Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Review: A blasting experience of galactic proportions

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Review: A blasting experience of galactic proportions

You know they say video games about superheroes (especially established ones from Marvel or DC Comics) usually don’t do so well. And there are plenty of past examples validating that claim. Not this Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (GOTG) game though.

To be frank, before playing GOTG, I was expecting it to crash big time. But once I started playing, I cannot stop until I need to crash and get some sleep.

SPECS
PRICE: From S$84.90 (PC, version reviewed; PS4; PS5; Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S), available in Lazada and Shopee
GENRE: Action adventure

In this GOTG, you play as Peter Quill, the self-proclaimed Star-Lord and leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy inter-galactic mercenary team. Joining you in the spaceship Milano are, of course, Racoon, Drax, Gamora and Groot. But don’t expect the faces or voices of Chris Pratt or Bautista from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

The Guardians of the Galaxy, as they call themselves. (Photo: Square Enix)

The story and the characters are different from the MCU. While it is a new interpretation from the developer Eidos Montreal, the game retains the core tenets, goofy spirit and dry humour of the franchise.

This game is mostly played via a third-person perspective with some scenes in first-person view. You can change the outfit of Star-Lord and watch him in action with his dual element guns.

I will spare you the story spoilers but you will get to talk to each Guardian when you are on board the iconic spaceship Milano. In fact, even during missions, there are plenty of banter among the Guardians.

The Milano spaceship (R) is your home in this game. (Photo: Square Enix)

Drax takes everything too literally and does not trust Gamora, while Rocket has always something to say about everything but is the only one who understand Groot’s limited 3-syllabus linguistic skills. The banter is as natural as it gets, thanks to some excellent voicing from the actors. I really wonder if they have been in the same room to record the lines.

The banter is not only hilarious at times, but helps to keep you up to date with how each Guardian is feeling. Being in a team means differing viewpoints and some of them might not agree or like how you are carrying out the mission.

Yet, you need to keep the harmony within the team. For instance, Drax sometimes want to throw Rocket to a spot for him to hack a terminal. But Rocket doesn’t like to be thrown around. If you stop Drax, Rocket will be happy and might react more positively to you next time you ask him to do something.

FOR
+ Superb graphics and audio effects
+ Fantastic 80s soundtrack
+ Excellent voicing
+ Holds true to the ethos of the original
+ Involves some strategy during combat
+ Choices will affect outcome

AGAINST
– No co-operation mode
– Not an open world
– Still a relatively linear storyline

Furthermore, teamwork is important, as each Guardian has his or her own specialty. For instance, Groot can grow its branches to make a bridge, Drax can move some heavy stones to become columns for you to jump, Gamora can cut through anything with her blade while Rocket can hack any systems.

Wait, is there a Llama? (Photo: Square Enix)

Knowing the strengths of each Guardian will help you immensely, as there are some physical puzzles to solve along the way. Your Element Guns, which are able to conjure each of the four elements, will come in handy at times too.

While the storyline is pretty linear for the most parts, there are instances in which you need to make choices. These choices will dictate how the storyline changes and might let you avoid battles.

Speaking of battles, you, as Star-Lord, are the focal point of the combat. Not only will you be jetting around using your Element Guns to finish off enemies, you will also have to direct your fellow Guardians to launch attacks at which enemy.

Some shining armour in a deserted base. What can go wrong? (Photo: Square Enix)

Again, each Guardian’s special move can work together to successfully neutralise enemies, especially a level boss. For instance, you can get Groot to do a Mammoth Grab to paralyse the enemy, before directing Rocket to launch a Five Barrel Barrage attack. And you really want to do that, as each Guardian’s attacks seem to be significantly nerfed when they are attacking on their own.

There is also a Huddle Meter that will fill up when you done enough damage. This is when you can call your fellow Guardians for a huddle, whereby the four will look at you and listen to your rallying cry.

Combat needs some thinking in this game. (Photo: Square Enix)

Depending on how you manage to get them fired up, the whole team might be getting a power-up or you might just fall flat on your face and goes back to the battle again without gaining any extra advantage.

If fired up, you will be listening to some hot 80s music, from Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” to Motley Crue’s “Kickstart My Heart” in the background, while beating up the enemies. The entire battle scene just looks and sounds hilarious when this happens.

Playing the Star-Lord is really quite fun. (Photo: Square Enix)

Playing this game on my PC gaming rig with a newly-acquired Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics card has been literally eye-opening. With Nvidia DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) and ray-tracing turned on, the lighting effects with opaque reflections of this game are just phenomenal.

At times, you really do want to just stop and admire the stunning landscapes that this game has to offer. And you have to admire it, as you will not get back to the same place after you cleared an area. This is not exactly an open world game.

Perhaps, the major downer is the lack of an co-operation mode. It would have great if someone can take up the role of one of other four Guardians and join in the fight. But it does not bother me, as I am a big fan of single-player games.

VERDICT
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a faithful interpretation of the comics to the video game realm. Thanks to the writing and actors voicing the characters, the game keeps and celebrates the goofy spirit and dry humour of the franchise. Furthermore, its strategised combat, superb graphics and rocking soundtrack makes this game a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

RATING
8.5/10