Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy from Square Enix

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Raging Justice
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Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy from Square Enix

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Not to be confused with Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series

So I was going to post about this in the Games Beaten thread, but I ran into an issue with my save file. I may be the only player this has happened to as I've not seen anything about it online. I may have to start the game over. So I'm not gonna wait until I beat the game to talk about it. I played through a significant portion of the game before this happened, enough to have an opinion on it.

In short, the game is excellent. It may be my favorite comic book game ever, and I have played some of the best ones out there. I'm assuming the game takes most of its influence from the comics, but if you're only familiar with the MCU movies, you'll still feel right at home. The characters are pretty similar to their movie counterparts. I think I even like this Gamora better than the MCU one. I feel the same way about...tiny spoiler here...Mantis. I wasn't keen on Star-Lord's character design from this game though, but it grew on me over time. For me though, Star-Lord will always be Chris Pratt.

The game's story telling is superb. It kept me engaged the whole time. The pacing is good. The voice acting is on point, and there are even some surprising and quirky moments. The game has a lot of MCU style humor and there were moments that I found hilarious, particularly in the dialog. The Guardians talk A LOT in this game, and much of their lines are well written. I was very impressed too by how well the dialog often reflects whatever the player is doing. I mentioned that the game has great comedy, but it has serious and poignant moments too. There are story beats that will feel familiar if you've seen the movies or played the Telltales Games title that came out before this one, but I think the story telling here is better overall. Like the aforementioned game from Telltale, this one will ask players to make a choice several times throughout the game. Some choices are inconsequential, and really just lead to different dialog, but others can significantly change events in the story. So if you're into Telltale Games or stuff like Until Dawn, you'll get that here, but this game offers so much more on the gameplay front that I can't put it in the same category as those titles.

The game bounces back and forth between different gameplay styles. There's combat, some platforming, a little puzzle solving, some light exploration (if you want to find lore items or resources to purchase upgrades with), a little bit of stealth, quick time events, a mini-game or two, and even some Star fox style space combat. The variety is nice, but you'll spend most of your time in combat and using your teams abilities to navigate your environment. In order to get through each area you will have to do stuff like have Drax move heavy objects, have Rocket hack into terminals, have Groot use his long roots to build bridges, along with using Star-Lord's jet boot assisted, double jump for platforming. Gamora will also assist with the platforming by latching onto walls with her blades and grabbing Star Lord's hand to vault him up to higher elevations. Star Lord is always the character you control in this game by the way, since he's team leader.

The combat is awesome. Your character's all have special attacks that they will do when Star-Lord, i.e. YOU, tell them too. You can really synergize them too, like having Rocket use an attack that groups enemies together, then have Groot hold them in place with his roots, then have Gamorra dash back and forth between them while slashing them to bits. There's definitely some X-Men Legend, Marvel Ultimate Alliance vibes here. These special attacks have a cool down period though, and once you use one that character can't do any other special attacks until that cool down period is over. They'll still attack the enemy though with regular attacks. As Star Lord, you have specials too, with the same restrictions. You can also shoot your enemies, attack them with melee, dash or slide to evade attacks, and jump. You have a shield meter over your health bar too that can soak up some hits for you.

Star-Lord also has access to two unique abilities. He can unlock elemental shots for his guns, with limited ammo. These can do cool things like freeze enemies or run an arc of electricity through a group of enemies, shocking and damaging them all. He also has a super meter. Once it's full, you can activate it to do something I've not seen in a game before. Star-Lord will have the team regroup for a football-like huddle. When this happens, you'll get a chance to hear your characters comment on the current battle. You then will have to give them a pep talk. You'll be given a choice of what to say to the team and the correct choice depends on what they were saying about the battle. So for example, if the team if arguing, you'll want to say something reminding them that you're all in this together. If they are acting over confident, you'll want to say something to remind them to stay focused and cautious. If you make the right choice, the team gets a nice boost to their damage and their cool down periods seems to not last as long. As an added bonus, the game will play a random song from Star-Lord's cassette player to put you in an ass kicking mood.

Lastly, the game has a momentum meter. In order to fill it up as quickly as possible you have to vary up your attacks and not do the same thing over and over again. So for example, having Gamora use the same special attack over and over again, when she has two other ones at her disposal is not a good idea. Combining your team members' special attacks also seems to give the meter a good boost. So you'll want to do special attack combos like I mentioned earlier. You'll have to balance mixing things up to fill up the momentum meter while also strategically choosing your attacks based on the enemies you're fighting. Building up the momentum meter has two benefits. It increases your experience point payouts after the battle, which means having quicker access to ability points that you can use to purchase new special attacks for your team. Also, building up your momentum opens up all kinds of options in combat. Things like team up attacks and finishing moves.

There are cool things you can do in combat based on the environment as well. There are objects marked with a triangle button prompt. Hitting the triangle button can have drax throw things at enemies, have Gamora slice through a rope holding an object above the battlefield, making it come crashing down on enemies, have Rocket channel an attack through floor vents with his weapon, have Groot using his roots in interesting ways. Specific enemy types and bosses will also give you triangle button prompts at certain points in the battle. So you can have Gamora slice off the tentacles of a boss reducing how many tentacles it can hit you with or knock an enemy out of the air as they are about to unleash an attack on you, or stuff like Drax ripping off parts of a monster's body, or restraining an enemy so that Star-Lord can get in a free shot. There's all kind of fun stuff you can do. Your team handles itself pretty well too. This isn't one of those games where you're CONSTANTLY reviving fallen team members. In fact, a lot of times when your allies get hit by some kind of enemy attack you can actually help them out. So if an enemy has them pinned down and is getting ready to finish them off, you can attack that enemy to free them. Maybe Drax got frozen by a monster, you can get over to him and break him out of the ice. Combat is really fun, fast paced, and flashy, and the focus is always on team work. If you've seen this TV commercial:

That's kind of what combat feels like.

Graphically, the game looks pretty good. As a game set in space, there's a nice variety of different things to see throughout the game. Different plants, monsters, alien races, weird space stuff, etc. The soundtrack has a decent film score, including one very familiar theme from the MCU movies. Plus, as one would expect from this franchise, there's also tons of cool, licensed, classic songs here like Don't Fear the Reaper from Blue Oyster cult. Plus, some cool rock music from what I am assuming is a fictional band called Star Lord.

What I really like about this game is that it is fairly linear. There's not the typical fluff and padding that you see in so many games that go the open world route these days. This is a focused adventure. You go to an area, do some stuff (and maybe a little exploring), then leave that area forever and onto to another one. Everything moves at a good pace. You'll get a bunch of action and epic moments, then a quiet moment in the story to just talk to your team and learn more about them, or just take in the ambience of whatever location you're currently in.

This is a really great game and feels like a well done Guardians mini-series that you'd see on Disney Plus, with the bonus of you getting to PLAY it rather than WATCH it. I highly recommend it.
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