When I first saw the trailer for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy game, I'll admit I was a bit underwhelmed. I had played the Avengers game, and while fun initially, I quickly lost interest (I honestly feel kind of bad about that as it’s a gorgeous game). I truly felt that Guardians would be no different. Both are published by Square Enix, and while Avengers was geared towards multiplayer, Guardians is a single-player game.
Initially, I was worried about the single-player aspect as I have grown very fond of playing multiplayer games with my friends. I quickly realized that you are never truly alone even though you play by yourself. You can have your companions help out in specific scenarios, but you play as Peter Quill (Star-Lord). Most people refer to this as a companion RPG, which is not what I would typically play. I have to say I was almost not willing to spend the money to play it, but seeing player reviews, I just had to give it a shot, and flarking hell, I am happy I did. The dialogue is a masterpiece. Rocket likes to use the word “flark” when he swears, which is quite a lot, and the others have picked up that habit throughout the game. It is pure Guardians gold. The banter and the bickering between the characters are what you would expect from the Guardians tales. Quill and his typical optimism even in the worst of times, “If we are going to smell like butt, we will smell like butt together!” to Drax and his usual dry but hilarious responses, “I will smell like butt with you, Peter Quill!”
The soundtrack is absolutely amazing, which we should expect from Guardians. There is an 80’s rock band called Star-Lord that was made up for the game. Peter Quill obviously takes his name from that band in this storyline. With other entertaining 80’s songs like Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love,” and Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” you can’t help but have a blast while blasting bad guys in the face!
As usual, in my first playthrough, I am playing the game on easy difficulty (nicknamed “You got this” in the menu) to get the complete feel of the gameplay. I’m happy I did because learning the combat techniques took a little getting used to for me. There are a lot of adjustments you can make in the controls menu to tailor your experience to meet your own needs. Quill has certain moves to get around most opponents, and you find upgrade material throughout the levels to upgrade abilities. He has his super fancy blasters that gain elemental power throughout the game. Rocket always asks to “borrow” his magic blasters (luckily, Quill never obliges). Quill also has jet-powered boots that allow you to literally kick the crap out of enemies. Ability points are gained for Quill and his companions as you level up. Different outfits can be found throughout the game to change the look of each character.
As you engage in combat, your “huddle up” meter fills. This is like a super meter concept in most fighting games where as you take or give damage, the super meter increases. Once that meter is filled, you can “huddle up” with the other Guardians. Depending on what your companions are saying (and it’s different every time), you choose how to inspire them. If you choose incorrectly, it does affect how well they do in combat. You can direct your companions to do specific moves or special abilities to overcome more challenging fights and obstacles. Quill then blasts some fantastic 80’s tunes from his walkman while battling opponents, and it makes it so much fun even if it is challenging at times!
The story is terrific, and each character's backstory seems a little different from the movie. I never read any of the graphic novels, but I wonder which is more faithful to the story of these characters. Does anyone know? Shout at me in the comments!
I love the interaction between the characters. When you get a little stuck on what move to make next, your companions will usually say something helpful that points you in the right direction (if you pay attention). You can make choices throughout the game that lead to different outcomes. I am tempted to do another playthrough to see if anything drastically changes if I make another choice. One option I chose turned into a complete “flark” up, and all hell broke loose (but honestly, isn’t that typical Guardian fashion?). I wonder if things would have been a little smoother had I made a different choice?
At one point, you are arrested by Nova Corps. I giggled for a solid 15 minutes because apparently, Quill had allowed Rocket to fill out paperwork during a previous dust-up. Rocket, of course, let Groot help, so to Nova Corp, they are on the record officially as “Gardeners of the Galaxy” which embarrasses Quill greatly. The bickering between them all while standing there in handcuffs in front of the Nova Corp arresting officers was pure comedy.
Rocket is his usual grumpy and pessimistic self, and Gamora and Drax constantly insult each other. Quill has to quickly get MUCH better at the whole leadership thing to hold the group together, and your choices throughout the game help with this. There are times when Drax asks if he can “toss” Rocket to get through an obstacle, and you can decide to let him or find another way around. There is ALWAYS another way around, so I have yet to throw Rocket. I have seen other gamers who have, and trust me, I don’t think Rocket will soon forget that.
At one moment in the game, I was afraid I messed up a decision because they all bailed on me. But again, in typical Guardians' fashion, they all show up at possibly the worst or best time. You decide. Oh, and they save a weird space llama. I mean, why not?
There are occasional glitches, and while it’s not the smoothest, it is so much fun to play. I have not quite finished, but I am looking forward to picking it back up soon because the story is fascinating.
The mind stone (the yellow infinity stone) plays a role in this version of the tale. I accidentally “finished” the game at one point because I made a wrong decision, but thankfully it lets you change your mind. It takes an average of 15 to 20 hours of gameplay which isn’t too bad for those with limited time. It will probably take me a little longer because I’m stopping to look at EVERYTHING, and it takes me a little longer to get through the fight scenes. I bought this game soon after its release in October 2021. I have been slowly working through it and enjoying every minute of it. I can honestly say that I am glad I tried something a little out of my comfort zone. I am happy the game was nominated for Game Awards in several categories. The fact that it won the award for best narrative should tell you that it’s worth checking out for the story alone.
Has anyone else been curious about this game and wondered if they should try it out?