Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy Review: Episode 1 - Tangled Up in Blue
When Marvel chose to adapt one of its more obscure comics, Guardians of the Galaxy, to the big screen back in 2014, no one really knew what to expect. While Marvel’s cinematic universe of heroes has had no trouble pulling in big numbers at the box office, Guardians of the Galaxy was a different entity comprised of heroes that were all relative unknowns.
Except to dedicated Marvel fans, of course.
Due to a lack of familiarity, Guardians of the Galaxy was seen as a bit of a gamble amid a sea of established giants, such as the Hulk (pun intended). Despite the odds stacked against it, though, Guardians of the Galaxy was an instant success, becoming the third highest grossing Marvel film behind The Avengers and Iron Man 3.
So, with all the hype behind the series (and the film’s sequel releasing on May 5th), it makes sense that Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy adaptation would pique the curiosity of both gamers and comic book fans alike. And in keeping with the tradition of the first film, many gamers weren't sure what to expect from Telltale this time around.
Even with an impressive roster of games under their belt, I personally dove into Episode 1 of Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy with a bit of reservation. Despite this, I found myself pleasantly surprised at the game's strong opening, as it offers up a nice chunk of action while also taking the time to introduce the game’s story and main characters.
I also adored the voice acting for each character. Especially the raw talent served up by Nolan North (Uncharted, Rick and Morty, Call of Duty) who voices Rocket Raccoon in the game.
Similar to other Telltale games, Guardians of the Galaxy plays out like a story that can be watched and enjoyed with minimal disruption. Unfortunately, the game falters slightly when it comes time for you to make key decisions (as with any traditional Telltale game). Some of these segments alter the flow and take you out of the charming banter and situational humor. Nevertheless, this really is my only critique.
Everything else is polished off nicely with responsive quick-time events, engaging puzzles, the ability to assume the role of each character and experience their unique abilities, and the pressure of trying to keep things together. After all, what Telltale game would be complete without difficult choices? The game manages to imbue some of the film’s maturity and depth with said choices, even when it’s cycling through quirk and standard character interaction.
There’s also something poignant about Scott Porter’s rendition of Peter Quill/Star-Lord. His emotion is conveyed with perfect timing and with accurate tonality, thus serving to better connect you to the character. Porter’s Star-Lord is different than Chris Pratt’s, and that’s alright. In fact, all of the characters in Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series feel unique even when they present various parallels to the popular film.
I think the key thing to remember is that this is Telltale’s original take on Guardians of the Galaxy. As such, fans of previous Telltale Games will find a lot to love here. Especially the writing, which feels on par—if not better than—Telltale’s The Walking Dead. I feel like they’re getting better and better at using games to tell a story, even if that story has been well-established elsewhere.
However, Telltale hasn't perfected this formula with Guardians of the Galaxy just yet. There are still moments that poke and prod out of nowhere. There are still jokes that fall flat, awkward puzzles, and gameplay specifics that get a bit lost in translation. With that acknowledged, if you appreciate Telltale’s efforts, or if you’re particularly fond Guardians of the Galaxy's enigmatic squad (Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Gamora, and Drax), you’ll enjoy Episode 1.
It’s a commendable start that delivers exactly what it promised. I’m looking forward to seeing how Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series shapes up over the next four episodes.
Hopefully it can progressively ramp up the story towards a satisfying climax, while also shifting the way in which you participate in order to keep you fully engaged.
- Well-written story
- Balanced characters
- Engaging dialogue
- Humor and quirk
- Mechanics and gameplay disrupt player immersion at times