It’s been a little while since the third episode of the Guardians of the Galaxy series from Telltale launched, and I still haven’t forgotten the disappointment it brought. For the first time, I wasn’t really looking forward to the next outing, but then episode four arrived and I had to see if it really was just a blip. Does “Who Needs You” bring back a bit of fun to the most fun-loving crew in the whole galaxy?
It sort of does, but do bear with me as I explain.
Last time out, the delightfully naive Mantis got introduced to the story and the deadly Nebula became an honorary Guardian of the Galaxy to bring new dynamics to the group. It then climaxed with an epic battle between the Guardians and the badass Kree warrior Hala. Knowing all this, you’d have thought that it would’ve made for a great episode. Sadly, the pacing outside of that was painfully slow and the writing offered very little to create interest in what was going on outside of the action. There also seemed to be a lack of effort in trying to deliver anything other than pure doom and gloom, which didn’t work too well.
Episode four, “Who Needs You”, opens up at the temple where the Eternity Forge was to be destroyed and, in my case, Hala is furious about it all. I always appreciate a fast start and the QTE kicks in pretty swiftly, leading to some good ol’ fighting once more to get the adrenaline pumping. Eventually the Guardians end up underneath the temple, scouring dangerous caverns for a possible exit to reach the Milano and get out of there. Meanwhile, in flashbacks, the player gets a glimpse at Drax’s life before losing his wife and child, re-living a memory involving his daughter.
For the emotionally inept Drax, I was really moved by the unconventional relationship between the two and the bond which is conveyed successfully. As a result, I became more attached to this particular character and the payoff for this actually comes later in the episode. Having Drax as the focal point is really well done, achieving exactly what I believe the devs were trying to do, and it’s quite impressive. The rest of the crew however, well, they need to get a grip.
The writers have been sowing seeds of discontent within the Guardians and no matter the choices made on behalf of Star-Lord, someone is always disgruntled. It gets to the point where you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, and in this penultimate episode, the consequences begin to kick in. Sure, I’m glad that the decisions lead to things occurring, but the outcomes are all rather depressing, and not only does it make the episode sad, but also irritating and frustrating; especially having to listen to the bloody bickering. You know things are bad when Groot starts doing it too.
There’s a fair bit of action here and there to try to add excitement, with creepy worms being the main, uninspiring, threat to tackle. Aside from QTEs, a section utilising Star-Lord’s rocket booster boots leads to some strange platforming moments – the concept is great, but the execution needs work as it’s not very intuitive and quite sluggish, which isn’t ideal considering the time constraints in place.
Fortunately for Telltale, the musical accompaniments are brilliant, with two completely new tracks featured in this episode. When Jackie DeShannon’s “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” kicks in, a lovely moment is played out, whilst Queen’s energetic “Stone Cold Crazy” ramps up the thrill meter during an intense chase; both scenes are enhanced by the soundtrack, ensuring the maximum enjoyment from them.
In terms of locations for the current events, I found the treacherous caves to be lacking and the only other place visited is Knowhere, a place we’ve already been. The flashback takes us to a luscious area full of greenery and mountains; it’s a really lovely setting. Visually there aren’t any problems worth noting, and the voice acting is damn solid – but then the actors have almost always made the best of the script given to them.
Nothing could come close to the climax of episode three, but episode four manages to offer a better all-round experience. The emotional flashback focused on Drax is great considering he’s usually a stone cold killer, and the soundtrack is influential in elevating scenes. Pace-wise, everything is far more equally spread out, with dull moments soon counteracted by something going on. The fun factor just isn’t present enough for my liking, seeing the moaning and arguing being more prevalent than ever. These creepy worms aren’t exactly the most creative of enemies either, but the last big battle involving them is enjoyable.
Episode four of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, “Who Needs You”, is an improvement and just about gets me excited for the finale. Let’s hope it goes out with a bang!