And now, the end is near, it’s time for the Guardians to face their final curtain in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series. It’s been a rollercoaster ride right from the opener, without ever reaching great heights or massive lows along the way. Could the finale, “Don’t Stop Believin’”, buck the trend and deliver a climax to remember? Or should it bit written off as one of the rare mediocre series of the Telltale catalogue?
After the penultimate episode sent our band of unlikely heroes into disarray, things weren’t looking too good for the final act. Mantis upped and left as she grew tired of all the negative emotions surrounding the team, Drax sacrificed himself to save everyone else and Gamora fell out with Peter (Star-Lord) for one reason or another. Meanwhile, the villainous Hala is annihilating anyone in her path on the road to vengeance, with Knowhere being the next destination to feel her wrath. Even the mighty Star-Lord cannot stop the Kree warrior – who’s been enhanced by the Eternity Forge merging with her – with just Rocket by his side. What the hell is he going to do?
You’ve got to help him get the gang back together of course, which takes up the focus of almost half of Episode 5 “Don’t Stop Believin’”. The job is made a little easier, strangely, by one duo wandering back of their own accord, almost immediately after leaving. Before cracking on with the mission at hand, Groot gets the spotlight in a flashback, just like the rest of the Guardians have had previously. It’s a wasted opportunity though as it’s less about Groot’s backstory and more about the origins behind the group forming. There’s some humour, but I really hoped for a better, Groot-centric tale.
After that, Mantis’ role is to enter Peter’s mind to allow him to locate the missing team members; it’s an odd section where you’ve got to pick words to describe the emotions you feel to certain things, like some kind of counselling session. I felt it was a slow activity, in a bland looking environment, with sound bites regurgitated throughout. To make matters worse, it takes very little effort to get the others to rejoin once you’ve found them. It’s sort of all worth putting up with though for the impending battle.
Planning how to bring an end to Hala, assigning roles to the Guardians – although you’ll not see them performing the actions – and executing the initial plan is paced well. There’s always a spanner in the works though and it’s a welcome one as it leads to a full on assault from all the Guardians, in a truly exhilarating QTE filled encounter. The battle is almost as great as the one involving Thanos from Episode 1, mainly because of the teamwork element which shows off each members strengths.
I’ve been frustrated with the gloomy cloud hanging around most of the episodes, and although there are little moments in Episode 5 where the mood is low, the writing is a tad more uplifting to give hope for the ultimate test. In a turn of events, the saddest part comes during a final confrontation between Hala and Peter, as it makes you think about their motivations behind what they’re doing and how the way in which they deal with it has led them to become enemies.
Once the final act kicks in, the pace is ramped up significantly and to add even more excitement to proceedings, Telltale has chosen Heart’s “Crazy On You” to accompany the action. The soundtrack has been one of the strongest aspects of the series, and despite wishing there was an additional track, the sole tune is a worthy choice once more. I dare say that, given the title and the mammoth task at hand, Journey’s most addictive song would’ve been brilliant if it was put in there somewhere as well.
And sticking with the sound department, the voice acting is of a good standard all round, with Rocket being the most convincing of all, as he has been throughout. On the visual front not an awful lot has changed and the mains locations present are places we’ve been to before, so nothing stands out majorly, but it’s all decent – apart from inside Peter’s mind which was a real let down.
Overall, Episode 5 is an experience of two very different halves; a slow, slightly boring part talking about feelings and mending the broken team with ease, followed swiftly by an action-packed, fun-filled final half. The battle is a hell of a lot of fun, unleashing the talents of the Guardians and ending on a high with an emotional turn of events, which works really well. It makes the monotonous regrouping easier to forget, but I still think the end of the series could’ve been better all-round.
I think Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series on the whole has suffered from a writing standpoint, with too much doom and gloom forced into proceedings. It also doesn’t help that the main villain has to live up to big bad Thanos either. That being said, it’s generally been a good series, filled with classic tunes, and if you’ve come through the rest of it, then at least experience what is eventually a very exciting final confrontation between Star-Lord and Hala.