This is Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, but in slightly different ways than you might expect…
There’s a rich story, an incredible soundtrack, laughs aplenty, snappy dialogue, and fast, frenetic combat. You can really see the heavy dose of the MCU character personalities here, but as you learn over the lengthy story, their origins and experiences are different, making them stand out in unique ways. Finding out what makes the characters tick isn’t really critical to the flow of the game, but it does make for many head tilting “Oh, really?” moments. Guardians of the Galaxy rewards intrepid detectives by providing a fascinating multiverse to dive into.
This is an action-adventure game with a strong focus on the story, and while it’s not the leading player, combat is still fun and fluid. You’ll take control and fight as Star-Lord, but will get to call on your Guardians to perform power moves to suit the situation. The other Guardians will always be fighting by your side, and will give you a prompt if you haven’t used their special abilities. You’re given access to some pretty funky laser pistols and Star-Lord’s rocket boots, which combine as you blast your way through levels. You can collect items during missions to upgrade components of your guns and armour, which means you’ll fight harder and last longer against the tougher opponents.
Huddle up time is a special superpower that you can use when you’ve been fighting long enough. It plays out like a halftime pep talk where Star-Lord psychs up the team to fight harder and faster, to a randomly selected fight tune (Tainted Love and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go are strong favourites). It can really change the mood, especially during some of the pivotal story battles, which are often quite serious. It’s one thing that Guardians of the Galaxy struggles with, finding the right amount of humour to balance out the heaviness of the core story.
Puzzles in-between the combat sequences are fun, but never overly taxing. They often combine two or more elements of your party’s special abilities to allow you to reach otherwise inaccessible areas. We’re talking Tomb Raider lite at best. Most of the time these feel like more of a staging area to give you a momentary break from the action, but allowing you to be doing something while listening to the dialogue. Even better, if you get stuck on a problem, your crew are more than happy to offer you some pretty direct suggestions, without completely calling you a flarken moron (their words, not ours).
Conversation options are plentiful, and really make you feel like you’ve earned some personal choices in the overall direction of the game. Some of the conversation options don’t immediately pay off, however when they do it makes for a nice call back. They can make situations infinitely more difficult or easy depending on your choices, and it’s incredibly satisfying when it works in your favour. Some of the conversations will recycle themselves during the longer battle sequences, and while they’re funny the first couple times you hear them, the quips lose some of their impact the fourth or fifth time they play out.
Despite the free choice in conversations, Guardians of the Galaxy is still incredibly linear in its story. You might avoid an extra battle or two, but overall you’ll be following the pre-set path. This follows a bit of a “playing the movie” game style where, more often than not, you’ll feel like a passenger on a glorious rollercoaster ride. There are large portions of the game where you can put the controller down and just enjoy the dialogue, although in those moments it really doesn’t feel like a game at all.
“On quality of music alone, Guardians of the Galaxy stands head and shoulders above other action-adventure games.”
Holy moly, have we mentioned that the soundtrack in this game is amazing? Well yeah, briefly, but we’re mentioning it again. From Rick Astley to Bonnie Tyler, Blue Oyster Cult and Wham!, this really is an excellent playlist that just gets better every time you hear it. Especially in the fight sequences when you’ve activated the “Huddle up” sequence and Star Lord’s tunes start cranking. On quality of music alone, Guardians of the Galaxy stands head and shoulders above other action-adventure games.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a game that’s going to be high on the list for fans of the MCU. Its deep, rich lore and interesting stories combine well with colourful characters and fun combat play to provide a movie-like experience that’s truly fun to play. The campaign is lengthy enough to make you feel like you’ve really earned something at the completion, and provides just enough dialogue choices to make each play through feel unique. If you have even a passing interest in Guardians of the Galaxy or the MCU in general, then you’re going to love this experience.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is available now on PS5, Xbox and PS4.