I like Telltale Games. There…. I admitted it. From Game of Thrones to Tales from the Borderlands and the heart wrenching Walking Dead series, it’s fair to say that I have developed a soft spot for this publisher and the stories they tell. So, when it was announced that Guardians of the Galaxy, the group of misfit a-holes with an old school rock soundtrack would be the next episodic series to join the catalogue, I was pretty excited by the concept. The first episode is now available on PS4, Xbox One, PC and mobile so I thought I would give you a little insight into what to expect!
Let’s start with our Guardians, Peter Quill aka Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and of course, Groot. They’re all here and after becoming well established characters in the 2014 movie, I really like what Telltale and the fantastic voice actors have done with them. You may even be forgiven for not recognising Nolan North playing Rocket but he delivers a great performance along with the rest of the cast. I was really intrigued to see how Telltale Games would present them to us and fit them into the well-known play style that has continued to develop over the last few years. As far as the setting goes, you’ll spend time in a few different locations such as Star-Lord’s shop, the Milano and Knowhere, the home of the colony that lives in the head of a dead Titan and the location of Bar Bo’Lakks where you’ll spend a little time blowing off some steam.
There’s no denying that the game has you smiling from the beginning as Livin’ Thing by Jeff Lynne opens Tangled Up In Blue. This musical theme continues throughout but doesn’t overdo it in any way as the soundtrack occasionally takes a break only to throw another classic track your way to get you grooving again. As someone who has tracks from the film soundtrack as their morning alarms, I am looking forward to the remaining episodes to see what awesome songs will be on offer next. The story line (which I will do my best not to spoil) does not follow the film and is not the origins narrative you may have expected but, instead, joins our Guardians as they try to assist the ill-fated Nova Corps with a Thanos problem which leads to Peter obtaining the Eternity Forge, a relic which seems to provide the ability to bring back the dead. Of course, they’re not the only ones who become interested in harnessing the power of this relic and pretty soon they are fighting Kree to maintain possession of it.
At this stage, I’m interested to see how this story arc will continue and develop as more episodes are released but as an opening act, it’s an enjoyable 1 ½ to 2 hours of gameplay. The Telltale gameplay style of choosing your responses in conversations, investigating areas to find the item you need and of course those decisions which will potentially affect your friendships with the other Guardians are all present and correct. But Telltale have been getting more adventurous with the action in their games over the last few releases and the quick time event combat sections are certainly getting slicker and a little more tricky which is quite refreshing and kept me on my toes. There is a battle sequence in which you seamlessly switch between Guardians and one at a time, unleash your attack before to screen pans around to let you take over someone else. With Telltale’s aim being to have each episode focus on a different Guardian, I’m looking forward to playing with all of them and seeing whether the choices I have made on the other characters will affect the overall ending. In this episode, the right balance between QTE sections, dialogue and ‘investigation’ sequences has been struck as I didn’t feel like any part dragged on or seemed impossible to crack.
The focus for this act is on Peter and the Eternity Forge gives us a little insight into how he came to be in space and his relationship with his late mother. The movement between past and present was well executed in Tales from the Borderlands and I’ll be interested to see how the Eternity Forge approaches this method of storytelling throughout future episodes. Now if you’ve seen the film, you’ll be familiar with the Chris Pratt approach but the dialogue choices for Peter include caring, level headed and obnoxious. He also has decisions to make which will let him side with different members of the team which have left me a little worried that Rocket will hate Peter by the end of it all due to the choices I made! Being in control of Star-Lord also enables you to get to grips with his space booties as you can fly between levels allowing you to investigate areas that would usually be out of reach. He also has a comms link that provides additional dialogue with the rest of the crew when needed which provides a little more backstory.
Overall, Telltale have delivered a cinematic, action adventure which lends itself to this particular story and makes me wonder if more franchises will want their stories transformed and included in this successful library of games from the publisher. I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode of Guardians of the Galaxy and got sucked into it to the point where I wish episode two were here now so I could continue for where the story left us! If you are a keen follower of the Telltale series and you have enjoyed the development of their storytelling techniques over the years then you won’t be disappointed. I’m really looking forward to playing with all of the characters and seeing what the Eternity Forge will do to our band of unlikely heroes. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some classic rock to listen to while I wait for episode two to swoop in and take me back to our Guardians in the stars.