Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Format(s): Playstation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC, Mac, Mobile Devices
When Telltale Games initially revealed that they were making a game in the Marvel universe, I was curious as to what they’d decide to do. Would we see the antics of Iron Man? Or maybe the destructive ways of the Incredible Hulk? Would we hit Nosgard with Thor? Or would we maybe have them all together in some ultimate Avengers showdown?
When Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series was actually revealed though, I got very excited. I loved the movies and the different approach it took to the whole ‘superhero’ idea, with the Guardians themselves often treading on a fine line between good and bad (though never evil – there’s no doubting that these guys are heroes). It means that you can do what you want without feeling bad or out of character though, whether it’s lawful, neutral, or even a little chaotic.
Mixing that great combination with a Telltale game just makes sense, and it makes for a fantastic experience overall. Not only is Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series one of the most enjoyable Marvel video games available right now, but it’s all one of the best Telltale ones too.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series puts you right into the action, with the Guardians finding themselves heading into a mysterious temple as they look to hunt down Thanos. After a brutal encounter (that has a few shocks), the Guardians find themselves in possession of a strange artefact known as the Eternity Forge – something that is seemingly capable of bringing people back to life.
Thus begins an epic adventure that goes deeper into each Guardian’s past, sees them facing off against a new threat known as the Kree, and even has you meet up with a few familiar faces along the way. It’s an all-out, action-packed experience, but hey – would you expect anything less from the Guardians of the Galaxy?
It’d be unfair to go into too much detail about Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series’ narrative because it’s the highlight of the experience. Everyone will have their story that has its own little differences, so for me to spoil what some of those differences could be here would be incredibly unfair. It’s a narrative-driven title and it’s through the story that you’re going to get the most enjoyment – just trust me when I say it’s a fantastic little adventure that certainly lives up to those that we’ve already seen the Guardians venture through.
Whilst I won’t go into depth about the actual story though, I will say that you’ll find out a lot about each Guardian with every episode delving into a particular character’s past or personality. Everyone has their own little story that unfolds, and how you react to it or support them will change how they treat you as you progress through the game. These are some of the moments that are the most defining throughout the whole of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, so you’ll want to take the utmost care in how you handle them.
As always, there are plenty of different choices for the player to make too. The team-based element of the game means you’ll often be forced to take sides and put up some metaphorical barriers between yourself and your allies, so you can expect to see some divisive opinions shared between the Guardians. There’ll be times where you have to take sides in order to progress, an early example of this being when you choose between following Rocket’s greedy plan or instead doing the more righteous act with Gamora. Every choice felt meaningful though and also saw plenty of different scenarios unfold as a result of my decisions – I think Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series justifies a second playthrough more than any other Telltale Game so far, and you can definitely expect to see substantial differences each time.
Even the writing is absolutely on point, with the tale conveying each character’s personality perfectly. Jokes are always being cracked throughout, be it through a few wise-ass comments by Starlord or even the subtle yet hilarious misunderstandings of Drax – you’ll be constantly laughing at the interactions between everyone. They even managed to nail Groot, who is an incredibly difficult character to write for…
All joking aside though, it’s a genuinely great script and one that perfectly captures the funny scenes, the emotional scenes, and even the action-packed ones. I’ve only ever seen the movies so I can’t say it’ll be the same for everyone, but each of the Guardians felt and acted exactly like they’re supposed to.
It wouldn’t be a Guardians of the Galaxy game without a killer soundtrack, right? Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series certainly delivers on that front, with some fantastic tracks found across the five episodes. It’s full of classics from the 70s and 80s, with each episode actually being named after a song themselves. You can expect to hear from the likes of Electric Light Orchestra, Queen, and Hall and Oates along the way, with each tune accompanying some of the game’s action-packed sequences. You know what though? They always work really well together and will certainly ‘make your dreams come true’… (I probably should’ve scrapped that one)
The action sections of the game are made up of the same QTEs we’ve come to expect from Telltale games – let’s not pretend that we didn’t expect that though, since they’ve been around from their very first release. They’re all well-executed and flow together nicely though, and with the space setting and the skills of each character you can expect some pretty epic showdowns. You’ll get to be there in the middle of it all – you might just be bashing buttons, but still, you’ll be there.
As always though, if you don’t like QTEs in video games you might want to steer clear. There are plenty of them to be found, and whilst some of them might catch you off-guard now and then, they never stray too far away from the conventional and simple design.
Of course, there are plenty of instances of exploration as well as puzzle solving too, though nothing about it really stands out that much. We’ve seen some clever ideas introduced into past Telltale games, and yes, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series does have a few of its own ideas. None of them are particularly great though – Starlord’s rocket boots are probably the highlight, though they just open up a few extra areas and don’t play into gameplay all that much. I’m not saying that the puzzle solving is bad or anything, but rather that it doesn’t do anything special.
I feel like it’s become a little bit of a cliché to say it, but it wouldn’t be a Telltale game without some technical issues. Whilst they’re not as common as they have been in previous games (I had a nightmare with the original Batman Telltale game), Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series has its fair shares of hard crashes, frame rate issues, and the occasional ridiculous loading time. It’s not riddled with them and they can be few and far between (I managed to get through two episodes in a row with no problems at one point), but they’re certainly there.
Sometimes it’s a little hard to tell just how good an episodic game is going to be based on the initial few episodes alone. I reviewed some earlier episodes of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series and enjoyed them, but there were a few moments where I wasn’t sure how it would go or if it’d stay as fun as I’d hoped.
After seeing it through to its conclusion though, it more than delivered on my expectations – Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series is simply a fantastic little adventure that explores the history of each Guardian whilst also telling a great little tale of its own. The choices you make are meaningful and can completely change the narrative, the presentation is great, whilst the action-packed set-pieces provide as many laughs as they do gasps. It’s just a whole lot of fun.
It still has the bugs that you’d expect from a Telltale release and a few of the exploration mechanics fall short, but in all I’d easily recommend Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series to both fans of the Marvel franchise and just about anyone who enjoys a thoroughly entertaining little adventure. Just remember: it’s Marvel, so you’ve got to stay until after the credits…