spider-Man PS4 to explore, or play-ground style Arkham Asylum. Between the plot and the guardians themselves, you want to find out what comes next and move forward.
With its focus on narration and making choices that shape the Guardians, you’re a driving force in the story. How are Star-Lord and the Guardians going to solve their next problem and keep the team from falling apart?
An Original Adventure
With the focus on characters and the story being told, I really appreciate the game taking the chance to completely step away and remove itself from what fans might be familiar with. These are not the Marvel Cinematic Universe Guardians of the Galaxy. As a child Peter found himself in space through different means, fighting a war with the Kree against Thanos and his Chituari. It provides a fresh take on Marvel’s goofy misfits fans have come to know and love.
The game breaks from any expectations fans may have of the Guardians, but it does seem to walk a line more in-tune with the history of the comics than the cinematic one. It keeps even the most ravenous Guardians fan guessing as to what is going to happen next.
The Guardians Are Always There
The best part about the game from a gaming perspective is how well Eidos Montreal makes the things you’d do as a gamer feel like it’s part of the Guardians life. When the Guardians are on a mission and need to get across an alien landscape, they’d just bee-line it for the exit. But, gamers need to make sure we explore every nook and cranny for loot and secrets.
The game rewards you in two ways for this, the first being the actual loot of course which ranges from materials to upgrade Star-Lord’s abilities to secret collectibles that actually come with character growth and narration back on the Milano.
The second is that the Guardians never actually leave you. In other games, if you decide to check down a mysterious pathway that leads into an underground cave the other characters will just stop and wait. In Guardians, as you get jumped by a giant gelatinous cube, Rocket may start shouting trying to find where you are. And only show up, just as you finally save your own skin.
In some cases, if it’s just you and one other Guardian, they might have a quick one on one with you about what’s been happening or how they feel. It gives the game a constant feeling of really being alive.
The Gameplay Grows On You
The one downside of the game and I use that term very lightly, is that with a focus on character and narration the gameplay doesn’t feel as crisp as it does in something like Spider-Man or Arkham Asylum. When you first start playing, it can feel a bit clunky at times, like when you fire up Star-Lord’s jet boots and they don’t quite work.
Even though you play as Star-Lord, he’s only a fraction of your abilities as the player. The Guardians will do normal attacks on their own but you have to command their special attacks. Early on you might feel the urge to just constantly chain them all together, but as you unlock more and develop the muscle memory you can get a bit more creative with it.
Is The Game For You?
Is Guardians of the Galaxy a game for you? It really depends on what you want out of your games. If you’re a fan of the Guardians themselves this game is a perfect recreation of what makes them heroes. In your wild ride across the cosmos with Rocket Raccoon and the other Guardians at your side, nothing else will matter.
If you’re not a fan of the gameplay but you love the characters and story this is still the game for you. It never gets in the way of enjoying your time as one of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Even as you get caught in a struggle for the fate of the galaxy.
Feature Image Screenshot from Square Enix and Eidos-Montréal’s Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a single-player third-person action-adventure game. It is developed by Eidos-Montréal and published by Square Enix. It can be played on PC, PlayStation 4 and 5 and Xbox Series X and S.