I am going to say this now just to get it out of the way for this review, but I hated Marvel’s Avengers. Though this blog isn’t about that game, I thought it would be important to just to bring up the concerns I had before the new Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy released. I thought the game seemed too reminiscent of Marvel’s Avengers, a boring and mind-numbing game that I do not think about returning to. And that really affected my first thoughts of Guardians of the Galaxy as I felt that it would suffer from the same issues.
But I was wrong! I am very pleasantly surprised by Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy as a whole. The game has shocked me with its great story, improved gameplay mechanics and encounters and so much more that make a great experience that Marvel fans will love. There are still a few issues here and there that are quite bad for a game of this quality but I will get to those issues later.
A Story to Tell
If you’re a Marvel fan then you will already be aware of the Guardians of the Galaxy and the heroes that make up this team, Peter Quill/Star Lord, Gamora, Groot, Rocket and Drax. This game sticks very closely to the source material and these characters all feel very familiar, with all of the humour, emotion and wacky behaviour that you expect from these characters. And the great thing here is that the dialogue doesn’t let these characters down, the story and moments are simply brilliant and these characters make it all excellent. Though there are a couple of moments where the dialogue and banter doesn’t hit and feels a bit forced, but these are a bit limited.
The story throughout this game, I am glad to say, remained consistently entertaining with some great moments. The game tells a really original story that did not fail to keep me interested throughout its duration. I do feel like the game dragged on a little bit and easily could have been shorter, but this isn’t a huge problem with me. The story wrapped up nicely and at many points in the story you really do feel for the characters and get into the big moments.
Throughout the story you are given choices during dialogue and encounters, and given you make the right decisions you get some really nice moments. Having this aspect of control is something that I really enjoy in this game. But it does also draw in my first real complaint, as in the long term a lot of these decisions don’t have an impact. There are a few decisions that do have an impact, and when they do, they bring a lot of fun moments. But the majority of correct or wrong decisions have no effect on the story as a whole and are used just to add a few little story points or pieces of dialogue.
Gameplay was my biggest worry before the game released, seeing that Marvel’s Avengers had massively suffered in this regard. And as I said in the beginning, I am very happy to say that my worries were misplaced. This game focuses on its single player campaign, so no multiplayer or alternate game modes.
Throughout the game you will play solely from the perspective of Peter Quill. Though you can’t play as the other members of the Guardians of the Galaxy, you still get to control them by giving them commands during combat. Each character has their own set of abilities that add a lot of options during combat. For example, you can command Groot to contain enemies using roots and more. Of course, as Quill, you get your own dual blasters and four abilities that are excellent in combat, like different elemental shots or flying using your jet boots for a short time.
This adds a lot of variety and different approaches to combat that was really lacking in Marvel’s Avengers. It avoids making combat complexity and goes for a simpler approach that works really well and keeps the content interesting. And it is made even better by the enemies that you will encounter through the game. Different enemies will be thrown at you that make you change how you approach an encounter. You have to think about how you will use each character's abilities to get around different enemy types, and this helps to keep the combat going.
I do have a complaint around the combat though, and that is the fact there are a lot of moments where you are simply travelling from one area to another without any combat or any form of encounters just listening to dialogue. These moments do come up quite a bit and feel completely unnecessary. Though I do enjoy a lot of the dialogue, the simple travelling to an area is something that could have and should have been avoided.
Worlds to Explore
As you make your way through the story, you will get the opportunity to fight through some amazing, new locations. And most of these areas look really nice visually and the worlds are all super well done. You will get to explore a load of alien worlds that you’ve not heard of before or even jump into Nova Corp ships. Fighting in these areas and engaging in different dialogue really make a great all-around experience.
My biggest complaint about the exploration is that it is quite linear. You don’t pay much attention to how simple and straight forward the areas are thanks to the great dialogue and encounters that are scattered throughout each location, but I wish there was a bit more to explore and do. There are a few side paths you can take a look around like most games, but these are more in place so that you can find different collectibles or upgrade materials. Though this isn’t a massive complain I would like to see the areas be a bit more open, but this does come down to personal preference.
There are also puzzles spread out quite often through these areas that you will have to solve. And these puzzles are mainly environmental and teammate focused where you may have to ask another character to do something. For example, asking Rocket to hack into an electronic to make your way into the next area. As said before it doesn’t go very deep into exploration and puzzles, staying more the straight forward side.
The Upgrading System
As with most single player campaigns, there is an upgrading system so that you can improve the abilities that you have disposal. I do not think that the upgrade system is anything special, I think it is a fine system that works well for the game. But it doesn’t do much to blow me away. After completing specific encounters or fights you will be able to unlock abilities using ability points, and to get upgrades you need to collect upgrade currencies that are spread out through different levels.
You can start upgrading straight off the bat and all of the abilities and upgrades are available automatically. I do have very mixed feelings about it, while it is nice to be able to improve your gear and abilities how you want straight away, it also tells you exactly what you’ll be able to get through the duration of the game. And there are only around 15 unlockable perks that are available and several stat increases, which feels very basic.
Bugs and Glitches
As with the vast majority of games, there are quite a few bugs that you are bound to run into. And that is the same with this. The main issue being the game crashing. There were multiple points through the game where it crashes and I have to restart my game and start from the last save point, and no one likes that. And from what I have heard from others who have played the game, crashing is a very common issue. There are also quite a few frame rate issues that occur, especially if you’re playing on PS4 or Xbox One and at times it feels quite overwhelming when you combine the combat with massive frame rate drops.
There were also times through the game where I felt the graphics were quite underwhelming and looked unfinished. This does change quite a bit between different platforms, especially next-gen and current-gen. But I feel like the graphics could do with a bit more work.
There are also a few other minor issues here and there that include messages and button prompts remaining on screen that can be a bit of a nuisance that you can only get rid of when you restart a checkpoint. Annoying issues and things like that.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy has managed to surprise me in a massive way and I am incredibly pleased about it. Guardians of the Galaxy offers a very unique story and fun gameplay style. This is a game with a story that is worth experiencing, especially if you are a fan of Marvel and superhero movies. But this game does have plenty of room for improvement. Obviously bugs and glitches can be resolved quite quickly, there are multiple areas like travelling between areas and some pieces of dialogue that don’t perform well. Out of 10, I would give this an 8. Story is good, gameplay is satisfying and the game as a whole is quite fun.