Four years ago if someone came up to you and told you that a team consisting of a green warrior woman, a grey former saxophone player incapable of detecting sarcasm, a linguistically-challenged tree, a talking raccoon, and a spaceman stuck in the 1980s would be one of Marvel’s biggest properties you would have called him crazy. The Guardians of the Galaxy faced a major resurgence in the comic book world not to mention an insanely successful movie and now on the verge of the second film’s release, they have received their first video game. Telltale has brought their unique brand of episodic interactive entertainment to the Marvel universe. Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy asks the question; “When the galaxy no longer needs guarding, what are the Guardians of the Galaxy supposed to do?”
I had pretty much given up on Telltale after their Batman series. Not that it was bad, it just felt like the passion was gone. But Guardians of the Galaxy has definitely reignited my love for their brand of games. My idea of Telltale’s perfect game is Tales From The Borderlands. Guardians hit’s all the right notes that Tales had before. After the first episode I’m willing to bet that this series will be an absolute hit.
Guardians of the Galaxy has a great narrative that works perfectly and compliments the Telltale style greatly. Right away the story grabbed me and I understood the convictions of each individual character. The story is told mainly through the eyes of Star Lord (as expected) but we do get to see little tidbits of each member’s personal side such as Gamora’s relationship with her sister, Nebula, and Drax’s passion for avenging his family previously slain by Thanos. Knowing what drives these characters makes it a lot more easy to care about them, something the Batman series failed to do.
Of course, a big reason why I found the premiere episode of this new series entertaining and enjoyable is the humor. Of course Guardians of the Galaxy is going to be funny, with Star Lord’s goofiness, Rocket’s sass, Drax’s failure for irony, and Groot’s one-liners, and this game definitely delivered. The game did borrow a bunch from the films style of comedy, as can be expected, but offered and equal amount of it’s own through pacing, delivery, and Telltale’s own brand of humor. The superb voice cast really has a lot owed to them for how good the story is portrayed. Scott Porter is good as Star Lord, and Emily O’Brien gives a pretty strong performance as Gamora…and of course Nolan North as Rocket Raccoon, PERFECT.
Even though the comedy is a huge chunk of what makes up this game, they’re not afraid to get sappy from time to time. This first episode deals a lot with Peter Quill’s (Star Lord) relationship with his mother, and fans of the comics or even the movies will know that is one sad tale. The mother-son relationship seems like it’ll be a season long arc so buckle in and grab the tissues.
Any fan of the movie will tell you one of the best things about Guardians of the Galaxy was the soundtrack, Awesome Mix Vol 1. Keeping this in mind I was hoping the game would have a kickass soundtrack not unlike the movie, and I was definitely not let down. The first episode featured 3 classics from the 70-80s era of music such as ‘You Make My Dreams’ by Hall and Oates, and ‘Why Can’t I Touch It?’ by the Buzzcocks. Not only that, but the all the achievement names in the first season correlate to 80’s music such as references to Rush, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, and Elton John. All bands that would fit perfectly on one of Star Lord’s Awesome Mix’s for sure.
While starting up the game, I noticed right away that Telltale chose to use the comic book designs for the more emphatic characters such as Gamora, Drax, and Rocket. This made me really happy, as the comic book designs look really cool but aren’t necessarily something that would work for a live action movie, such as the live action designs just wouldn’t work as well for a Telltale game.
Finally, one of, if not THE most important point to make is that for once in a long time I felt like my choices actually mattered in a Telltale game. There is a major choice to be made near the end of the episode and once I made it and things played out, I realized that this choice will definitely have it’s repercussions over the course of the next 4 episodes, something I haven’t felt in a Telltale game for quite a while.
To be fair though, things aren’t perfect. As usual with Telltale games there’s a good amount of frame stutters, freezing, as well as issues while transitioning into a new scene. But as this isn’t my first Telltale rodeo, these things didn’t really bother me too much. I guess one thing I could probably pick at regarding the voice cast is, while he’s not bad at all, the VA who provides the voice of Drax picked a weird tone of voice that I particularly wouldn’t have went for.
It seems Telltale has really knocked this one out of the park (at least so far). The story is immediately interesting and is played out with a great voice cast and beautiful animation. The soundtrack is a reason to play all on its own, and it’s a big reason why I can’t wait for the next episode. I really do hope Telltale continues to keep up the absolutely exceptional work throughout the series and onto whatever series they do next (Tales From The Borderlands Season 2 PLEASE). I urge any Guardians fan, Marvel fan, 70-80s music fan to give this game a shot. You probably won’t be disappointed. I definitely can’t wait for Episode 2, it’s titled “Under Pressure”, with a title like it sounds like it’s only going to get better. Telltale definitely deserves a pat on the back for this.