Since the dawn of the gaming industry, games based on comic book properties have always been there. Some have been truly amazing like Insomniac’s Spider-Man but others have been less than great like Marvel’s Avengers. When Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy was first announced, I had feelings of both excitement and apprehension. Having a game about some of the wackiest teams in both the Marvel comics and cinematic universes was an exciting prospect. However, after Avengers, I was sceptical. Fortunately, Guardians of the Galaxy does a lot right and it’s one of the best games I have played in some time.
“The characters in Guardians of the Galaxy are some of the most well-developed characters in a video game.”
After the end of a devastating galactic war, you follow a band of arguing misfits complete mercenary work throughout the galaxy for a bit of dough. While they’re in the middle of a job, trying to capture a monster for the intimidating Lady Hellbender, a seemingly harmless bet between two of the members, Peter Quill and Rocket Racoon, quickly snowballs and sets into motion events that threaten to destroy the fragile peace of the galaxy still recovering from the war. Guardians of the Galaxy feels cinematic and kept me on the edge of my seat. The story has a lovely balance between action and melancholy, and there was never a time where I wasn’t entertained.
Guardians of the Galaxy features an incredible amount of Easter Eggs. For example, learning that Knowhere was decapitated by Knull, god of the symbiote, was a neat way of getting a reference in while also providing a backstory for how Knowhere came to be as it is today. There are also plenty of references to the MCU, comics and even to Deus Ex.
The characters in Guardians of the Galaxy are some of the most well-developed characters in a video game; Even if you don’t love them straight away, you’ll be attached by the end. Peter Quill spends the majority of the game wondering if he’s a good enough leader and mature enough to be a father. While he might be an adult, he still clings to his teenage mindset because that was the big turning point in his life.
“Outside of combat, the Guardians and Star Lord’s guns are extremely useful.”
Even the other Guardians are given their moments to shine in the game. From Gamora’s time at the side of Thanos and Rocket as an experiment on Halfworld to Groot’s experiences as the last Flora Colossus and Drax losing his family, there is plenty of growth in each character. Not one member of the Guardians are pushed aside and each one becomes an essential part of the team.
For the most part, the supporting characters are also really well refined. Lady Hellbender, the Worldmind and Cosmo are all given different amounts of time onscreen but never feel forced. However, the inclusion of Mantis did feel a little lacklustre. There were sections that dragged a bit too long and felt incredibly repetitive and monotone. She has her moments, but this left a sour taste in my mouth.
While Star Lord is the only playable character, the other Guardians never feel left out. During combat, each Guardian has a set of four unlockable skills that you can utilise to change the tide of battle. You have to find a nice balance with not only using the skills of the other Guardians but also fighting and dodging as many attacks as you can. There’s an almost strategy game component to managing fights.
Outside of combat, the Guardians and Star Lord’s guns are extremely useful. The world itself is linear. However, in each area, there are different paths to take and puzzles to solve. The gun’s elements are useful in working out a lot of the puzzles, and the Guardian’s skills help where they can’t. Fortunately, the linearity of the world never mattered to me at all. Instead, I found myself wanting to explore every crevice, locating every possible secret available.
“Guardians of the Galaxy is definitely worth the full price tag, and those who played Marvel’s Avengers, shouldn’t shy away here.”
It’s impossible to talk about Guardians of the Galaxy without mentioning its soundtrack. Mainly thanks to the MCU, we’ve come to know Peter Quill as someone who has a great taste in music. That is used to great effect here. The huddle mechanic is the main point of call when coming to listen to some of these songs. When you huddle, you have to try (and sometimes fail) to psych the Guardians up. This is one area where the game excels immensely. Not only do you psych up the other members of your team, but when the music begins, you start to feel it yourself. This huddle also contains one of the funniest Rick Rolls I’ve ever seen, so there is plenty of fun to be had.
Guardians of the Galaxy is definitely worth the full price tag, and those who played Marvel’s Avengers, shouldn’t shy away here. There are plenty of references and Easter Eggs to make a Marvel fan blush. The characters and story are superb, making this one of the best single-player games in years. I would not be surprised if this ends up on many GOTY lists.