You never quite know what you're going to get with superhero games nowadays. The likes of Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham series and the more recent Marvel's Spider-Man are proof famous comic-book faces can set the standard for the industry, but then we all remember how Marvel's Avengers went. Unsurprisingly then, there's some apprehension surrounding Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy — Square Enix's second attempt at trying to adapt the superhero formula. Thankfully, however, those concerns have been misplaced.
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is an incredibly enjoyable and very funny title. Fuelled by the amusing, over the top vibes of the two big-screen movies, it tells an original story that enthusiasts will love and newcomers can easily follow. With endlessly entertaining combat and wonderful characters to boot, the game is much more Marvel's Spider-Man than Marvel's Avengers. While it's not without its flaws, developer Eidos Montreal has a winner on its hands; one that's deserving of a sequel or two.
Set 12 years after the Chitauri tore apart the universe in the Galactic War, Star-Lord and his charismatic crew members are taking on odd jobs to pay the bills. One takes them into the Quarantine Zone, which is governed by the Nova Corps and comes with a fine upon capture. Of course, that's exactly what happens to those aboard the Milano. The team scrounges up just enough Galactic Units to clear their debt when upon their return to Nova Corps HQ, they discover yet another threat to the galaxy.
It's an engaging enough plot that will keep you entertained from beginning to end, but what you're really here for is the characters — and boy do they deliver. The five bandits of Star-Lord, Drax, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot don't suffer quite the same fate as the Avengers; they all mostly resemble their on-screen appearances. Star-Lord is obviously the odd one out — maybe it costs too much to face scan the new voice of Mario — but he makes up for that with the usual charming, centre of attention act.
In fact, all of the performances behind the five Guardians are top-notch. Brandon Paul Eells returns as Drax after voicing him in Guardians of the Galaxy: The TellTale Series, and once again does a wonderful job of capturing the Kylosian's overly serious but also hilarious tone. Kimberley-Sue Murray portrays both the deadly assassin and softer sides of Gamora's personality wonderfully, while the ever-lovable Groot is his sweet self in the hands of Adam Harrington. The cutscenes don't nearly have the same budget as an actual Marvel film, but the characters you've come to know and love are very much present.
You'll only ever directly control Star-Lord, but dialogue options and decision making elevate you to the true leader of the Guardians. Conversations with teammates allow you to explore their backstories during downtime between chapters, while resolutions to important story moments can be dictated by your hands. This isn't a TellTale style approach where certain decisions can result in dramatically different endings. However, it's a welcoming extra layer that gives the narrative a bit more depth as it notes which of your decisions will be saved for later when the ramifications of your actions are felt.
The plot, characters, and decision making all feed into a surprisingly meaty 20+ hour campaign that explores the galaxy and then some. Combat makes up much of the experience, but there's time for environmental puzzles and exploration too. Broken up into 16 chapters, you can veer off the main path for collectibles and outfits inspired by comic books of the past, or take the time to tour some of the bigger areas. Think of Carson V from Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and you're along the right tracks. Don't get us wrong, the game is a largely linear undertaking, but there's certainly room for some fun on the side.
Combat is your meat and potatoes then, with Star-Lord equipped with his trusty blasters. You might think Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is a third-person shooter based on that, but treating the game as one would see your playtime grow exponentially. You see, while Peter Quill's guns can deal with basic enemies, they're borderline useless on their own against tougher foes. This is where the other Guardians come into play; you can activate their abilities based on individual cooldown meters. Each equipped with four powers that are unlocked through story progress and purchased through upgrade points, they all help out in different situations.
More imposing combatants have a stagger gauge that renders them immobile and prone to extra damage once filled, and Drax is perfect for accomplishing that. Gamora can then either take a good chunk of HP out of a single health bar or swiftly deal damage to a number of enemies all at once. Rocket gets the heavy weaponry and explosives out while Groot is all about crowd control and healing teammates.
At its peak, 20 different abilities can be selected, which may seem like a lot. And it is, but the game smartly pads them out enough so you never feel overwhelmed by the possibilities at your fingertips. Actually, the game turns that prospect on its head: there are so many skills to choose from that you want to be getting caught up in difficult scenarios so you can take advantage of what each individual Guardian has to offer.
In combination with Star-Lord's standard blasters, the wide array of abilities helps to greatly flesh out combat with various approaches to dealing with the galaxy's toughest bad guys. You can focus on the stagger meter, hang back and let Rocket play with his toys, or allow Gamora to go to town.
If you do get into a spot of bother, however, then the Huddle Up mechanic will be your saving grace. Once activated in the midst of combat, Star-Lord gets the Guardians together for a pep talk, that if successful, encourages the team and increases damage dealt for a limited time. These sequences can be a little too long, especially during the latter half of the game, but the classic 1980's track that proceeds them is always worth it. A fun feature nevertheless.
Our only real gripe during combat would be the repeated dialogue, which takes some of the charm away from the lines themselves. In a single encounter, the Guardians can repeat themselves twice or even thrice over. A bellowing war cry from Drax doesn't have quite the same effect when you heard the very same one just 30 seconds prior.
All in all, though, these are fantastic foundations for what is a great title in the present and whatever may come in the future. Star-Lord is just combat savvy enough to deal with fodder enemies on his own, but the wide variety of abilities the full Guardians roster possesses really comes into its own the more you play. Ceaselessly entertaining and enjoyable to engage with, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy gets its most important mechanics just right.
What's also on point is the soundtrack; a long list of 1980's hits accompany original tracks for a memorable auditory experience. The new songs go in the heavy metal direction, and they're used relatively often during standard combat encounters. The tracks you already know and possibly love are saved for the aforementioned Huddle Ups and when the story crescendos, or you can select from the full list at will back in the Milano. There's no greater feeling than working your way through a stream of bad guys, only for Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up to kick into gear.
But then there's nothing worse than the game breaking, which happened all too often during our playthrough. Characters would lose body parts during cutscenes, objects would glitch out of the environment, and items could no longer be interacted with. Characters would seemingly forget who they're with, meaning we couldn't access workbenches to purchase upgrades. And large parts of the scenery would be missing before suddenly glitching into place. Reloading a checkpoint usually fixes the problem, but it would happen so often that we started to roll with the bugs so we weren't losing progress all the time.
All these issues were encountered prior to the availability of a day one patch, which went live late during our review process. We fired up the buggiest section of the game and ran through it twice over to test whether the update changed much; we're happy to report no glitches were encountered except for one. A birthday cake had duplicated itself. While we can't guarantee your own playthrough won't be without its technical faults here and there, it appears the day one patch has improved this side of the title substantially.
A ray tracing mode will also be added to the game in a post-launch update to accompany the standard quality and performance modes. Quality mode targets 30 frames-per-second and seriously ups the visual quality, while performance mode doubles the framerate but deals a hit to the graphics. This is actually somewhat of an annoying situation because the title looks really, really good in quality mode, but you don't want to play something this action-packed at 30 frames-per-second. Performance mode smooths out gameplay, but then the visuals aren't nearly as good. Passable, for sure, but you'll always know in the back of your head the game can look a lot better. You can't have the best of both worlds here.
For as much uncertainty there has been surrounding Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, the final game has delivered. Fun and frantic combat provide the basis for a long, extremely enjoyable campaign featuring the characters you love and the tracks your kids usually screw their noses up at. A great title that deserves to be expanded upon in the future.
If you have any questions, feel free to copy me in.
I really enjoyed my time reviewing this one, highly recommended for those interested.
how long is it?
@bremkat35 "a surprisingly meaty 20+ hour campaign" says the review
Didn't pre-order the game since I was worried, like many others it was gonna turn into a The Avengers disaster. But looks like its pretty good across the board. Good stuff!
realy happy this seems to turn out great.
perhaps this is what the avengers shouls have been.
anyway it cought my interest and i hope this will bring the success they deserve. who knows it might be a springboard to them doing more super hero games.
I’ve heard great things about this which I’m honestly relieved about. I knew they had it in them to make this a proper fun time and I’m looking forward to playing it!
@LiamCroft I know you shouldn't do this, considering how the two games differ, but how would you compare to the two Spider-Man Insomniac Games? Just as fun?
Who would have thought focusing on making a good game and not a live service would lead to a better end product?
@crashb648 I'd still consider Insomniac's two Spider-Man games better than this, but you are right in that they are fairly different. What Guardians really has going in its favour, though, is the humour. I was smiling and laughing all the time; it's so funny.
Are there any online modes ? What replayability is there?
We did it everyone. We got a good Guardians of the Galaxy game.
Reading other reviews with more detail it seems a shame that this is a co-op game with no chance to co-op with friends or online. That's got to be a missed opportunity.
feeling much better about my pre order now. can't wait to play!
@LiamCroft Are the adaptive triggers / haptic feedback used at all?
Looking forward to picking this up tmrw
Really glad to hear it's good as I love the Guardians still sad we can only play as Quill but oh well it is what it is
@Just2Milky They are but those features weren't really implemented into the build I reviewed. The day one patch essentially activated them so I didn't get much chance to play around with them.
@LiamCroft is it worth buying on day one ? i am done reading your review on this game so i am not sure if it is worth day one buy
Removed - spam
Sounds like the game will be improved further with some patches so I'll wait - I'm seeing good reviews in general though, so I'm definitely interested now.
Wow... they pulled it off. Nice review 👍
Kept an eye on it but was not pre-ordering it. Now back on the list.
Alright, the game's just arrived a day early and I'm so relieved it's not terrible unlike my last preorder back in december 2020 lol nice review
This is what happens when you don't shoehorn in live services, loot boxes, forced pandering and multiplayer. A good game that will sell well.
@LiamCroft not read the review dont want any spoilers whatsoever, but great score ,are there any side quests as such
This makes me wish they had just put all of their Avengers eggs in the solo campaign basket. Would have saved a lot of scrutiny. Can't wait to play this one.
@Broosh having played Avengers the worst thing about it is that there's the skeleton of an excellent single player game in there. It's just buried under so many bafflingly poor decisions.
OK I'm confused. You deleted my question rather than answer it? Did I do something wrong?
Had the game since saturday and I would agree with a solid 8 so far. Graphics and soundtrack are excellent, gameplay solid. Its like a mix of Tomb Raider and Jedi Fallen Order it terms of quality single player story. Good suprise of the year
@bremkat35 "a surprisingly meaty 20+ hour campaign "
@LiamCroft How intuitive and momentum breaking are the squad abilities to use? Is it opening a wheel of options to select them (seems messy with lots of characters to choose from) and is it easy to end up using the wrong one?
This looks interesting, I think I'll play this after I finished one or two of my backlog games
I'm quite positively suprised by this one and I felt that it would be iffy. I'm glad that it ended up on the better side of the 'if'.
@Thrillho You hold L1 to bring up a wheel, and then select from the Guardian's abilities with the face buttons. Opening the wheel makes combat go in slow-motion, I found it all very easy to use. Never selected the wrong ability.
This sounds like exactly the game I wanted it to be!
@Integrity single player all the way for me ,I hate any kind of mp component in predominantly single player games ,their are plenty of coop mp centric games ,leave single player ,single player, but I'm a cynical 50 year old man that hates people, so maybe thats the reason 😁
@vapidwolf fair enough 😊
I would have like to be able to switch controls of characters though. I've read that they don't bother reviving each other.
@LiamCroft Thanks. It’s what I’d expect but I was wondering if someone had felt a slightly less clunky way of doing it, particularly with 20 to choose from, but it sounds like it works.
Been enjoying it so far these last few days been taking my time as didn't know how long it was 🤣
Even with the great review this game will be $30 during Black Friday so that will be when I get it. I'm just not a fan of playing as Star Lord for a whole game, his character out of all of them just seems the worse to me.
@bremkat35 what it lacks in length is made up for in girth.
Like others, I'm glad this is getting well reviewed. I hope it sells well. After the the mess that was avengers I'm hoping this is a lesson on making games for players and not for your marketing/finance departments.
Been playing it since Saturday when my copy arrived early. So far it's been a really great experience and I think they got the tone of the movies spot on. Lots of banter between the guardians and I've laughed quite a few times. Looks impressive too.
Combat for me is good but not great, starlords weapon feels like a pea shooter at times but I suppose that's why you've got to use the rest of the team. And I personally don't like the huddles because it brings the action to a stop. But the following music is great!
Overall though it's just been a fun game so far. Definitely between an 8 to 9.
Surprised to see such good reception! Wasn't expecting this!
Sad that once again visual fidelity modes get a hit on fps, I hate to play lower res just for the frames but the truth is 30fps is unbearable in most titles nowadays!
Anyway, insta-buy for me later today!!! Hyped! Love action-adventure games!
Pre-ordered the physical version. Can hardly wait. If it’s that good I will take a day off work.
Did you repeat you questions?
Maybe it's in there already
@Ridwaano I asked what the replayability is like for this game and it was ignored. I asked again politely and it got deleted instead 🤷♂️
If anyone here has played it, is there a new game + or any reason to replay?
I think I my buy this. Sound blobbin!
I was very apprehensive but after reading this all of that just went away. I'm willing to give it a chance now.
@Integrity I was responding to the notifications that were coming in to my account because I've been busy working on guides for the game throughout today. That's why I asked people to copy me in in the first comment. You haven't done that.
To answer your question, there is a New Game+ option but the decisions aren't important enough to make me think a second playthrough is worth it.
@LiamCroft thanks for the answer, my mistake.
I thought that might be the case. Was hoping the game wouldn't be a one-shot deal.
I was confused as to why my comment was deleted, I thought it was because my question wasn't welcome and didn't merit an answer.
Anyway, now I know so thanks 👍
Finally! A game that I really want to sink my teeth into! And after the ever increasing debacle that is that Marvel's Avengers game none the less. I hope Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy do for MCU games the same thing Jedi Fallen Order did for Star Wars.
@twick87...that's exactly what I say to.my Mrs. ! 🤣🤣🤣
Thesixthaxis gave it a 6,gonna need to look into it before deciding if worth it.,and to my taste.
@LiamCroft did you try both performance and quality mode on ps5? If so does quality hold up?
Edit: just read the last part of your review. Shows me to scroll right to the score lol
The fact that things like that are a day one patch has killed it for me.
The game that the avengers wanted to...and probably should have been. I guess the suits saw Avengers as the cash cow so wanted to cram as much monetization into that as possible, which left Guardians of the Galaxy alone to do with as they pleased. Obviously it was all the better for it.
I'm so happy the game reviewed well! Sadly my backlog is just too big to justify buying this at full price, will wait until it's $25-$30 New.
Glad to see this game is getting positive reviews all round. I have too much to play already but hope the game does really well.
I’ll pick it up soon, want to support big budget single player, non-live service titles like this.
Tbh I'm not a fan of these different graphics options in console games. One of the benefits of having a console is that the game is fully optimised for the platform and just works. I don't want something always in the back of my mind where I'm thinking 'oh it looks better in quality mode'...and then force myself to out up with a performance cut in half. Nor did I wanna play ps5 games and and have it in the back of my mind they look no better than my PS4 pro...regardless of running better. I always spend the first 30mine of playing any new game stopping and flipping between the two...rather than just enjoying it
From now on ps4 variant of game will not get reviews?
Duplicated birthday cake sounds like a feature, not a bug, to me. Have cake and eat it too. Mmmmm.
It’s smaller than on Series X too at 42.49Gb, which is probably a better comparison. Very impressive tech and reduces the issue of the supposedly small hard drive.
Great, was really hoping this would turn out ok. Will wait for it to drop a little but will be picking this up
@Integrity yeah would've been nice if it was similar to a tales game where you could switch them on the fly ,I agree that wouldve been great.
@LiamCroft Is this game good, or is it “Marvel good”? Could it stand on it’s own for gamers who don’t care one whit about Marvel? How much of the positivity is just GotG standing next to it’s ugly sister ‘The Avengers’?
@clianvXAi Welcome to the cross-gen ghetto.
Getting my copy in an hour or so when Gamestop opens. Big fan of Guardians of the Galaxy and have been wanting a game starring them, happy to see it turned out pretty well especially since Edios Montreal's quality of work outside Deus Ex has been spotty.
Good to know it’s good. Waiting on the price drop next year.
@Spiders It’s good imo. I played for 3 hours and enjoyed it a lot. It’s not perfect though. The combat seems too crowded to me sometimes. I hope I get used to it. Mostly I feel bad about the huge difference between Quality mode and Performance mode. So whenever there’s cinematic or some static scenes I switch to quality mode.
@r3dman21 Good to know, but again — how would you judge it for fans of sci-fi but not necessarily Marvel?
Started playing this yesterday and didn't want to leave the bedroom, massive nostalgia trip!!!
@Spiders Someone who never heard of the Guardians of the galaxy would still have fun, in my opinion, as the game is made very well. But as I said, I only played the first three hours.
@Integrity first good question in the thread.
Very enjoyable game, nevertheless. So…enjoy it friend!
>switches to quality mode
I’m with r3dman21 on this
He wasn’t asking about the campaign. 😉
I just finished it. That was maybe the most fun game I played. I would disagree with the dialoge score you guys gave. The dialoges, the jokes, all the poking it was hilarious. I personaly will give it a 10. They really worked hard to make a good fun and awesome action. Oh, oh , and the songs ... so nostalgic. Super cool game!
Played this over Christmas, really enjoyed it! Really suprisingly fantastic writing and acting, but it definitely overstays it's welcome. A good 5 hours could have been shaved off my 20 hour play through.
I played on my family's base PS4 and the game was very buggy, very bad frame rate last third of the game.
But overall, I'd agree with an 8 and really enjoyed my time with the game! Shame there won't be a sequel
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