Mild spoilers ahead
Episode 1 of the series was a slew of high-octane paired with quieter moments of character development. A lot was riding on making first episode work as it was the episode that had to deal with exposition and character introductions that future episodes won't have to deal with, for the most part. Every episode focuses on one character from the core team a bit more, the first one being Peter. This left us with a massive cliffhanger that involved Star-Lord and the artifact the team spent chasing the entire game.
Now it's time to check out the second one, which focuses on the lovable foul mouth raccoon – Rocket. So strap in and let's get into it.
Guardians Of The Galaxy: The Telltale Series is available for purchase on the KeenShop.
It's difficult to write about the story in a game that is all about the story and where any spoiled detail can ruin someone going into it. So I'll do my best to talk about the story without talking about the story. As mentioned, the pacing is much better due to not having to introduce many of the elements and set up the story. It's also less spectacular than the first one, which served to draw you into its world.
And the world is still heavily influenced by James Gunn movies as it attempts to subtly weave locations and characters from there into the narrative here. It isn't a full rip-off cause these Guardians are a bit of a mix between movie and comic book versions, making them stand on their own.
Marvel can't seem to get enough of powerful artifacts so the story here continues the Infinity Forge quest and the fact that it can resurrect the dead. Whereas the first episode was about the mystery of what it can do, the second one deals with how and by whom it should be used. The story involving the artifact is predictable at best but luckily, new and more interesting mysteries are introduced to spice it up a bit.
Even though Episode 2 is lighter on the flashy action it more than delivers on the feels front. This is mostly due to Rocket being the focus as his wall of humor and sarcasm comes crashing down multiple times during the course of the game and we also learn a bit about his early history. The standout parts of the episode were most definitely his relationship with Groot and Star Lord and the decision you have to make are more emotional than ever.
The toughness often comes in the form of decisions where you can help out a friend with a stupid plan now to reap the benefits later or go with a smart plan now and suffer for the lack of relationship development later. It shows that even though the game lost a bit of steam in the narrative, the writing is still as strong as ever as some of the decisions will weigh heavily on your mind long after you turn off the game.
On the character front, it's nice to see Yondu featuring full time, especially if you are coming off of Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2. and can't get enough of the character like myself. Also joining the fray is Nebula who is well utilized throughout the episode where I feared she would be discarded as we approached the end. I also enjoyed flashback scenes as they provided another layer to characters which already feel fleshed out, to begin with. Things end here on another cliffhanger but this one is a bit less "wow can't wait to see what happens next" than the one in the previous episode.
Everything here is as you are used to. Gameplay consists of quick time events which are a bit less action packed this time around and radial dialogue options for conversations. Episode 2 offers a bit more variety in sequences like gunning ships, extended Milano exploration and teammate conversations, fun fights paired with the soundtrack and more. Team conversations, in particular, come in between each major setpiece when aboard the Milano and further help understand the characters and how your decisions impact their disposition toward you so be sure to take every opportunity to get in their heads. You will come out wiser for future decision making and could have a few good laughs to boot.
All in all, I found the setpieces to be fun, but a bit weaker than in Episode 1. Also on the narrative side of things, Episode 2 felt a bit less important in the overall story, almost like an episode 1.5 but hopefully future ones will improve as the main mystery is further explored and the finale draws near. One possible outcome in Episode 2 is the possibility that Thanos making a comeback down the line. This would do a lot for the game as it will need a stronger final villain in order to end on a high note, as the current Kree villains are painfully boring and predictable.
VISUALS AND AUDIO
The visuals remain unchanged in Episode 2 and everything is still a cell shaded fusion of comics and movies, both in presentation and the style set largely by James Gunn. The free movement segments still feel clunky and unresponsive as the game engine is clearly made mostly for a hand holding QTE experience but that's par for the course when it comes to Telltale games.
Episode 2 continues with the excellent voice work across the board and the voice actor for Rocket – Nolan North, in particular, shines here since as mentioned, Rocket emotionally goes to some uncharted territories as far as his character is concerned.
Concerning the soundtrack, episode 2 features most of the same songs heard back in Episode 1 and they are still as awesome as they were there, providing the background for some action sequences to great effect. Similiar to "Awesome Mix" featured in the movies, the game's "Rad Mix" features old but gold, feel good classic hits that you'll surely want to listen to even outside of the game.
While Under Pressure is an episode that lost a bit of steam in terms of how impactful the events seem and the way action is portrayed in comparison to the first episode, it's still a stronger episode. This is mostly due to excellent characterization and emotional weight of some decisions. It serves to further connect you to the team, rather than aggressively pushing the main story. Telltale, like Marvel, plays a long game in terms of story resolution, wanting to build the world before tearing it down and ultimately fixing it.
Despite the ramped up emotional weight, these are still Guardians Of The Galaxy so you can still expect laughs and general non-seriousness, even in the face of grave dangers. It's everything we love about Guardians Of The Galaxy and it is a great experience for both the comic book fans as well as the more casual moviegoers.
|+ Team interactions||– Less impactful episode in the overall narrative|
|+ Emotional weight of the decisions||– Weaker action sequences|
|+ New but familiar characters|
|+ Voice work|