Video game ‘Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy’ from Square Enix wisely chucks out the service bloat from ‘Marvel’s Avengers’, to bring you one of the funniest and enjoyable games of 2021
After the disappointing service elements that bloated a great Marvel’s Avengers, Eidos-Montréal has crafted a wholesome and riotous experience with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
What happens when a bunch of highly skilled misfits with roguish tendencies band together to be the most unconventional heroes-for-hire? Hijinks ensue, of course.
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The game sets itself apart from the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s GOTG films, instead taking a spiritual adaptation of James Gunn’s rendition of the crew and transposing them square in the comics, to create a hybrid of its own. The result is a masterpiece that spans roughly 20 hours of non-stop entertainment. We get to watch lifelong bonds form as the newly formed Guardians overcome their differences and work as a team, with you, playing as Star-Lord, their leader.
Peter Quill AKA Star-Lord and his rag-tag team of former convicts — Rocket Racoon, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer and Groot — decide to make a name for themselves by finding a legendary monster for notorious monster collector Lady Hellbender. Inevitably, this leads to a series of ripple-effect mishaps across the galaxy; so the Guardians must right their wrongs.
Each character has their own personalities and quips, and all of them stand larger than their MCU forms, largely thanks to savvy writing with equal measures of emotiveness and humour complemented by a great voice-acting cast: Jon McLaren (DC’s Titans) as Peter Quill, Alex Weiner (Far Cry 5, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate) as Rocket Raccoon, Kimberly-Sue Murray (Shadowhunters, V-Wars) as Gamora, famed stuntman Jason Cavalier (Quantico) as Drax the Destroyer, and Robert Montcalm (Outriders) as Groot. The continual banter — that cleverly replaces certain colloquial swear words with ‘flark’, ‘scut’ and so on — that expectedly gets chaotic lends a lot to the feel-good game. You are in for a treat.
While the game is mostly going pew-pewat things, the team dynamics is the core of the experience. There are so many situations thrown at you at all times, so you, as a leader, have to make landmark decisions; whether it is chastising them, motivating them, choosing which member should be bait in a dangerous plan, or even just refocussing the team when the banter gets out of hand, there’s no galactic MBA to help you here. All of these choices have implications later in the story, making for great replay value, as you explore your other big decisions in a new game plus.
While the teamwork element is fun conversationally, it extends a lot to the action where you can leverage your team’s various abilities (which you acquire as the game progresses) and issue orders to effectively take down enemies, encouraging you to think strategically. You must be quick about it, though, during battle sequences and decide when to use whose powers, and when to bring the team together for a huddle (which if done right, wins you a damage boost). It’s a fascinating take on the real-time team combat mechanic. Visually, you get pop-ups of words like ‘marvellous’ or uncanny’ in neon lettering, reminiscent of the 80s arcade gaming.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy looks gorgeous in every way, from an energetic colour palette to incredible graphics and character animations. The riveting design of outer space shows how each segment of the galaxy has its own aesthetic due to the environment and inhabitants. Then there is the 80s soundtrack with epic songs such as A-ha’s ‘Take on Me’ and Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’. This game is crafted with a lot of love such that every scene is filled with various elements from 80s pop culture or Marvel comics.
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A buggy joy-ride
While Guardians is a fantastic game, it is not without its flaws. The experience is riddled with bugs.
Characters get stuck in corners and on elevators to various elements spontaneously appearing and disappearing on screen. The reliance on the dated quick-time button press events is not as well implemented. Oftentimes, the prompts are not clear and missing any has you go to the back of a very long cutscene. During an interesting or important conversation, interacting with something cuts it off, and sometimes dialogue overlaps, making it annoying. Hopefully, these will get patched soon.
While Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is still a ways away, we should be more than content to play Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy to fill that void, put that smile on your face and make you hopeful for the future.
The writer is a tech and gaming enthusiast who hopes to one day finish his sci-fi novel