I didn’t expect to enjoy SquareEnix’s Guardians of the Galaxy game as much as I did.
Hell, I didn’t just enjoy it, I loved it – and that surprised me for a game that, quite frankly, I hadn’t really paid that much attention to until it was released and I saw other people playing it: Then I became interested.
You play as Peter Quill, or Star Lord as he likes to be called, the leader of the self-proclaimed Guardians of the Galaxy. Based on the Guardians of the Galaxy comic book series and not the Marvel Universe movies,l I have to admit it took a few moments for me to get used to the characters not looking like their movie counterparts – and you know what? I actually think I now actually prefer the game’s versions of Star Lord and Gamora!
The video game opens – which is single player only: There’s no multiplayer – with the Guardians visiting the Quarantine Zone and Quill and Rocket inadvertently freeing an evil entity that kicks off a chain of events which leads to it wanting to consume the galaxy, working through a religious cult known as the the Universal Church of Truth and its leader Grand Unifier Raker. It’s up to the Guardians to, well, save the galaxy.
Visually, the game looks excllent [I played it on Xbox Series X], with planets bursting with colour and detailed locations like the Quarantine Zone, Knowhere, Seknarf 9. The soundtrack deserves special mention, too, and is frankly kick-arse with some truly outstanding 80s hits, including Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up, Turn Me Loose by Loverboy, Don’t Fear The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult, Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and, personal favourite, I Ran by Flock of Seagulls. It’s Peter Quill’s ultimate mixtape!
Guardians of the Galaxy (the game) also has great writing and a narrative that is both engaging and humourous, with some truly laugh-out loud moments, much of that thanks to the outstanding voice work that really brings life to the characters. [It also has some of the cutest video game labrador puppies I have ever seen.]
As you’d expect with a game featuring heroes, there’s plenty of combat, with Star Lord and fellow Guardians Gamora, Rocket, Groot and Drax the Destroyer (and Kimmy the Llama) each possessing special abilities and talents. During combat, Quill can order his team mates to perform specific moves or abilities mid-combat, which can often prove incredibly helpful in turning the tide in frantic battles, especially against larger foes [all the abilities have a cooldown timers, so keep that in mind].
Your team mates can also help during navigation of the game world: Groot, for example, can use his branches to create a path across chasms; Drax can lift heavy objects and smash through walls; Gamora can slice through obstacles and boost Quill to hard-to-reach places; and Rocket can hack control panels and crawl into confined spaces.
An interesting mechanic during battles is the team huddle, where Quill can potentially grant each team member temporary invincibility if he is successful in delivering a rousing speech to spur the team on. At key points during the game, decision that Quill makes, can impact on the narrative further down the line and determine how the team will feel about him at certain points.
I really enjoyed played Guardians of the Galaxy and if I had any gripes it would be that the combat becomes a chore near the end of the game, especially during the lead up to the finale.
The lead-up to the game’s final boss fight was drawn out a little too long for my liking, with a constant stream of enemies to fight and one boss who was a veritable bullet sponge.
I also wasn’t a fan of the space combat sections: I found controlling the Milano incredibly frustrating but thankfully those segments are short and far and few between.
Guardians of the Galaxy came out of – excuse the pun – Knowhere for me and I’m truly glad I played it: It has a narrative that has some truly heart-felt moments, despite getting repetitive near the end. Definitely one of the best games I’ve played all year.
All I need now is for the team behind the game – Eidos Montreal – to get started on the Deus Ex game featuring Adam Jensen that we’re all waiting for.
C’mon, you know you want to.
Thanks to BandaiNamco’s New Zealand/Australia PR team for the game code [Xbox Series X, finished the main campaign, collected lots of stuff, contemplating New Game +].