Players have been spoilt with Marvel games as of late, and whilst there have been some big-name titles that haven’t pleased everyone (you know what I’m talking about), others have made for awesome experiences. I’m happy to report that Guardians of the Galaxy falls into that latter category, with Eidos Montreal’s take on the rag-tag gang of space superheroes making for an adventure that doesn’t only featuring entertaining gameplay and a wonderfully weird world to explore, but also a deep and impactful narrative.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
Guardians of the Galaxy takes place in a timeline when the team are already established and trying to build up their reputation, and what better way to do so than by hunting down a vicious creature and selling it on for some big bucks? Whilst their visit to the restricted Quarantine Zone should be a straightforward job though, an encounter with a strange being as well as a run-in with the Nova Corps kick starts an epic adventure that sees the ENTIRE Galaxy at risk.
Whilst Guardians of the Galaxy is its own stand-alone adventure that differs to both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the comic books, it will certainly help if you’ve watched the movies or read some of their previous adventures. The team is already formed here (albeit in their early days) and you don’t see its origin, so you might be a little bit confused as to who the characters are, the roles they have in the team, and their experiences with one another and the extended universe if this is your first time dipping into the quintet’s escapades. Thankfully, the game goes into the lore of the characters in a lot of depth as you progress, but the early hours might leave the uninitiated a little bit confused at first.
“Whilst Guardians of the Galaxy is its own stand-alone adventure that differs to both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the comic books, it will certainly help if you’ve watched the movies or read some of their previous adventures.”
That being said, this is a unique take on the characters, so even those with familiarity will find plenty of surprises in the journey. It explores the characters and their personalities in a much deeper way than movie fans might be used to, so you’ll learn more about their tragic pasts and what led them to the life they lead now. It was one of my favourite things about the game, with the brilliant writing that blends together the serious moments with those filled with laughs keeping me completely immersed in the story from start to end. Whilst Guardians of the Galaxy is an action-orientated title, it’s also very narrative-driven and fleshes out its onslaught of battles with plenty of deep and intriguing story details
It’s also one of the funniest games I’ve played and certainly embraces the character’s unique traits in some hilarious ways. I won’t spoil any punchlines here, but I will say that Drax is a comic genius who constantly kept me laughing. Players will also make choices throughout the story that can affect how certain events play out or how characters respond to you; whilst this doesn’t always have lasting repercussions that are too deep, making the right choices can often be beneficial and will help players out down the line. It’s a cool idea that makes players feel more involved in the game though, whilst it’s also neat to see how events could pan out differently when playing the game for a second time.
“Players will also make choices throughout the story that can affect how certain events play out or how characters respond to you; whilst this doesn’t always have lasting repercussions that are too deep, making the right choices can often be beneficial and will help players out down the line.”
Of course, you’re the Guardians of the flarking Galaxy, so there’s more to the game than just a great story, with action-packed set pieces on offer throughout. Whilst the team has five members though, you’ll only take control of Peter Quill (aka Star Lord), with his Elemental Blasters the weapon of choice throughout. These allow him to lock-on to enemies and blast at them from afar or up-close in the game’s third-person action gameplay, with four elements unlocked throughout the game that allow him to inflict special effects on enemies. The Wind ability allows him to pull enemies towards him to attack them up close for example, whilst the Electric ability bounces between nearby enemies and hits stagger damage on them – they all offer something a little bit different, with their use imperative to defeating some of the game’s shielded enemies.
Star Lord is also able to hit melee attacks on enemies and has special abilities that can deal extra damage, such as a rapid-fire power which hits a TON of gunshots on enemies or a grenade that sees him launching into the air to drop explosives on a small group of them. Yep, he’s certainly well-equipped for the job and it makes him a blast to play as.
“Whilst the team has five members, you’ll only take control of Peter Quill (aka Star Lord), with his Elemental Blasters the weapon of choice throughout.”
Your team-mates aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty either, with each fighting alongside you in battle and using their abilities when directed by the player. You can issue commands to perform their special abilities by holding L1 and pressing the face buttons, with plenty of cool moves unlocked as you progress. Each one offers something different too; Groot’s initial skill allows him to hold enemies in place for a short while, Gamora can inflict heavy damage on an enemy with her sword slices, Drax will grab an enemy and swing them around to keep them out of the action, whilst Rocket can blast away at a group of enemies with a swift grenade throw. Like Star Lord, each character can unlock new abilities as you progress, giving them plenty of vicious ways to wipe out enemies and really lay the smackdown upon them.
Want to know the best part of all? The huddles. When your huddle meter fills up, all of the Guardians will group together and give their thoughts on how the battle is going. You’ve then got to choose an option to respond to them, and if it’s the right one, they’ll be SUPER motivated going back into battle and can hit their abilities constantly with minimal charging time. It’s a great way to get yourself out of a sticky situation and really allows players to embrace the game’s chaotic combat – plus, some epic 80s hits blast out when they’re activated, which feels PERFECT.
“When your huddle meter fills up, all of the Guardians will group together and give their thoughts on how the battle is going. You’ve then got to choose an option to respond to them, and if it’s the right one, they’ll be SUPER motivated going back into battle and can hit their abilities constantly with minimal charging time.”
I had a lot of fun with Guardians of the Galaxy’s combat, with the quick-paced action proving fun and offering a surprising amount of flexibility in-battle. However, I did find that some battles dragged on a little longer than they needed to, with some foes having a bit too much health or the game sending a few too many minions your way. I played on the normal difficulty and didn’t face any real adversity throughout the game either, with even the bosses going down with ease. Don’t get me wrong, they’re epic encounters that look fantastic in-game, but their bark is worse than their bite. The combat never stops being fun, but it would have been more enjoyable if encounters were a bit more streamlined, especially since the game takes around twenty hours to beat.
When not in battle, players will explore a myriad of locales across the Guardians of the Galaxy universe, with plenty of planets and ships to uncover on the journey. It’s a linear game in design and the chapter-based gameplay means you don’t have freedom in choosing where you explore, but when you’re at a locale there’s always plenty to discover. Sometimes it just requires Peter to look closely around him and spot ledges he can boost up to or gaps in the wall that he can slip between, whilst other times he might need to direct one of his allies to open new pathways for him. Whether it’s resources or the plentiful costumes to unlock, the game certainly rewards those who head off the beaten path and take their time to look around.
“The combat never stops being fun, but it would have been more enjoyable if encounters were a bit more streamlined, especially since the game takes around twenty hours to beat.”
And you’ll really want to look around too, especially since the game is so damn beautiful. The art team really went all out in making a galaxy that’s full to the brim with colour and that really feels alien in design, with each environment keeping me in awe throughout. Even the areas that players will be familiar with feel great to explore, with the recognisable yet unique takes on more iconic locales certainly standing out the most. Add to that some fantastic lighting effects that really bring the world to life, and it’ll be easy to see that Guardians of the Galaxy is one stunning looking game.
Exploration also brings with it plenty of story details, with the Guardians constantly talking, sharing their thoughts, or, more often than not, insulting each other. There are plenty of fun little details here too, whether it’s with Rocket telling you that you’re heading down a dead end (and then mocking you when you don’t listen to him) or Star Lord making excuses as to why he’s gone off exploring on his own. There are plenty of moments where you won’t see enemies for a short while and are instead simply finding your way around, but honestly, they were some of my favourite in the game – it’s thanks to the satisfaction of finding items, the stunning world design, and the fact that I just loved hearing what the team had to say next.
“Guardians of the Galaxy brings together plenty of cool little ideas to ensure the player is doing something different on a regular basis and it all adds to the fun of the experience.”
There’s even room for some fun little instances that do something different, whether that’s when being hustled by some low-life aliens, carefully sneaking past sleeping enemies, competing with Rocket to defeat foes, or blasting away at ships in space dogfights. There’s also some light puzzle solving here and there, though there’s nothing complex that’ll keep you perplexed for too long. Guardians of the Galaxy brings together plenty of cool little ideas to ensure the player is doing something different on a regular basis and it all adds to the fun of the experience.
It’s clear then that I had a blast playing through the game, but my experience with it hasn’t been flawless. I’ve come across a few technical hiccups, with the sound seemingly cutting out, objectives not completing and forcing me to load checkpoints, and some control issues during set-pieces. There was never anything that’d ruin the experience for players, but I need more than one hand to count the number of times that I had to re-do some sections because a door wouldn’t open or the game didn’t acknowledge that I beat the last enemy in an area. I’m sure it’s something that can be fixed with a patch, but you can probably expect a few hiccups during your playthrough.
I can’t end this review without mentioning the sound design, which is top notch throughout. Whilst the voice acting is brilliant and fits each character’s role perfectly, it’s the soundtrack which slaps the most. With 80s and 70s hits from the likes Wham, Blondie, a-ha, Blue Oyster Cult, Motley Crue, Rick Astley, Kiss, and Starship playing throughout the game, you just KNOW you’re in for something special. But hey, what else would you expect from the Guardians of the Galaxy?
Guardians of the Galaxy Review
Guardians of the Galaxy is a blast to play, with the fantastic combat, stunning world, and deep yet hilarious narrative making for one heck of a memorable adventure. I found myself totally invested in the gang’s journey from start to end, so much so that I started the adventure all over again as soon as I beat it. It’s THAT good.
It does have some flaws though, with some battles dragging out a little longer than they needed to and some technical issues souring the experience. Other than that, it’s a thrilling experience that won’t only please existing fans of the team, but also those who just enjoy epic third-person adventures. If you weren’t a fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy before, you will be after this.
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC