By now you probably know about the Telltale formula for making games. Take a popular franchise and make a game that almost entirely consists out of quick time events and dialogue choices. But where in most other games, quick time events are frowned upon, in Telltale games, they really became charming and kind of its own genre. I haven't seen it, but wouldn't be surprised if other similar games were called " Telltale-like games".
Their games mainly focus on the story and the characters. Lack of interactivity is easily forgiven when you somewhat interact with a great story. A story that could easily be turned into feature length movies or series. Guardians Of The Galaxy is once again a great use of the characters and the universe. Let's find out why.
Marvel's Guardians of The Galaxy: The Telltale Series Episode 1: Tangled Up In Blue is available on the Playstation Store for $4,99.
It is difficult to talk about the story in a Telltale game since their games are all about the story so I'll try not to spoil it too much.This is spoiler free territory, so no worries. As the title suggests, you control the Guardians of The Galaxy, which are in this incarnation, a bit of a mix and mash between their comic book and movie presentations with the general feel being more movie-like. The team consists of Peter Quill, better known as Star-Lord who is funny and lovable team leader. Gamora, a green-skinned super-assassin and proclaimed the most dangerous woman in the galaxy. Rocket, essentially a talking raccoon space pirate. Groot, a talking tree-like alien and Drax, a revenge-fueled green alien that takes things said pretty literally but you'll see what I mean.
The game begins with one of the best-choreographed action sequences in any Telltale game, a sequence that ends in an unexpected way. The effects of this event ripples throughout most of Episode 1 and I'm guessing will have a profound effect on the rest. Most of the game is revolved around an artifact, which seems to be pretty popular with Marvel these days. The hunt for the said artifact and it's usage is the driving factor of the story following the opening but is in no way it's focus. This again falls on the amazingly fleshed out characters and their interactions.
Since it's the first episode, there isn't an abundance of immediate serious repercussions and you really can't tell what far-reaching effect will a single "x disliked that" have in future episodes. Even though it's the first episode, it spares no time to get you into the thick of it. You don't pause to smell the roses and are thrown into the rich universe with the presumption that you already know these characters.
Those of you going in, riding the movie train of the Guardians will find that some characters are pretty similar to their movie counterparts but will find other a bit less recognizable if you are not familiar with the comics especially as there are plenty of comic-book only easter eggs scattered around the game. All in all, the writing here is as strong as ever with plenty of funny as well as emotional and serious moments. Meaningful interactions with other characters are abundant and laughing out loud moments will often catch you off guard. The general tone is lighthearted space adventuring as you would expect from a Guardians game. The story is fluid and characters behave as you would expect from them but I sometimes felt some of the decisions a bit forced, especially when having to chose between two team members as these kinds of decisions come up pretty often throughout the story.
It will be interesting to see how far the game will go in terms of the team lineup as Guardians Of The Galaxy consisted of many characters, other than the ones widely known because of the movies. There are some easter eggs that hint at other characters and it would certainly help raise the stakes if the lineup of the team itself were in danger in future episodes.
As is standard for Telltale games and as I previously mentioned, most of the game consists of limited interactivity and QTE's for action segments and dialogue choices for the more calm moments of the game. You mostly take control of Star-Lord but also take control of other Guardian characters in action sequences. Limited interactivity is kind of what you get with all Telltale titles and Guardians is no different.
Most of the game you watch what unfolds depending on your dialogue choices sprinkled with calmer detective-like segments where you walk around, explore the environment, try out interactive stuff, searching for the one that advances the game. Sometimes you can even go to different height levels of a given environment by using Star Lord's boot mounted jetpacks which are a welcome addition that gives the levels a bit of verticality and a larger sense of scale.
You'll be fighting familiar and new villains from the Marvel Universe, flying through space, dodging asteroids, shooting, falling, drinking, dancing and the game will end, probably leaving you hungry for more. It perfectly blends and blurs the line between gameplay and storytelling and it keeps the momentum that Telltale Batman series had in terms of progressing the tried and true formula of their games. I would only sometimes like a bit more clarity in dialogue choices since sometimes the text written as your dialogue option doesn't correspond to what the character ultimately says, leading to some undesirable outcomes, but this only happened to me once or twice and didn't mess with anything critical story-wise.
Visuals and audio
In a classic Telltale fashion, the graphics feature a kind of cell shaded style which suits the game perfectly, since the source material is a comic book. The cell shading is a bit toned down compared to previous Telltale titles, probably to follow suit in merging the comics and movie in terms of how the characters and the universe are portrayed here. All in all the game looks crisp and the transition to space is well done and the gameplay is smooth for the most part. The engine has its limitations as outside of quick time events, character movement feels clunky and unresponsive, but luckily, the game doesn't linger on these segments for too long.
Most of the Telltale games feature praiseworthy voice performances and this time around things are no different. The cast consists of Scott Porter as Star-Lord, Emily O'Brien as Gamora, Nolan North as Rocket Raccoon, Brandon Paul Eells as Drax the Destroyer, and Adam Harrington as Groot and let me tell you, these guys did a fantastic job of bringing their characters to life. Their performances emulate the standard set by the movies, but also improve upon it, with both emotional and fun segments that hit the mark on what the characters they portray are all about.
The music continues the trend of using the feel-good classic hits that complement the general tone of the game and often even sets the tone for it. It's a great assortment of music and I found myself looking up the soundtrack immediately after finishing the episode. It's that good.
Telltale delivers a gut-wrenching, smile-inducing first episode of the new series. Guardians Of The Galaxy are a great team to make a game out of, and they fit right in with Telltale style of storytelling. Goes without saying that unless you like Telltale games and their minimal gameplay interactivity or you aren't a fan of Marvel or their properties, you won't find much here. But if you like either, or both and are hungry for more, this game is a great way to satisfy your cravings.
The game is sure to satisfy both the comic book fans and the more casual moviegoers looking to expand their Marvel knowledge and ride further on the train of fun set by the movies. The story and writing are top notch with plenty of potential for future episodes. As with previous Telltale releases, you can expect the episode releases to be a month apart, with final episode releasing sometime in august.
|+ Excellent story||– Usual Telltale structure|
|+ Great characterization||– Not for non-fans|
|+ Superb voice acting|
|+ The soundtrack|