Marvel’s interstellar misfits are the first of the publisher’s characters to appear on a major console game release in the new era of gaming for them (followed soon by Square Enix and Insomniac’s respective titles). Telltale Games, the developer who’s added lore to The Walking Dead, created their own version of Batman’s mythology, now look to put their flair for dynamic choice driven story to GOTG in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series
Episode 1 of 5: Tangled Up In Blue
Developer: Telltale Games
Platform: PlayStation 4 (Also available: Xbox One, STEAM PC, iOS, Android)
This version of Guardians doesn’t seem to be directly ripped from film or comics. While characters like Drax, Yondu, and Rocket lean more towards the James Gunn film, the rest of the cast including Thanos take more influence from modern Marvel comics. Think of the game as a hybrid of the two worlds and you won’t stress out too much. You may even be better for it.
Episode 1: “Tangled Up in Blue”, first of all is a strange title until the very end of the game. One, you never hear the song, two, the only comparable hue is the pruney purple of Thanos chin. The already formed and functional Guardians of the Galaxy are called upon by the space NARC Nova Corps to aid in stopping the mad titan Thanos from stealing the powerful Eternity relic. The game feels like it almost ends in the first 30 minutes after the battle with the team’s arch nemesis. In traditional Telltale fashion, the end is merely the beginning of a larger mystery involving the Kree, Peter Quill, and the artifact Thanos attempted to steal. Where the Walking Dead games relied on suspense horror, Batman excellent mystery, Guardians is a story loaded with twists and turns adventure revolving around spot on renditions of these characters.
Quip laced humor, along with a fantastic music selection (It’s got the freakin BUZZCOCKS in it!) set the atmosphere anyone introduced to Guardians through the film will instantly recognize. Peter Quill’s journey feels moving and authentic to the story. It’s clear that while all the GOTG will get moments, Star-Lord is the focus of this tale. The subplot evoking emotions about his lost mother and its turn are written damn near perfectly.
Where GOTG: The Telltale Series opening stumbles is in its pacing. It’s very much a roller coaster that shoots you out at 100mph but when the ride comes to a stop you’re forced to sit in the car for 10minutes before the harness lifts. As far as engagement, the game simply peaks much too early and the remainder feels as though it’s simply telling you to sit there and be quiet. It doesn’t set up its long game until the final five minutes of Peter and Youndu. Though, you will find good does outweigh the bad especially being very early in the series.
The game’s cast does a solid job of voicing the Guardians of the Galaxy, though the script they’re working with needs to ramp up in upcoming episodes to serve the level of talent gathered for the game. A cast which includes 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,
I applaud Telltale Games on this time around is technical competence. Some of which could probably be attributed to the outsourcing done with other developers such as Virtuous. It’s certainly the most I can recall telltale has ever contracted, but I could be mistaken. This is the first time, I’ve played a Telltale Game at launch where it hasn’t crashed or had the invisible man take you out of the moment. GOTG is also a departure from the cell shaded art style that marked Walking Dead and to a lesser extent their Batman series. You still have the same detective and exploration mechanics in previous games by the developer, but it feels a bit more was layered into utilizing Star-Lord’s arsenal. Shooting at characters with the element guns is brief but as close to interactive action as the studio has ever come and the rocket boots giving players a new axis to explore is a welcome touch.
Bottom line, Telltale’s Guardians game is another example of how devoted the studio is to doing the right stories for the right characters. With any new property, there is bound to be growing pains. Some could definitely be seen in episode one in addition to the feeling Telltale have played it safe in comparison to the jolting shake up they showed fans with their Batman series. There’s also the lingering question of how much of the Telltale formula can fans continue to enjoy before the law of diminishing returns takes hold? Telltale had raised the bar in adapted storytelling since its first Walking Dead game, but it needs to come up with what’s next in narrative driven games.
7.5/10 – Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series episode one is a solid start to the studio taking on a hot property but it does show a bit of wear in the Telltale formula.