A half-Human half-Spartoian, a genetically engineered not-raccoon, a Flora Colossus, a Katathian warrior and the adopted daughter of Thanos. You know, that sounds like Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy!
In Guardians of the Galaxy, you get to become Star-Lord himself and guide your newly formed team of misfit heroes-for-hire through a brand new original story that tests your leadership skills as well as the team’s unity. Guardians puts the classic Marvel characters into a brilliant new storyline that can be impacted by your choices, but the game falters slightly when it comes to combat and scope.
Marvel-lous Knowledge Not Needed
Guardians of the Galaxy features an entirely original story that has never been seen before in the world of Marvel making it really easy to follow even if you're not a comic or movie expert. It’s a planet-hopping tale that manages to stay fresh throughout its runtime, mainly by focusing on its core characters and in the clever ways in which it builds its world.
When you move to a new area, details about where you have been are embedded into the dialogue. This gives you some extra knowledge about your location which makes your adventures there more enjoyable. Engaging in optional dialogue with your Guardians means that you can explore as much or as little of their stories as you want to know. For the impatient gamer, skipping ahead in the game isn’t an issue as you’re still given enough information to be able to follow what’s happening. For those that want to take their time however, there’s heaps of interesting back and forths between the team that help build backstories and flesh out this particular version of the rag-tag superhero crew.
Exploring Is Limited
The Galaxy is vast and you’re able to visit multiple planets on your adventure but all of them feel slightly restrictive in some aspects. Many of the areas that you visit are highly detailed and often beautiful. However, many feel as though you should be able to explore more of them, as their designs feel like they naturally lean towards being open-world. The worlds that do allow you to look around somewhat freely still fall slightly short of satisfying that urge to explore off the main track. It’s frustrating at times to be presented with a whole Galaxy that feels so restrictive and small.
I Am Not Groot
You may have known this already, but Guardians of the Galaxy only features Peter Quill as a playable character. You play as Star-Lord, assigning commands out during battles, essentially being backed up by the rest of the Guardians as you play. As fun as it is to be able to boss around four of the most deadly lifeforms in the Galaxy, yes Gamora does take orders sometimes, combat can start to feel a little dry after a while. Star-Lord is a great character but he is very limited in the skills that he has at his disposal in a fight which leaves you leaning on the other Guardians for most of it. It’s extremely fun to do so but there’s a constant feeling throughout the game that you should be able to play as those other characters, even if only for brief moments. That craving to control another character could easily be satisfied by being able to become them for a small task or side-mission within the game. There are several moments that are perfectly suited for this, but alas that simply isn’t the case for now. Someone let me be Groot, please.
Decisions Do Matter
Guardians lets you make decisions which have an impact on how your adventure pans out and in-turn helps the game feel more immersive. At first, your choices seem inconsequential, mostly there to provide added depth and flavour to the story. The further you get in the story however, you find out that your decisions really do have good and bad consequences. I found myself using the “replay chapter” feature of the game many times because I wanted to explore how each decision I made impacted certain events. Granted, some of them didn’t have any bearing on the main story, but they still were d’ast fun.
A Rad Soundtrack
Fighting alongside some of the strongest lifeforms in the Galaxy is made even better by the awesome soundtrack. The game has a handful of classic 80’s hits that envelop battles with a light-hearted atmosphere and an entirely original soundtrack developed solely for the game. One of the best things about Guardians of the Galaxy across Marvel is that it can be silly but serious. Having a soundtrack filled with classic cheesy 80’s hits that run alongside a heavily rock-based OST makes the game feel distinctly Guardians of the Galaxy.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy perfectly balances having a brand new narrative surrounding the misfit team of heroes whilst maintaining their classic characteristics from the Marvel universe. However, I was left wanting more in terms of combat and I still want to play as Groot. Overall, it’s a great game for new and old Marvel fans alike that breathes new life into the now-recognisable characters. Hopefully, Edios-Montréal and Square Enix will consider doing a second game, as there’s so much more of the Galaxy to explore.
Review copy provided by publisher.
Reviewed on Xbox Series S.