Please note, there will be spoilers for Episode One in this review.
You’ve gotta love those recaps at the start of a Telltale Games episode, right? Given the incremental release structure of the games, seeing a rewind of what’s gone down so far always has this TV show sort of feel to it. It’s something I’ve always appreciated; not just because I typically need this gentle reminder, but because it always highlights the ‘best of’ bits of what you’ve already played through.
Episode One of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series had plenty of action-packed moments to show off, with the early demise of Thanos proving to be quite the twist for the series to take. Whilst Episode Two ‘Under Pressure’ certainly has its fair share of action though, it seems to prioritise character development with a more detailed look into Rocket Raccoon’s past and what drives him. It makes for an enjoyable episode, but one that doesn’t really progress the main story arc all that much.
Whilst Episode Two ‘Under Pressure’ opens with the Guardians being chased by Kree villain Hala, it doesn’t actually focus on the main plot too much. Sure, the Eternity Forge plays a vital role in the events that unfold, but you don’t really learn all that much about it or what it’s really capable of. We know it can bring people back to life (as it does Starlord), but the secrets behind it are… well… kept secret. However, you do get to learn a whole lot more about Rocket Raccoon, with the game allowing you to follow a path that gives a deep insight into his past and why he acts how he does. As you can imagine it’s pretty tragic, though it did take turns I didn’t expect too. It certainly an eye opener and proves that Rocket isn’t just the reckless jackass he’s portrayed to be in Episode One (or the movies for that matter).
How you handle these events can be played out completely differently though. In a similar vein to the first episode, Rocket and Gamora are at odds at how you approach each mission. Once again, you’ve got to pick between the two of them in order to figure out the best course of action. The first time around it often felt a little obvious as to what to do; I mean, Gamora always seemed to be the voice of reason and Rocket the greedy one. I certainly found myself siding with her and probably intended to do so this time around too. However, with Rocket revealing so much to you and with such a personal investment into what he wanted, it was difficult to turn him down this time around. It showed another side to his character that wasn’t driven by greed, but instead a desire to bring back something he clearly cherished. It showed him in a different light, but one that felt believable and true to the character. Actually being able to help influence how it all played out was pretty powerful though and something that can only be done this effectively in a Telltale release.
Outside of the Rocket scenes, you do have another encounter with the Kree, take part in space battle, and also reacquaint yourself with the ever popular Yondu. Again though, none of these scenes really felt all that important as far as the main plotline is concerned. Not that it’s a bad thing of course, but rather that this feels like more of a diversion as opposed to actual story progression. Maybe that’s fitting though, especially since so many people see the second movie in the same way.
It wouldn’t be a Telltale Game without QTE action sequences, so you’ll be pulling off plenty of twitch-reactions and button mashing in the game’s set pieces. In fact, they make up the bulk of the experience alongside the story telling; there’s less of a focus on exploration or puzzle solving this time around, but instead either talking to characters or taking part in these action sequences. It’s not a bad thing, but it would’ve been nice to have had a better balance of everything like in Episode One.
Once again you’ll be using Starlord’s rocket boots to navigate across a level to solve a puzzle, though they still felt pretty restrictive as to how far you’re able to travel with them. Having multiple layers of a level to explore is neat, but it doesn’t seem to really have that much of an impact on the gameplay. I’m not sure if Telltale Games have something neat planned in future episodes, but so far they’ve just been a tool for navigating to obvious puzzle points. Whilst it could be argued that the game is simply utilising the source material and an important aspect of Starlord’s attire, it doesn’t do it in a meaningful way. Telltale Games have proven how clever they can be in their previous releases (Batman’s gadgets were great, for example) so I’m hoping for a bit more on this front in the future.
It was a little disappointing that you don’t get to visit too many different locations this time around too. Your ship is effectively treated as a hub area, so it’s understandable you’d spend a lot of time there. However, having to go back to the temple from Episode One was a little disappointing – especially after spending a fair bit of time there already. Aside from that, each location you visit is fairly small and seemingly set up to cater for specific scenes. I never really felt like I got a chance to explore or discover something new, but instead see events play out in front of me. As always, there’s plenty of interaction in these events, but with such a fascinating ‘Galaxy’ on offer, I’d love to be able to see more of it.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series – Episode Two ‘Under Pressure’ doesn’t feel as impactful as the first episode from both an action and storyline perspective, but it does enough to keep players entertained throughout it’s roughly hour and a half run-time. Seeing this deeper look into Rocket Racoon’s past was quite enlightening and I’m intrigued to see how it affects the story down the line – even if it did minimal to progress it right now.
I’d probably say I preferred the Episode One over Under Pressure, though only just. The lack of new locations to see and actual exploration was pretty obvious, whilst some of the flaws remained the same here too. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy playing through it though and I’m still eagerly excited to see what comes next in the series.
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Release Date: 05/06/2017
Format(s): Playstation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC, Mac, Mobile Devices