Ever since Telltale Games released The Walking Dead in 2012, I’ve changed my perception of the story based, graphic adventure genre. They always seem to know how to engage the player inside the world that they are portraying, with a focus on character attachment and amazing narrative. They did not disappoint with the release of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy – A Telltale Series. They bring back the beautiful cell-shaded art style, along with great voice acting from folks like Nolan North and Scott Porter.
As a heads up, this review contains massive spoilers. If that’s not your thing, skip to the end for a quick synopsis of what I thought. Otherwise soldier on!
Episode 1: Tangled Up in Blue starts off with Peter Quill, also known as Star-Lord, on a mission on the Kree planet in search of the Mad Titan, Thanos. You find that Thanos was encountered by the Nova Corps, a space militia group from the planet Xandar. Just like most Telltale games, you take control of the character and progress through the story by interacting with either characters or the environment. It needs to be mentioned that Telltale has implemented a multiplayer feature where friends can connect to the game using mobile devices to vote on decisions as they appear. This is a cool feature that allows everyone in a room can to take a part in the story and influence its progression. Eventually, Quill makes it to Thanos, who’s searching for am unknown floating artifact. After a brief narrative, the whole Guardians of the Galaxy team engages in a battle with the Titan. The fight involves you taking controls of all the Guardians and by either attacking or maneuvering with a series of quick time events. The success of the battle completely relies on your quick reflexes to either press a button or hit an analog stick in a certain direction in a short amount of time. One of the few complaints I have with the game has to do with exactly this, as the game wasn’t registering all button presses, causing me to die at times throughout the game. Once you do succeed, you make it to a scene where Rocket Raccoon breaks out a huge gun, shooting Thanos, who then falls to his demise.
After the fight, the crew checks Thanos’ body, and takes the floating artifact from the pedestal. Fast forward a bit and you see the Guardians celebrating in a bar, being recognized as the heroes that killed the mad Titan. They celebrate so much that, after waking up on the floor, you find out that everyone accrued a large tab that you are unable to pay. Rocket comes up with the idea to sell the body of Thanos to The Collector, a being that collects rare species and artifacts. Gamora, the green adopted daughter of Thanos, recommends to turn over the body to Nova Corps for the bounty.
This is where decision making in the game comes into play. Just like other quick time events, you have the option throughout the game to make decisions that can impact the direction of the story. Typically with Telltale games, you’ll find yourself with 5-6 key decisions that either affect where the story goes, or how characters feel or react towards the player. Like other Telltale games, this one suffers from freezing after button presses in QTE or other story based decisions, halting the game for a second and sometimes even longer. You would think after updates and game engine changes these issues would have been fixed. Apparently not. This happened to me more than a few times and ruined certain moments for me.
Regardless of the decision you eventually make, Star-Lord makes his way back into his quarters to inspect the artifact. Just as he does, it begins to glow, and Peter finds himself reliving a memory of his past as a child. He’s riding in a car with his mother and conversing about a fight from day before. For those of you who haven’t watched the movie or read the comics, Peter had a strong relationship with his mom, who died when he was very young, and it still impacts him emotionally as an adult. Peter then “wakes up” from this dream sequence still standing with the artifact in his room. Gamora tells him he’s be standing there talking to the artifact while hours flew by. He’s been there so long that they already arrived at the planet of your choice. They then exit the ship to make the transaction for Thanos’ body. As the discussions for payments are being made, the group is ambushed by by Hala the Accuser and a few Kree soldiers. She tells the group that she is there for the artifact, which we learn is called the “Eternity Forge”. A fight breaks out between the two groups, ending with Hala escaping with the artifact. The player must then make a decision to pick another guardian to join then on their assault on the Kree ship.
Upon arriving, Peter searches for the bridge where Hala is located. The ambiance here is outstanding; I really felt like I was on an alien ship. And there were plenty of things to find on-board. The guardians continue on while avoiding guards to get to Hala. You find her having a conversation with the Eternity Forge, and she throws and hold her spear telekinetically at the characters neck to keep them at bay. She reveals her evil plan to use the Eternity Forge to bring back the lives of her son and the Kree people, whose planet was killed off by Thanos, but to do this she requires millions of bodies to bring them back to life. She then plunges her spear into Star-Lord’s chest, causing him to fall to the ground. Your chosen partner attacks Hala in response, and Rocket brings the ship around to the front of the bridge to follow up with a missile barrage, causing her to drop the Eternity Forge. Your partner grabs the artifact, along with Star-Lords body, and escapes from the Kree ship. Back on the Guardians’ ship, everyone is enraged and saddened by the death of their leader. As they talk about what to do next, the Eternity Forge rises and emits a glow once again, placing the player back into a past memory of Peter Quill. You find yourself once again as a young Peter, this time at his mother’s funeral. As you are sit on the pew at the empty church, you are approached by the alien space pirate Yondu, who asks Peter if he’s ready to leave Earth, to which Peter sadly says he is. After Yondu and young Peter leave, adult Peter appears in the church and approaches the coffin, when suddenly his mother appears. She tells Peter that he must find her, and she places her hand on his chest, and he begins to glow. Peter awakens back in present time, alive and well, much to the shock of the rest of the Guardians. He previously gaping chest wound is now perfectly healed. The credits roll, and you are able to review the decisions that impacted the story, leaving you on a cliffhanger until the next episode.
All of this was completed in about an hour and a half, short even for a Telltale game, but this is only the first episode. Telltale has revealed that the series will consist of 4 future episodes to complete the story. I do plan on going back and trying out a few different decisions to see how it changes the narrative. All in all, this was a fun little story to play. The technical issues were persistent and caused plenty of frustration, but the overall experience was well worth those difficulties. I’d recommend Guardians of the Galaxy – Episode 1: Tangled Up in Blue to any Guardians or Telltale fan.
- It's a Marvel Telltale Game
- Intriguing Story
- Good Pacing
- Neat Multiplayer Feature
- Some Controller Input Issues
- Game Freezing