Being no stranger to taking established game and film/television franchises and putting a tasteful spin on them, Telltale grabs Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and runs with it. The series plays off of the wacky chemistry that make the star-crossed heroes as pleasurable to play as they are to watch or read in the other mediums we’ve seen them in. The Guardians make a great match for the type of story telling that the developer and publisher has built a niche for.
Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy puts a large emphasis on Peter Quill’s (Starlord, if you please) rapport with the rest of his crew. The series is about how the team interacts with each other, and that is very heavily influenced by events in each of their past. Through the Eternity Forge, a mystical Kree artifact capable of bring people back from the dead (as well as many other things), Peter relives emotionally-charged memories buried in the past of the other Guardians. The add a lot of insight to the personality and struggles of each individual character. They also, in a relationship managing perspective, help you understand the right way to interact with your team. Rocket Racoon, for instance, is more open to point-blank dialog and prefers that interactions get straight to the point, which is something that you better understand after taking part in Rocket’s memory from an earlier episode.
These memories are also relevant to the outcome of one of the main overall conflicts: what to do with the Eternity Forge. Each one of the Guardians have suffered the death of people important to them, and would greatly benefit from the ability to bring people back to life. Yet, some of the crew recognize the danger of that potential if it were to fall into the wrong hands. So either Peter will have to destroy it, or use it. Whatever decision you make will cause conflict amongst your crew. It becomes not only a decision based on what you believe is right or wrong, but also where your loyalty lies amidst your crew.
One thing Telltale has done phenomenally well is keep the episodes light-hearted and full of charm. This is especially true for the third episode. More Than A Feeling has a lot of really memorable moments of character interactions and whimsy, which is remarkable considering it took me around two hours to complete. I enjoyed a moment early on when you can instigate a slap-fight between Peter and Grimora. This felt so natural given Peter’s predisposition to goofing off and Grimora’s distaste for being bested. It also helped the pacing of the section of the story since it had just been in a much darker place. Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy uses this humor to balance how weighted the story actually is so that the game feel more like a comedy as opposed to a drama. Reliving the worst memories of your crew while also struggling with Peter’s more bottled emotions paired with an ancient device that can fix all of those problems at an atrocious cost is some pretty heavy stuff. The humor is done in a fashion that keeps the focus on the characters and what makes them interesting instead of the scars of their past.
In terms of where More Than A Feeling struggles, it makes no progress in fixing common issues seen with Telltale games. If you’ve played any recent Telltale games, you’ll likely know exactly what I’m talking about. There are still problems with graphics not loading in certain areas. Textures not coming in clearly is a common issues that I ran into, and they always seem to occur when the most important things are happening. This is the time where you want your players to get completely wrapped up in the game, and when visual errors are front and center it’s a cold snap back to reality. I would love to see this issues fixed before both Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy and season two of Batman The Telltale Series concludes. You will also see plenty of instances of input problems ranging from delayed response to zero response. These are all issues that have been around for a while (I wrote about them as well in my Walking Dead: A New Frontier review) and I do not think that we will see any changes until Telltale Games updates their current engine, since it’s a very old one (a semi-tweaked engine from around the time that they released Sam & Max Save The World (2007), to my understanding).
Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a fantastic game if you don’t mind bugs which probably don’t bother too much if you are still playing Telltale games (like me). The story is interesting and cohesive but leaves the focus on the interaction of the characters, which are remarkably charming. This is easily one of my favorite Telltale series.