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Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series – Review

Back in the day, I used to play a lot of games, going to the arcade frequently with my friends to stuff quarters in the slots for Tempest, Tron, Pac-Man, and the like. When Atari introduced an at-home system, my grandparents bought us one and my sister, brother, and I took turns playing all our favorites. When Nintendo introduced the NES Entertainment System, my boyfriend at the time and I got one and I became addicted to Tetris (I once played for five hours without realizing it had turned from day to night). When he and I broke up, I kept the system.

I’ve had Game Boys and other hand-held devices, plus the Wii, and I also played a lot of PC games—Star Wars-related, Mah Jongg, and things like that. Then I discovered Wolfenstein courtesy of a roommate and that became my new obsession: first-person shooters. I’ve played many since then, but as I got older, my PC gaming dropped off and even my Wii gaming has dwindled. My poor joystick and Wii controllers are rather dusty.

So when I was asked if I wanted to try the new Guardians Telltale game, I figured, let’s see what’s new in the PC world. Turns out, even without the joystick, PC games are still fun—mostly.

What’s it about?

From the press release:

“In the wake of an epic battle, the Guardians discover an artifact of unspeakable power. Each of them has a reason to desire this relic, as does a ruthless enemy who is the last of her kind, and who will stop at nothing to tear it from their hands.

From Earth to the Milano to Knowhere and beyond, and set to the beat of awesome music, you wear the rocket-powered boots of Star-Lord in an original Guardians adventure, where your decisions and actions drive the story you experience.

The series will feature a star-studded cast of voice talent, including Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights, The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series) as Star-Lord, Emily O’Brien (The Young and the Restless, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor) as Gamora, Nolan North (the Uncharted series, Pretty Little Liars) as Rocket, Brandon Paul Eells (Watch Dogs) as Drax, and Adam Harrington (The Wolf Among Us, League of Legends) as Groot.”

There are currently two episodes available, “Tangled Up in Blue” and the very recently released “Under Pressure.”

Playing the Guardians Game

As with all Telltale games, the choices you make as you go along help shape the story that gets told. There’s also a Crowd Play feature, which I didn’t try. As this is a PC game, the controls are the mouse, the arrows on the keyboard, and certain keys that are illuminated as the game progresses to help you make your choices.

I played the first episode, which took me about two hours to get through (note: I’m a little rusty; an experienced gamer could probably get through it faster). In “Tangled Up in Blue,” Star-Lord, Gamora, Groot, Rocket, and Drax tangle with Thanos, have the opportunity to meet with The Collector or the Nova Corps, and meet a Kree warrior with a really bad attitude.

The characters don’t look like the team from the films; rather, they’re based on the comic-book versions. That means Drax’s and Gamora’s skins are less ornate, but that’s probably for the best, given all the other animated shenanigans catching your attention.

I decided to play Star-Lord the way he’s presented in the films: a mixture of hollow bravado, true bravery, smart-assedness, and caring. Sometimes, I would choose the answer that was funniest, and others, I chose to reassure the other characters or maybe tick them off a little (I messed with Gamora and Drax). With every choice in a conversation (and there are a lot of them), a note would appear at the top of the screen to let you know the character you’re speaking to would remember what you said. Pissing off Gamora and Drax was probably not my best choice, but my reassurances to Rocket paid off handsomely.

I will admit to getting a little bored with how many conversations I had to have in order to advance in the game—a holdover trait from my first-person shooter days when I was blowing away everything in sight. After some time, though, I got into the rhythm of the story and enjoyed my time sharing with the other characters.

I just started the second episode and look forward to the mischief I will make Star-Lord get into on account of the decisions I made in the first episode. I think I might have totally screwed up by going to The Collector instead of Nova Corps, but…hee hee hee!

What’s good?

The music, as in the films, is outstanding. As you advance in the game, you unlock more of Peter Quill’s Awesome Mixtape, which makes the scenes more fun to watch.

I enjoyed Nolan North’s Rocket the most; although he sounds a lot like Rocket from the films, North adds an extra dash of cockiness and warmth. The other voice actors are very good, particularly Eells’ Drax.

The controls to the game were easy to follow once I figured out what everything stood for. The animation has a nice depth to it and responds fairly quickly to your commands.

What’s not as good?

Sometimes, the animation stalls a bit. In particular, I got stuck in one room with no controls flashing or working that would allow me to get out. I had to re-boot the game and start the sequence over. Once I got past that and got the hang of the game, things went smoothly.

Star-Lord also looks kind of constipated a lot of the time. The rest of the characters look good, especially the furry Rocket, although they all move a little stiffly at times.

The many conversations, as I mentioned earlier, dragged somewhat at first, but as the story became clearer, the conversations became more crucial and occasionally, fun.

The Verdict

All in all, I’d recommend the PC version of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, and I look forward to completing episode two and the rest of the episodes as they become available. The game has repeatability because you can go through and make different choices (I plan to replay episode one and choose the Nova Corps over The Collector just to see where I end up), and the price point of $24.99 for the entire game seems just right.

The game also comes in PS4 and XBox One formats
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