The Marvel license has been a tricky one to get right for developers. While Insomniac’s Spider-Man managed to soar with flying colours, then they did it again with the release of Spider-Man: Miles Morales. However, the following Marvel’s title from Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix, Marvel’s Avengers was… less than successful to say the least. In a year packed with exclusive after exclusive, huge release after huge release, there was understandably a relatively large amount of apprehension and tension around the announcement and road to the release of Marvel’s Guardians of The Galaxy, developed by Eidos-Montréal. But after playing the game for several hours, it’s admittedly rather excellent.
Game Name: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
Platform(s): PS5 (reviewed), PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch, GeForce Now, PC
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Release Date: 26th October 2021
Price: £59.99 /
I’ve got to say; I was shocked by Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. I was personally expecting Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy to be serviceable but mediocre, sort of like several other Marvel games that we won’t mention. Yet along the way, I found myself constantly surprised to a pleasant degree.
Gameplay-wise, it’s incredibly satisfying. While you’re stuck playing as Star-Lord, you get to command the entire Guardians of the Galaxy team to do various things in combat. Each member has something specific to bring to the team and can be the difference between kicking some major butt or barely making it out of a scrimmage. For example, Drax is more brute force and physical with vicious melee attacks, Rocket Racoon uses guns and explosives to his advantage, Gamora uses a sword and slices and dices her way around the battlefield, and Groot is used as crowd control, slowing down enemies and making them easier to kill. As Star-Lord, you have access to basic melee, guns, some secret stuff I don’t want to spoil, and a team attack known as a ‘Huddle’ in which you give your entire team a pep talk for a power-buff. It controls exceptionally well, too, constantly feeling responsive no matter the situation, with accessibility options being almost overwhelmingly vast.
A progression system in place allows you to upgrade each of your teammates, mostly upgrading your team skills and buffs. However, you also get the ability to give Peter Quill new attacks and skills that’ll make the combat even more satisfying. You can also unlock outfits for your team, which are credited to the first time they appeared in the comics, with the writer and artist also credited. In adaptations of comic book media, it’s quite rare to see such love and time put on an original creator, so it’s quite a lovely thing to see here. Guardians Of The Galaxy itself looks really nice too. The designs of the aliens especially are really well done to the degree that you don’t get bored of seeing them. It was a high risk that you’d get bored of seeing the same models over and over again, but the aliens are varied enough for this to not be a concern.
In terms of story, Guardians Of The Galaxy revolves around (Who would have guessed?) the Guardians Of The Galaxy traveling around the universe, getting into various scrapes and trouble, and trying to get out of it. Along the way, they discover themselves, each other, and people they never really knew. To say much more would be spoiling it, but to say that Guardians Of The Galaxy is an emotionally fuelled narrative would be enough. The emotional factor of Guardians Of The Galaxy has always been essential. When James Gunn took over the characters in the MCU adaptations, it became even more critical, so this isn’t a shock nor a letdown at all. You’ll find yourself invested in Guardians Of The Galaxy from the second it begins, and indeed, I was absorbed straight away. I’ll be honest here, the storyline is some of the better storytelling I’ve seen in a game, and there are many interconnected pieces here that all work together to make a coherent whole. Because of that, I’m going to pass on letting you in on any story or any new characters that haven’t been featured in the extensive marketing. I know you want to hear about it, but it’s better this way. Just trust me when I say that if you’re a fan of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, either the comic books or the MCU adaptations, you’re going to love it. You’ll anticipate some of the story beats, but there’s several things even the most hardcore of fans won’t see coming.
You can’t talk about Guardians Of The Galaxy without discussing the soundtrack. The soundtrack of any game is an essential element to building a cohesive world and setting up emotional factors, but here it’s even more important than that. The music factors mildly into the gameplay since whenever you carry out a successful ‘Huddle’ with your team, a song will play from the soundtrack, which could be anything from Tears For Fears to A-Ha. A bit of a warning here; if you plan on streaming the game, you may want to switch on the in-game streamer mode, which replaces all music with original compositions.
You can listen to the entire copyrighted soundtrack here. Again, you don’t want to be streaming or making videos with this music in place.
Unfortunately, there are a few concerns with the game that I have to mention. Since the game was reviewed on the PlayStation 5, the DualSense haptic feedback was relatively weak due to many missing effects that have not made their way into the game. According to the developer, these will be added with the day one patch and weren’t included in our review build. This goes double for the Ray Tracing effects, which will be added post-release (we still don’t have a release date for that yet). I can’t go deep into what was actually missing in our build, but I can assure you that there’s plans to have those features added either on the day of release or very close to the release of the game. Despite those concerns, I still enjoyed the game very much, but I am looking forward to seeing what the day one patch brings.
Guardians Of The Galaxy is a great game. It’s a great game, in fact, much better than anybody was expecting. The enjoyable gameplay is backed up with an emotional story, a mind-blowing soundtrack, and characters that you’ll want to be around. Pick up this game as soon as you can, pre-order it if you can. It’s worth the money. In the meantime, I’ll be rocking out to Motley Crue with Peter Quill, Gamora, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, and Drax The Destroyer in one of the best single-player-only adventures of the year.
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Just amazing. Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy is a triumph in both the gameplay department and the story department. There are a few flaws here and there, mainly bug issues likely to be fixed in the day one patch, but they’re not enough to dampen the experience in the slightest. A must-play, a wonderful game.