Having already delivered two exciting and enjoyable episodes of their Guardians of the Galaxy series, Telltale Games seem to be on a roll with their first Marvel adaption. The pacing has been decent, the characters have resonated with me as a gamer, and there’s been a fair few laughs too. The bar has been set for the third episode, “More Than a Feeling” – can it live up to the expectation?
Sadly, it really doesn’t. And you won’t believe how disappointing that is to me. But I’ll try and help you understand why.
There were a certain amount of heart wrenching moments in the previous episode, which saw Rocket dwelling on his torturous life and the one true love that just wasn’t meant to be – Lylla. Having located and caught Nebula, Star-Lord needs to keep the peace between her and Gamora, because despite being sisters, there’s a lot of bad blood between the two of them. Fortunately, the gloomy parts were counteracted by an uplifting selection of songs and a handful of exciting Quick Time Events.
Just like before, another of the Guardians’ past is delved into in “More Than a Feeling”, to discover what shaped them into the character they are now and what pushed them towards joining the Guardians of the Galaxy. Gamora is the main focus of the secondary narrative and we get a glimpse of the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ when she used to serve the brutal Thanos, alongside Nebula. That doesn’t mean Star-Lord isn’t front and centre though, as he realises that the Eternity Forge dilemma could cost lives and/or friendships. It’s just another day at the office for the Guardians; trying to save the galaxy.
The main problem here is that everything is too slow, quite depressing and doesn’t pick up until the last third really. I understand the need to tell a story and show a bit of emotional range to prevent it becoming a one-tricky pony, but kicking off proceedings by playing out a scene when Star-Lord was a kid and gets mocked about his mother being ill serves zero purpose. Mainly because the emotional reactions are so baffling; it switches from sadness and anger, to laughter, and then back to being angry all within about a minute, like the writers can’t make their mind up.
That’s followed up by a small action scene and a lot of chit chat after the source creating the flashbacks is found. I think I’ve had happier times being mauled by the zombies in Telltale’s The Walking Dead. Even the soundtrack can’t be relied upon to make everything better; a soundtrack which only contains one new song, “Shambala” by Three Dog Night, just isn’t enough. It’s not the greatest of tunes and it’s a shame there isn’t at least another one to instil the usual feel-good vibe of the series.
On the positive side, a new character is introduced – who most people will recognise from the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 film – and easily integrates themselves into the group; even though this person’s dialogue is a tad boring, it helps to create new dynamics between the Guardians. This also allows Drax, Rocket and Groot to get involved a bit more whilst the spotlight isn’t specifically on them.
Arguably the best part, and the saving grace of the entire episode, is the last chapter because of such an exciting and varied battle between the Guardians and Hala – the villain of the piece. All of the gang, and a few of their allies, have to work together to try and suppress the Kree. Obviously, you’ll need to press the buttons which are displayed on screen for the action to play out, but as it does, it gives a real thrill to the point where you’re ready for more. It’s a welcome change of pace that’s for sure.
I don’t think it helps though when the majority of the new locations in Episode 3 are slightly bland, whilst spending time on the Milano and in temples is now becoming a little samey. Mind you, the store that Star-Lord visits, as a young Peter Quill, is interesting with fake posters and items for sale offering something to gander at during an otherwise poor scene.
The thing with Episode 3 “More Than a Feeling” is that it’s a far cry from the mostly feel-good setting of the series and it suffers because of that. There are some strange writing choices, not enough difficult decisions to make and the pacing is far too slow. Where it succeeds is in the fantastic climax to the episode, with a battle to remember and a reason to want to join in next time. The voiceovers are spot on for the main characters and the visuals are of a decent standard as is expected.
I do believe this is just a minor blip that’ll it’ll recover from in no time, but it’s not a good as previous episodes of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series.