Guardians of the Galaxy


Guardians of the Galaxy

(available for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, Nintendo Switch and PC)
(Nintendo Switch Version is a cloud version and requires an internet connection at all times to play)
(PlayStation 5 version used for review)

My experience with Guardians of the Galaxy is that I have beaten the game 100% and got the Platinum Trophy on PlayStation 5 and unlocked, New Game+.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a mostly linear narrative-focused, action-adventure game developed by Canadian game developer Eidos-Montreal (who previously developed the recent Deus Ex: modern revival games as well as the final game in the trilogy of Shadow of the Tomb Raider reboot). It was then published by Square Enix.

It is a multi-platform release for PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox Series X & S, Microsoft Windows and a Cloud Version on Nintendo Switch simultaneously. My review however, is solely based on the PlayStation 5 version of the game.

Pro:

Graphical fidelity. The worlds of Guardians of the Galaxy are a real spectacle to behold from large vista’s to claustrophobic city sprawls. My favourite area was the first visit to the world of Knowhere (the floating severed head of a long dead Celestials, which was featured in the MCU film). Here, the world was populated with hundreds of NPCs walking around and performing tasks, so the world felt very real compared to other games released.

The game also features both a Quality Mode and a Performance Mode for gameplay that the user can switch between easily. Quality Mode raises the resolution to 2160p aka 4K but drops the frame rate to 30fps compared to Performance Mode decreases the resolution to 1080p buy increase the frame rate to 60fps.
Even when playing on Performance Mode, the Graphically fidelity for the character models and environments didn’t decrease too much with the only exception being Gamora’s hair which was not noticeable outside of cutscenes. 

Dialogue. The strongest aspect of this game is the dialogue between all the characters as it is where the game really shines. All the voice actors turn in a great performance each, especially the main 5 core Guardians.

The dialogue branches feel very inspired by the Telltale games formula (which is funny as Telltale made their own version of a Guardians of the Galaxy game). Then throughout the games the dialogue options matter, as they have an impact on the game later.

The best dialogue for me was delivered by Rocket performed by Alex Weiner, as they brought the humour from the MCU version of Rocket, while also adding a deep sadness to the dialogue about his backstory that was mostly similar to the comics and what he went through before joining the Guardians.

You can also find collectibles throughout the world to access new dialogue options when you are back on the Milano to talk to each Guardian as Star-Lord and learn more about their individual backstories that most fans who only watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe films will not know, as most of these conversations relate more to the comic book origins of the characters.

Collectibles. Scattered throughout the levels are various collectables for you to pick up. 

These range from dialogue collectables for the Guardians for expanded dialogue back on the Milano, files you can pick up to give more lore on what is happening in the story with the NPCs characters to broaden the story, and finally my favourite was the costumes you can pick up.

The costumes are a great inclusion as they are all from various Guardians of the Galaxy media from the past, ranging from comic book costumes straight from the page, to even the costumes from the MCU Guardians of the Galaxy film.

The best part about the collectables costumes (apart from how they all look great in game) is that each one is accompanied by a short text window giving some backstory on the costume from the perspective of the characters in this game- meaning that the characters have experienced most of the comic book events from over the years.

The costumes also tell the player what comic book issue they come from, the date of the comic, the staff of said comic book issue (including the writers, artists and editors). It’s a really nice touch that the developers at Eidos-Montreal took the time and effort to not only implement these costumes but to give full and proper credit to all of the creators of said costume.

Chapter select. When you finish a chapter in Story Mode, then you are free to go back to the main menu and select ‘Chapter select’, so you can replay old levels and pick up the old collectables you missed, rather than being a one and done thing were if you missed them then you have to start a new game file.

So this cut down on a lot of backtracking if you missed a single costume or a collectable in a level and is definitely most welcomed in such a narrative heavy game.

Then finally it’s great just to see what happens if you choose other dialogue options and to see the amazing cutscenes again as they do slightly change depending on your dialogue options you choose throughout the story.

Accessibility. Guardians features the best custom difficulty options I have seen in any game and really allows players to customise the game so they can play through the game no matter their skill level or disabilities (I have Dyspraxia and it’s great when games include options to allow a wider range of people to play the game).

Players can make the game harder for themselves through the custom difficult options or make it easier for players through the use increasing the damage dealt by the player and the Guardians, lowering the amount of damage the player receives, increasing shield regeneration rate, auto-winning Quick Time Events and finally changing the Hint system.

The Hint system delivers hints to players when they have been stuck in one location for a while without progressing. This is normally when the games light puzzle filled areas but for experienced players can reduce the frequency with which the game delivers hints to you or you can turn it off completely so the player had to figure out the puzzles without any outside help.

All these features are great and allow people who may not have played a videogame before or not an action-based one, to enjoy the story without constantly dying. The biggest help is the “Auto win Quick Time Event” option as the game does feature plenty of QTEs with some having some very strict timing that can be difficult to execute if the player has low mobility or poor reflexes.

It also features a great option for people who want to stream the game either on YouTube or Twitch as there is a “Streamer Mode” where you can turn off the licensed music from playing so the streamers don’t have to worry about copyright infringement issues.

Soundtrack. It wouldn’t be a Guardians of the Galaxy piece of media without an amazing soundtrack and this game definitely has a stand out soundtrack.

It is available on Spotify as a playlist from the official “Marvel Music” Spotify account. It includes all the licensed music which is nearly 30 bands from the 80’s ranging from Blondie to Motley Crue.

Then on top of all the great licensed music, it also features a new original band to give context to Peter choosing the name “Star-Lord” as they are a fictional band he listens to as a kid before going to Space and they have 5 songs on the soundtrack and they are some of the best songs and play during cutscenes and some battles. Zero to Hero and Space Riders with no names being the stand outs. 

Overall, this is the best soundtrack in any videogame in my opinion that isn’t a straight up song-based game (Like Rock Band or Guitar Hero, as they are literally song list the game).

Also yes, I did get Rickrolled and it happened to me 4 times throughout the game.

Con:

PlayStation 5 instability. This may have been a problem that very few countered, but I did happen to me 8 times when I Softlocked and 2 times when I hard crashed. Most of these have been catalogued on my personal YouTube channel Gundam Guru.

A Softlock is when the game is still running but it is physically impossible to continue in the game due to several reasons or making progress. A few of mine that I captured was in the first 5 minutes of the game, where you fly into the Quarantine Zone in the Milano, as when you are flying past the environment you fly past the corpse of a Nova Corp member and it didn’t render the next cutscene so the Milano flew offscreen but the camera hung on the corpse but the Milano was still making engine noises.

A hard crash is when the game completely shuts down to the PlayStation main menu and you get an error report. Luckily this only happened twice to me, once hilariously was when the game was booting up and went past the initial splash screen when the game loads the main menu. My game actually hard crashed before it got the main menu, which I had never seen before. 

The other time was in a combat situation late in Chapter 12 as I was in arena surrounded by enemies when the game hard crashed for the 2nd time. Luckily the game has a generous auto save and it placed a checkpoint just before combat happened so I didn’t lose too much progress.

Then I also had a few graphical bugs where there was a lot of texture flickering on flat surfaces like doors, or even before another Softlock I had in Chapter 13, a cave wall was improperly rendered so they was no visible opening for the Guardians to slide through to get to the other side. Luckily it was just a texture without a hitbox so the Guardians could pass through it to continue the level.

Slow start. Combat doesn’t really start to get hectic till Chapter 4 where you face enemies that potentially can kill your party.

So most of the early game features more exploration and minor enemies that are easily dispatched, like Space balls and Slugs that pose no issue and you are more likely to die by falling off platforms than any enemies.

Star-Lord weapons. This is only a problem at the beginning of the game in that his Element Guns are very weak, and you don’t have the combat options of using the other party members skills to compensate. 

So, players may feel offput at the start. Combat becomes really fun later when you juggle multiple abilities and rarely use your basic Element Guns for sole damage, especially when you can upgrade your Element Guns later as part of the plot so you rarely use the basic shot.

Conclusion:

Thankfully this is a lot better than Square Enix’s last Marvel game entry with The Avengers (Which the CEO of Square Enix Yosuke Matsuda recently came out and said he puts all the blame on the studio Crystal Dynamics, a very classy move when it was Square Enix interference that killed the game by implementing a terrible microtransaction system and padding out the game with excessive XP grinds which they then sold players XP boosters for real world money to alleviate a problem they created)

If you are a fan of the comics of the Guardians of the Galaxy then you will probably like this game more than the current Marvel films and previous Guardians games, as this is more faithful to the comic book origins.

It also has one of the best narrative based stories in a comic book videogame (that I won’t spoil but you should check it out), and if you enjoy single player games then Guardians of the Galaxy is definitely worth a pick up on your chosen platform.

I would say hold off on the PS5 version because of the numerous issues I encountered, and would recommend players play on an alternative system like Xbox or PC to circumvent the 8 Softlocks and 2 hard crashes I had. If the game was patched to be Softlock free then it would easily been in the high 8s or even in the 9s as it is a fantastic game, but these issues really hold it back from its full potential.

Cosmo is still best boy.

Score: 7.9

Reece Imiolek
Anime Amigo and Nerd Consultant

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