Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Videogame Review
Now that we are approaching the third and final installment of Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy, let's go back a couple of years to reflect on a videogame adaptation that should have gained more acclaim if not breaking sales records.
2021 had its share of very good videogames and while most triple A titles such as Halo Infinite, Resident Evil Village, Ratchet and Clank and Forza Horizon were beneficiaries of franchise recognition or excessive marketing, there were others such as Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, despite being a well-known intellectual property courtesy of the Marvel films, had fallen under the radar.
And this was due to the negative reception from Square Enix’s Avengers, which left most gamers, including fans of both films and comics, extremely disappointed. Developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix. is a single-player action-adventure game where you play as signature protagonist Peter Quill aka Starlord, who commands the Guardians like Gamora, Groot, Drax and my favorite smart ass, Rocket, via prompts. The plot is somewhat straight forward beginning with our space scavengers venturing into the forbidden Quarantine Zone, In order to make money by collecting remains from the war, and to capture a rare monster for their client, Lady Hellbender but when Peter discovers up a yellow gem, (Sound familiar?) that accidentally releases an unidentified alien entity and from then on, our heroes will run afoul against the Nova Corps, the Universal Church of Truth and a surprise encounter with a familiar adversary!
I managed to catch this game while it was on sale courtesy of Xbox's Microsoft store for under $40 and despite my skepticism within the first 10 minutes, I immediately gravitated to GOTG afterwards! Could it have been the gameplay? The characters? The story or just the overall presentation? The answers to that are unequivocally yes, however, it’s Guardians' exceptional narrative and voice acting that easily stands toe to toe against the Disney movie adaptations. In fact, the story supersedes Gunn's films as many themes such as friendship, accountability, love, loss and sacrifice were implemented within a game that runs well over five hours!
The quirky banter and interaction between the main characters are what's expected for those of you who have seen the previous MCU films, and as with the film adaptations, there are various needle drops courtesy of original songs by Star-Lord’s fictional band, while the movies rely mostly on Peter’s Awesome Mix tapes, featuring bands like WHAM, Blue Oyster Cult, Iron Maiden, Wang Chun, Aha, and Jefferson Starship when assembling your team for a "huddle meeting" which enhances your team’s specialties, twofold when going up against a wave of enemies! Throughout the game, you’ll run into very familiar individuals from Marvel Comics and films, that may either assist or attack you.
One big surprise was an appearance from one of my favorite characters, Adam Warlock who is tantamount to the narrative, the third act. Warlock for some reason, as in questionable decisions, has been omitted from the MCU films, until now. However, there is some authenticity to the source material, as in the movies.
If there are any drawbacks, I would cite playing as one character (Quill) while the rest of your NPC team can be unreliable when aiding you against some of the enemies and especially bosses, which are bullet sponges. Meaning, that can take plenty of damage forcing you to request more “huddle meetings!”. Then there’s the repetitive combat however, I had no issues with the linear level design and then, there were a few ship battles to break the monotony of the core gameplay’s “run n gun” mechanics. To further offset the game’s shortcomings, is the skill building customization of each character, be it powers, weaponry of even costume skins, when unlocked.
Both the game and the movies have some similarities and some differences and here are some of the main points of comparison: Although the game has an original story set in its own universe, while the movies are part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it follows the comic book continuity more closely. There’s that familiar, yet distinct lineup of characters, who look and sound different from their movie counterparts, and still have the same personalities and abilities. While the game for the most part, centers around Star-Lord, who serves as the emotional core of the narrative, the cut scenes themselves allow more equal screen time and importance to the Guardians’ cast. What gives Guardians more of an immersive experience is how the game allows more contextual input and dialogue choices that can affect the story and the relationships between the characters, while the movies themselves have a more linear approach. I can easily appreciate the game’s more serious and emotional aspect which explores the backstories and traumas of the characters, especially Quill’s, whereas aside from a few sobering scenes, the movies have more of a humorous approach focusing on the fun and adventure of being an ensemble superhero team.
Playing Marvel’s Guardians was equivalent to that of a cinematic experience, but fans of Marvel and space fantasy in general, can enjoy both adaptations for various reasons.
Overall, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a fun and engaging game with a modicum personality and heart. Sure, it’s not a revolutionary or groundbreaking title, but a solid and enjoyable one that delivers on its promise and most importantly, its free of microtransactions, thus making it much worthy of purchase!