Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Review – A Fun-Filled Trip Through the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy is the second Square Enix game that’s based on a Marvel IP. While Avengers was developed by Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal (the studio responsible for the Deus Ex series) is behind the development of this game. Unlike Avengers, however, Guardians of the Galaxy is purely a single-player action-adventure game that manages to avoid many of the pitfalls surrounding the former.
While the game shares several commonalities with the MCU movies, this is ultimately Eidos Montreal’s take on the story and characters. The leader, Star-Lord, is back with his trusted pack of mercenaries, namely Gamora, Drax, Rocket Racoon, and everyone’s favorite Groot. The game is set several years after a massive interstellar war that left the entire galaxy in ruin. The Guardians’ search for a big bounty leads them to a forbidden region of the galaxy, but they end up biting off more than they can chew and find themselves caught up in a quest that decides the fate of the galaxy.
Your journey takes you across multiple planets in a linear, story-driven fashion. However, the story itself does deviate based on your dialogue choices in key conversations. The impact of most of these choices isn’t particularly significant, though they do provide some agency to an otherwise linear affair. A conversation that goes in your favor, for example, may give you the leverage to avoid a forthcoming battle. The writing team has done a great job in fleshing out each of the already familiar main characters to deliver a more personal and focused story. Couple that with instances of nicely delivered humor, which the series is already known for, and it becomes hard not to feel a sense of commitment towards these characters and their journey.
In terms of gameplay, Guardians of the Galaxy is mainly a third-person shooter. You assume control of Star-Lord throughout the adventure, although it is possible to call upon the others to aid you in battle. Each of your fellow Guardians possesses unique skills that are useful in different situations. Gamora can deal heavy damage to single targets, Drax can stagger enemies, Rocket can perform AoE attacks, and Groot can temporarily disable an incoming threat and heal his comrades. These skills have a cooldown period, however, and using them effectively is the key to success against tougher enemies.
As Star-Lord, your primary weapons are your twin blasters. While you won’t have to worry about running out of ammo, you’ll need to take overheating into account when shooting away at enemies. To add some variety to your arsenal, you’ll also acquire ammunition with elemental properties. The most enjoyable aspect of the combat comes via Star-Lord’s jet-boots, which allow him to glide around and perform a quick dodge, giving you lots of options in terms of mobility.
Battles are fast and fluid once you get a grasp of all the options at your disposal. The key is to strategize and take advantage of your fellow Guardians’ skills effectively during moment-to-moment combat encounters to gain the upper hand. To the game’s credit, it’s not all shooting and dodging, and this tactical layer encourages the Guardians to work cohesively, much like in the MCU movies.
One of Star-Lord’s skills allows him to rally up his comrades in dire situations and motivate them via a mechanic that has you make the right choice of words. Successfully doing so triggers a comeback for the Guardians, as they’re fully revitalized and granted a temporary damage boost. A licensed track from the game’s soundtrack kicks in, further reinforcing the idea. It’s a neat mechanic that does a great job of emulating the Guardians’ moments of triumphs in the MCU movies. The more stylish skills you succeed in pulling off in combat, the more experience points you earn, which can then be used to unlock new skills for each of the Guardians.
Despite some decent skill progression, the combat eventually begins to feel repetitive. Enemy encounters largely remain the same, and you often have to take on multiple waves in an area before arriving at your destination. Some more variety in enemy types and combat situations would’ve helped greatly in this regard. Boss fights aren’t particularly exciting or imaginative either. There is some exploration and puzzle-solving thrown in to give a breather from the combat, but these elements also tend to get repetitive. On the plus side, there are some fun Star Fox-like space missions when traveling across planets aboard the Milano.
There’s little here to complain about in the audiovisual department. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a great-looking game, both in terms of art and tech, and the lighting stands out in particular. There are two modes available on PS5 i.e. Quality and Performance. The latter operates at a lower resolution with some settings pared-back and targets 60fps, and is the preferred way to experience the action-packed gameplay. The licensed tracks featured in the soundtrack complement the game’s stylish presentation, and the original tracks from a fictional band called Star-Lord are similarly catchy.
After the disappointment that was Marvel’s Avengers, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the positive surprises of the year. The characters are likable and, as a result, it’s easy to get invested in their latest adventure. Meanwhile, the combat is fun, fluid, and encourages you to strategize and take advantage of the skill set of all Guardians. It’s nothing groundbreaking and does tend to feel repetitive at times, but it’s an enjoyable single-player experience overall that’ll be hard for MCU fans to turn down.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Game Information
- Price: $59.99
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Developer: Eidos Montreal
- Platform: PS5 (Reviewed)
- Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher