Guardians of the Galaxy is a name that not many people had heard of until the 2014 movie turned it into a household name. Unfortunately, by the time that the movies were famous, Marvel had stopped making console games that were based on the MCU despite the underlying potential.
It’s hard to blame them for that decision though, since video game movies hardly ever turn out to be anything memorable. So, studios avoided making any major games based on their IPs for a long time aside from the occasional Spider-Man or cross-over games that popped up.
This finally changed with the release of Marvel’s Avengers, which was surprisingly not based on the movies and instead followed an original story. Unfortunately, the game failed to appeal to both fans and critics alike and ended up being a disappointment due to its poorly handled games as a service model.
Due to the disappointment caused by Avengers, gamers were less than enthusiastic to see the reveal of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Appearing to be a co-op multiplayer game, Guardians of the Galaxy was showcased with wonky graphics, an original story, and gameplay that did not appear to be very exciting.
As a result of these factors, Guardians of the Galaxy was mostly ignored by gamers due to low expectations – until it was finally released. As soon as the game hit the store shelves, everyone was surprised to see the positive reception that it received from people who gave the game a chance despite. And those who were skeptical due to their first impressions eventually caved in too.
Being someone who likes to try things out before I judge them based on solely the cover, I played the game myself. So, I know the million-dollar question that you all have – is Guardians of the Galaxy worth your time and the $60 dollar price tag? Here’s what I think.
Hooked on a Feeling
Let’s start off with the good things. Guardians of the Galaxy is a single-player adventure with no hidden microtransactions and does not have a games as a service structure. That eliminates the number one concern everyone had since the game is published by Square Enix, but that’s not all that makes a game good of course.
This is a team of characters that need to have a good story and personality to standout as they have never been about just the action. All five characters have an unspoken bond with each other, yet they have very distinctive personalities that contradict each other’s interests far too often.
Fortunately, this is exactly where Guardians of the Galaxy shines as the game has a compelling storyline that showcases the complicated nature of this team-cum-family beautifully. The narrative is fun to follow, there are a lot of moral choices spread out throughout the story, the banter and humor that you’d expect is there too. The team understands the heart of the Guardians and their reliance on each other as companions is captured perfectly.
Of course, not all of the jokes land, the story is not out of this world, and the choices don’t change too much – but it’s still a refreshingly fun adventure that does not disappoint. Especially since every Guardian feels like they have a reason to be there despite the general focus on Star-Lord, with Rocket Raccoon in particular having a great moment in one part of the story.
Although the game shines in the story department, the gameplay is a bit on the average side. Guardians of the Galaxy looks like a game that would either feature co-op multiplayer or at least the ability to choose any of the five characters – but that is surprisingly not the case.
The game only allows you to play as Star-Lord and the story is a bit personal for him too, with the others being an important part of the team but not what the game is generally about. Gamora, Drax, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon do accompany Star-Lord in every single fight and deal damage to the enemies, but they are unplayable controlled by AI instead of the player.
The gameplay itself is nothing to write home about as most of it is simply shooting enemies up or using takedown animations. You can command your AI companions to do certain attacks and the aforementioned takedowns often include getting help from them too. They’re not overpowered, so at best they will just incapacitate enemies for Star-Lord to beat.
The start of the gameplay is very simple and it takes quite some time to kill enemies, but you unlock abilities later on for both yourself and your AI companions. This adds much-needed variety into the game’s combat, but it’s unfortunately not enough to keep it from feeling repetitive at times.
If you don’t enjoy it at first, you might not like it later on either. But if you can tolerate it long enough to unlock some cool attacks and fight fun bosses, then you should stick around for longer. Another mechanic directly throws in the dialogue and humor of the game into the combat, which is the ‘pep-talk’ mechanic.
In the middle of fights, Star-Lord can gather his team and the player can choose what they say to them, if the pep-talk is successful, everyone gets a buff and a licensed song plays during the duration of the said buff.
Aside from the combat, the gameplay is simply about exploring areas with your fellow guardians and making a dialogue choice here and there. The choices can cause minor changes like a character you saved coming back to help you, or unlocking extra cutscenes in a scene. It’s nothing game-changing, but it’s a nice way to keep things fresh for a potential replay.
A bit on the janky side
Something that was evident from the first reveal of the game is that it’s a bit clunky. The gameplay is not as smooth as it could have been, the character models take some time to getting used to, especially Drax, and the performance looked like it can be a bit better.
Unfortunately, none of these things have been improved in the final product and the game still feels oddly rushed in a way. Which is strange given the fact that the environment and over half of the game’s character models look excellent, but the Guardians, which are the center of everything, could’ve been better.
And despite being a linear single-player game, it’s still filled with many technical issues, especially on the PC platform. Some of them are simple things like exiting the map or being stuck in a spot, while others can be game-breaking which includes crashes and being forced to reset a checkpoint as progressing further is impossible otherwise.
It’s not a difficult game to play and the issues are being patched out by the developers one update at a time, but for a $60 single-player game that is supposed to redeem Square Enix right after the Avengers disaster, it’s unaccepted at this point.
7/10 – Come and Get Your Love
Guardians of the Galaxy is an enjoyable single-player game that is not without its flaws, but is nonetheless a major improvement from Square Enix’s previous attempt at cashing in on the MCU hype. It’s colorful, funny, heartfelt, and features gameplay that is enjoyable enough if your standards aren’t too high.
If you’re easily frustrated by technical issues, then you might want to wait until most of the issues are patched out. But if you’re a fan of the Guardians or someone who doesn’t mind resetting checkpoints sometimes – you shouldn’t miss out on this story-rich adventure.