There’s just no stopping Telltale Games at the moment, picking up major licenses to use for their award winning games, time and time again. Step aside Batman, wander somewhere else walker, for the spotlight is about to shine on the greatest band of misfits this side of the galaxy… Marvel’s very own Guardians of the Galaxy. Just a few years ago, many would’ve not known who they are; now, after a hit movie and a highly anticipated upcoming sequel, they surely do. Let’s see whether Telltale have captured the delightful chemistry and draw of the Guardians, in a story driven adventure inspired by their comic book lives, in episode one “Tangled Up in Blue”.
Just in case you aren’t familiar with the Guardians of the Galaxy – consisting of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot – think of them as a team of completely different personalities, all working together to help protect the galaxy from the biggest and most evil of threats imaginable. They are also rather frequently breaking the law whilst doing so – these are your typical anti-heroes. I must admit, the first episode does enough to convey this and delivers just enough snippets of background information on each character, in various ways, for newcomers to picture the types of characters they are dealing with here.
The first episode thrusts the player into the tale, taking control of Star-Lord himself, at a point where the Guardians expertise is needed to help stop a massive threat to everyone, some might say a real Titan of an adversary… and this brings about an incredibly exciting way to kick off a new series. It’s without doubt a great start to “Tangled Up in Blue”, balancing an introduction of sorts with a highly intense conflict – a battle which Telltale may struggle to top as the series progresses. Then it’s a case of getting a glimpse of how the team reacts in the aftermath of it all, seeing their vastly different desires and attitudes.
Unfortunately there’s a bit too much of a lull in the middle of the episode, especially when the crew are back on the Milano – their ship – which involves some pointless interactions and a few less than exciting conversations whilst wandering around. Other moments where you’ll be traipsing around are at least slightly more enjoyable, given the addition of searching high and low, with the help of Star-Lord’s rocket powered boots, and an ability which allows players to see a computer generated image of previous events in the area you stand. Something similar was in the Batman Telltale series and it’s a cool way to show off the advanced tech.
Things always pick up when the action kicks in, but an episode shouldn’t rely on these moments to keep the player hooked. Speaking of action, the Quick Time Event sections really do test those reflexes, ensuring the fighting is engaging and exciting. The inputs needed to succeed can range from directions to single button presses, or a bit of both, with my favourite being the new shooting parts where triggers are used to blast enemies aside. A lot of personality shines through as the team works together in these moments too.
For the rest of the time though, you’ll be choosing dialogue options to further the story and relationships. And whilst the writing is of a decent standard, the choices aren’t too difficult as of yet, with only the one major decision to really put thought into. The voiceovers suit the characters greatly, especially Rocket, but then Nolan North is always going to be a terrific choice to voice a smart-mouthed and quick witted raccoon. Star-Lord, a.k.a. Peter Quill, is an exception to the greatness, because he appears to lack the much needed charisma and sounds like just an average bloke – not a quality you want in your leading character.
What really sets this episode up to stand out and lay down the tone of proceedings is the awesome trio of tracks chosen, bringing music of a bygone era to the modern day. These musical delights are from the likes of ELO and Buzzcocks; they had me swaying side to side and will definitely perk up anyone playing.
Episode one of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series is not the best opener to a Telltale series I’ve had the pleasure of playing, but it’s still a very strong beginning to a story about a crew of opposite personalities gelling together. Star-Lord lets the team down, with a real lack of personality and charisma at times, especially for a character of his stature. The action is pure quality though, with a tremendous foe to tackle so soon into the series. New features help it feel fresh and the overall lightheartedness is bolstered by a brilliant soundtrack. If only the middle wasn’t a bit drab and dreary, then it surely would earn a higher mark from me.
It’s certainly worth a look though, if only for a few giggles and the awesome fight scenes.