Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy Review (PS5) – Marvel’s Guardians of The Galaxy is easily one of my favorite comic book video games to release since Batman: Arkham City. Eidos Montreal has crafted an incredible experience with fantastic writing, a visually gorgeous universe to explore, and a surprisingly good story that at times gets a lot more emotional than one might think.
Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy Review (PS5) – A Non-Stop Thrill Ride With Fantastic Writing And Incredible World Building
A Galactic Story With Plenty Of Surprises
The story follows the Guardians entering a quarantine space zone to find whatever riches they can for profit. In usual Guardians fashion, Star-Lord and his band of misfits set off a chain of reactions that sends the galaxy into turmoil, leaving the Guardians to clean up their mess and the only ones able to stop the entire galaxy from being destroyed.
Those familiar with the comics know the importance the Nova Corp and the Church of Universal Truth play in the Guardians of the Galaxy comic books, and it’s no different here as they take center stage in a massive conflict. Fans are also going to be delighted with the constant nods and mentions of Marvel characters that span the universe rather than just Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
The story itself isn’t linear like one might think. Specific moments in the game transpire the same way but how you reach those moments is dependent on you. There are moments in the game where your decisions significantly impact the way events unfold.
Your choices not only affect the type of dialogue you’ll have with your teammates but what scenes and how encounters transpire in the future. Some of these decisions you’ll see coming, but some are so minimal that you won’t see where they lead until the end of the game.
Every Decision You Make Has An Impact On The Narrative
Guardians of the Galaxy remembers every decision you make. At the start of the game, you get an option where Drax picks up Rocket and says he can throw him across a gap to access a bridge mechanism. Rocket furiously protests this decision, but it’s ultimately up to you to decide if Drax should or shouldn’t throw Rocket.
Your decision will affect Rocket throughout the game and bring up many banter conversations about the situation. These kinds of decisions play out through the entire game, where Rocket constantly brings up your decision, especially cases where he’s trying to get you to side with him during another critical conversation.
Those who know the Guardians through comics or movies know what to expect from Star-Lord, Drax, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon. The team dynamic and constant banter is the franchise’s core, and getting that dynamic just right is a daunting task. Thankfully Eidos Montreal has gone above and beyond mastering that dynamic.
The Constant Banter Between Guardians Is A Treat To Listen To
Guardians of the Galaxy features some of the best writing I’ve experienced this year. There isn’t a single moment of silence through the twenty hours it took me to finish the game. The banter builds on the world and characters at the same time, and much about the Guardians and the various planets you explore is through organic growth.
I love watching the Guardians constantly at each other throat’s and then watching their dynamic and love for each other grow as their goals begin to align. Even Rocket’s absolute selfishness, which I hated at the start, I learned to understand through the delivery of his performance. Believe me when I tell you that behind all the funny dialogue, things can get pretty heavy.
One of my favourite moments is learning about Drax’s past. The brute’s persona isn’t always on display, and when Drax talks about his family, it’s heartwarming and, at times, makes you feel for the man and the pain that he’s constantly hiding, leading to his rage and hatred.
Each character gets this kind of treatment, and it’s clear that pain and loss are what brings these characters together. It’s so well done that this is how I want all my characterization and world building to be presented in the future.
It’s Star-Lord’s Story And The Team Is There To Back Him Up
Combat is an absolute blast, and every character plays an important role, with each of the Guardians proving as useful as the next. You primarily only control Star-Lord, and at first, it was something that I questioned. Why only Star-Lord? The simple answer is that the story is mainly about him.
This may not sit well with many fans who may want to go in and blast things with Rocket or slice up enemies with Gamora, and that’s understandable. But for me, choosing to lock the game to one character may be the best decision the developers made.
Combat is simple but features some complex mechanics that serve better as commands rather than switching over to another character and doing it yourself. Star-Lord can issue commands to his teammates during combat, and they follow those orders without question.
Utilizing Your Team’s Unique Skills Is The Only Way To Get Through Various Encounters
Each character has four abilities to unlock, and their attacks suits each character to the best of their abilities. For example, Groot can use his vines to hold enemies in place, while Gamora is a great offensive character who can efficiently dispatch single foes. Learning to use these abilities against specific enemies is a must to survive.
Adversaries vary in shape and size, and each one has unique weaknesses. For example, during an encounter, I was faced with a powerful brute enemy. My blasters weren’t affecting him much, and I learned I needed to stagger the enemy first.
Fortunately, Drax has an ability that causes massive stagger to an opponent, but finds himself vulnerable when getting too close to the enemy. Therefore, the key is using Groot to hold the enemy with its roots or having Gamora distract the enemy with quick attacks, so that Drax has an opening to use his stagger ability.
These are the types of combinations you have to watch out for with almost every encounter if you want to make things a little easier for yourself. It’s also why having a command menu works better for this game than switching to different characters. From a developer standpoint, having to build entirely new mechanics for five vastly different characters.
The Guardians Work As A Team, And That’s Evident In the Battles And Throughout The Story
Some incredible moments that transpire during combat are the tag team finishers you can pull off. When some enemies are staggered and close to defeat, you can pull off a team attack finishing off the enemy. This attack is fun to do but becomes repetitive as you watch each Guardian execute it with the same attack animation.
The tag moves activates when you go in for a melee attack, and another Guardian is next to you; the two of you then perform a stylish cinematic finisher. My favourite of these is having Star-Lord uppercut an opponent into the air only to have Drax jump in and fall on top of the enemy with an elbow drop, driving them to the ground or having him run up and drop kick the enemy in midair.
When things aren’t going your way in battle, you can Huddle Up. After building up an energy bar from combat, you can Huddle Up with your teammates to build morale. When using this ability, your teammates come together to discuss how things are going in battle.
Your job is to give them a motivational speech. If you succeed, each teammate gets boosted with more damage and faster attacks and unlimited use of their abilities. If you say the wrong thing, only Star-Lord gets encouraged while the team pretty much tells him he sucks at motivational speeches.
After the huddle, Star-Lord plays one of the game’s licensed 80’s rock tracks allowing you to dispatch foes to “Take on Me” by A-Ha or “Final Countdown” by Europe.
Star-Lord Takes Center Stage In Battles And Provides Various Tools To Keep Him Busy
Star-Lord uses his blasters for long-range combat, but he also comes equipped with melee attacks for quick fisticuffs. It’s not simply a case of standing around shooting at your enemies, though. Star-Lord can dash around with his boot thrusters, slide around on the ground when knocked down, hover around enemies and shoot them from the air. Best of all, he gets access to element attacks.
Throughout the journey, Star-Lord unlocks element attacks with his blasters. Ice, Electricity, Wind, and Fire. Each one of these blaster skills has varying effects when used against enemies.
Electricity bonuses around enemies clustered together, while Wind pulls enemies closer to you and is excellent against snipers and hard to reach opponents. Enemies begin to display the element they are weak against once you discover their weakness, giving you a nice little tip to what element to attack with.
The blasters are also used for exploration and puzzle-solving. You’ll encounter plenty of areas where you have to freeze water to get across a gap, Melt ice to create a path forward or ever electrify gears and panels to get them moving again and open locked doors.
A Stunning Universe Filled With Wonder And Adventure
Puzzles play a significant role in exploration, but none of them are particularly hard. Exploring the various locations and planets you visit is crafted perfectly. I loved looking around for hidden ledges and passages to run off to find collectables such as personal items to give to my teammates to learn more about their past and find new costumes to equip.
The various locations are stunning to look at, and each one is so unique with its vegetation and monsters. Lady Hellbenders’ animal sanctuary planet is filled with vast greenery overgrowing and mysterious humanoid sculptures. You’ll also get to explore spaceships and the vast spaceport “Knowhere,” which resides inside the skull of a giant celestial being.
Hidden crafting parts are scattered throughout the world, and these allow you to upgrade perks. While at a workbench, Rocket can upgrade Star-Lord by building him new equipment that’s represented as perks. There are fifteen in total, ranging from faster shield recharge, more health, and slowing down time when performing a perfect dodge.
Incredible Animations And A Fantastic Licensed and Original Soundtrack Round Out A Great Experience
Guardians of the Galaxy is an incredible looking game. The visuals instantly catch your eye with incredible vistas and vibrant colors, from the neon lights and markets in Knowhere, to the vast landscapes of Lady Hellbenders’ Seknarf Nine. To accompany the game’s fantastic visuals are the facial animations, which rival the titles like The Last of Us 2 and Uncharted 4.
Indeed, there is so much emotion that can be read through the characters’ facial animations. Even Rocket and Groot display plenty of emotion through their body language, telling you exactly how they’re feeling without saying a single word.
The soundtrack is great. Though the game does have an original soundtrack, the licensed 80’s songs are quite simply perfect. I never thought that listening to Billie Idol’s White Wedding would make for a great battle song, but Guardians of the Galaxy proved that you could make any 80’s rock song your battle anthem.
As much as I want the game to be perfect, it does have some issues. I ran into some problems during cutscenes that if I had the subtitles turned on, characters would skip some parts of the conversation to catch up to the subtitles that have moved on to the following sentence.
In addition, I also ran into some issues where a character would disappear, or a part of them would disappear like their head. This issue came in the second half of the game; thankfully, a quick checkpoint reset fixed it quickly.
A New Standard For Comic Book Video Games
There is so much more I want to say about Guardians of the Galaxy, but there are some things I can’t spoil here. Guardians of the Galaxy is an absolute joy to play with great combat and phenomenal writing and world building. Not since Batman: Arkham City have I enjoyed playing a superhero game as much as I enjoyed Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s a non-stop thrill ride that gets better and better the more you play it.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy releases on October 26, 2021 for PS5, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One.
Review code generously provided by PR.