Square Enix has done it again. Guardians of the Galaxy is an excellent representation of the characters that we know and love. The personalities and humor in the story help you quickly get over the fact that these aren’t the MCU counterparts that we have grown to know over the years. I came into the Guardians of the Galaxy game with the same mindset I did with the movies: I didn’t have many expectations but I was left pleasantly surprised with my experience. This journey through space is so different from all the other Marvel adventures. Even though you are fighting galactic threats, things feel a little more grounded since the characters don’t have as many crazy powers as Thor or The Hulk. If you are new to the Guardians universe, this is a fun place to start.
The first thing I have to say is that this game really looks great. You can really see the technology and lessons learned from other Square Enix games. The Avengers game really looked good but I have to say that the graphics were taken up a notch in Guardians of the Galaxy. There is so much emotion that is conveyed on the faces of the characters and it really adds to the performances. I was really impressed with how good the hair and eyes looked when the camera was zoomed in. The materials used in clothing and in the environment have a good amount of detail. There are also a ton of different environments that offer a lot of variety.
Many people were feeling a little iffy when it came to the fact that you only control Starlord in Guardians but it actually works out very well. Each character has abilities that you unlock by purchasing them with points earned while leveling. A variety of enemy types are introduced throughout the story and you can use a combination of character abilities to address different combat situations. There are also times outside of combat that each character can be used to solve a puzzle or gain access to different areas, such as when you need to use Gamora or Groot to access different parts of the map. You may need to use Drax to move a heavy object or have Rocket get into a smaller space. I think that Square Enix did a really good job with how each character is utilized. It looks like they are pulling in pieces of the battle systems from some of the Final Fantasy games. There are some enemies that may need to take elemental or physical damage to build up a stagger meter before you can cause any real damage to destroy parts of their hardware. If you are ever having a hard time during a battle, there is an ability called the Huddle. It brings the team in for a pep talk that results in unlimited use of special abilities for a set amount of time. Playing around with different combinations is a lot of fun and may also unlock some achievements/trophies.
This is a completely spoiler-free review so I won’t reveal much about the actual story of Guardians of the Galaxy. I will say that this was a fun and unique story that is separate from what has happened in the cinematic universe. There is a ton of lore that is spread throughout the game and I was compelled to read and experience it all. There are collectibles that you can find during certain missions that are connected to each character. When you make it back to your ship, you are able to prompt different discussions with each character that gives you more of their back story as it pertains to the game. As a person that was introduced to the Guardians of the Galaxy more recently, this was very helpful and created more of a connection with the different teammates. There are cool Easter eggs spread throughout the game as well. Some connect to other Marvel games or universes and others are in the many costumes you can find hidden throughout the game. You are also allowed to make different choices throughout the game that may have an impact on other missions. Guardians of the Galaxy is set up perfectly to allow for additional DLC missions in the future. I am really happy that Square Enix decided to go with a linear story here.
There aren’t too many issues that I had with the game. Technically, everything felt smooth and the gameplay was very solid and intuitive. I was playing the game in fidelity mode and everything was great. There were no noticeable hiccups with either mode. While playing the game, there was really only one thing that I wish could be changed. When you die, in some cases you have to rewatch a cutscene or replay a sequence and this can take a good amount of time. If your timing is off when it comes to a button prompt, going through some of these sequences all over again could really take you out of the action and immersion. There were also times where character dialog was repeated way more than it needed to be. The repetitiveness of the dialog made situations where I was searching for collectibles a little annoying at times.
Guardians of the Galaxy was a great experience that I cannot wait to play through the story again. The characters were portrayed perfectly in my opinion and the voice acting was stellar. Coming off of an Avengers game that some were a little hesitant about, Square Enix had a lot to prove with this title. This shows that future Marvel games are in really good hands. I look forward to more content for Guardians of the Galaxy and potentially a sequel in the future. This linear take on a game is very refreshing when there are so many huge open-world games at the moment. If you haven’t spent much time learning about the Guardians of the Galaxy, this is a great jumping-off point. There is a lot of lore to be discovered in this game and it makes me want to go back and read some of the comics. There are so many potential characters that could be explored now. An Antman game by Square Enix could be pretty good.
Guardians of the Galaxy will be available on all platforms starting at $59.99