After playing through the campaign of Marvel’s Avengers it’s fair to admit that hopes were tempered somewhat when Square Enix’s take on Guardians of the Galaxy was announced. Now that I’ve finally had a chance to jump in with it I can’t help but think this game suffered a lot from guilt by association because it’s really a great game.
Without going into too much detail the basic story is that the Guardians screw up a job, get into trouble and then get dragged into a bigger conspiracy. If you’ve seen the movies you’ll find that’s a familiar tale for this crew… they seem to attract that kind of attention. The game plays out like a third person action adventure with you taking on the role of Peter Quill/Star Lord. Supporting you are Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot who accompany you to most missions and add a lot of flavour to conversations during play. Though you don’t control them directly you can issue commands at times to use their skills to overcome simple puzzles or obstacles. During combat their skills are useful as their special abilities can often counter enemies own strengths. Being able to use them at the right time in a fight can make your task a lot easier. You can even initiate a huddle that can give the crew a morale boost if you say the right things. For progression there’s some basic XP leveling that allows you to unlock additional abilities for both Quill and team but they aren’t (as yet) providing anything that’s a substantial advantage over you basic skills.
If there’s one issue I have with the game it’s probably with the occasional quicktime events that feel unnecessary during scripted events/cutscenes and when you fail they require a reload before you can attempt them again. It just breaks the rythym of a game that flows quite well everywhere else.
Visually the game is striking with some incredibly imaginative worlds to travel through and plenty of bold colour choices that steer things away from greys and browns. The recent patch for consoles also enabled ray tracing which helps add to the fidelity further but at the cost of resolution. But to be honest the game looks so good you don’t really notice and I was happily taking screenshots knowing that they were all looking good and the game even includes a photo mode to! The character models are outstanding – unlike Avengers they don’t try to mimic their MCU counterparts too closely and it works better here. A nice touch though is you can unlock outfits from the GotG movies and the flavour text used with them is humourously appropriate. Quill’s ship, the Milano, has been given a lot of attention with its interior reflecting its occupants appropriately, especially in their own private quarters. Like the Millennium Falcon or Serenity, the ship is a character and it looks great.
The voice work works really well too with the actors making their own mark with the characters and I am happy to site back on cutscenes and enjoy the banter that comes with it. And then there’s the soundtrack with its collection of classic tracks that you’ll hear playing in the Milano or whenever a huddle succeeds – it’s fun and it works.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy totally succeeds because it focuses on giving players what they want in a superhero adventure with a great looking, fun game that’s minus the grind, the repetition and the microtransactions. It’s hard to know if developer Eidos Montreal will get another shot at this but they really did hit a sweet spot with this game and it justifies the team getting another chance. With how good this game is, I hope they do.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is out now for PC, Xbox and PlayStation. Played on an Xbox Series X.