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“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy” – A charming surprise


When the “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy” game was released this past summer, I was not expecting to love it as much as I did. 

The disappointment of the game “Marvel’s Avengers’” loomed over this game’s release as both were published from the same studio. This game won me over with its incredible charm and focus on single-player action, great character beats and solid writing alongside witty humor. 

“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy” tells a broad story using comic origins and lore, while establishing their own unique take on Marvel’s traditional characters. This game takes place 12 years after Thanos and his empire were defeated in a galactic war. 

The player takes on the role of Peter Quill, better known to the galaxy by his nickname Star-Lord. He is a fast-talking Canuck with a knack for getting himself in trouble and head of the newly formed Guardians of the Galaxy, a group looking to gain notoriety and profit. 

The Guardians of Galaxy are made up of a misfit group of people. Gamora, the daughter of Thanos, is looking to leave her previous life behind and use her assassin skills to help the group protect the galaxy. Rocket the Raccoon and Groot are a mercenary duo always looking for work and credits. Rocket’s knack for trouble, as well as his tech expertise, make him an explosive and useful companion to have. While only Rocket can understand Groot’s language, his input is valued within the group. Drax, another member of the team, is a pained warrior. The dubbed “Thanos slayer” is haunted by the passing of his wife and daughter, as well as the raids that destroyed his home world. 

The relationships between the Guardians are front and center throughout the narrative of this game. Ambient dialogue is expertly weaved in by the developers throughout missions and on the crew’s ships. They talk amongst themselves while also considering where Quill is and what he is doing. It is some of the most impressive yet realistic dialogue I’ve heard in a video game and they rarely repeat phrases or conversations. 

The game truly shines when it dives deeper behind the surface of these characters. By taking the time to talk to crewmates and collect items for them, the player is rewarded with more information about these characters’ backstories. The darker moments of this game bring a type of depth one just can’t reach in the running time of a Marvel movie. This game takes the necessary time to give the depth the Guardian characters deserve. 

Drax’s dry personality and unknowing wit stay true to his MCU counterpart, while shedding light on the more tender parts of his personality. This allows the player to see how his family’s tragic passing continues to haunt him. Gamora and Rocket have similar backstories and arcs, revealing an inside look at the pain and personality they hide from the rest of the world. 

There are many narrative choices given while playing the game. When talking as Star-Lord, the player will often be given multiple choices as to what to say or do. These choices and actions heavily affect how the narrative will play out. The characters’ personalities come alive and the choices they make change others perceptions in how they view them. 

The game travels through several planets and ships throughout the Galaxy as it progresses through the story. Exploring them is a joy, as there are plenty of areas with collectibles and different characters looming around. In order to unlock every outfit and all the possible upgrades, it’s best to comb through every nook and cranny of these maps. 

Even though combat isn’t this game’s greatest strength, it manages to stay enjoyable throughout the game. You fight solely as Star-Lord, but as the leader you manage the Guardians’ special abilities. If you want Rocket to blow an enemy up, just click on him, select his ability and he will do as you say. There are four total individual abilities to unlock for the guardians through skill points. The more abilities unlocked, the deadlier the Guardians become. My favorite ability is Gamora’s stealthy swiping, which she can use to take down multiple enemies with her dueling swords.

Throughout the game, Star-Lord’s blasters get some upgrades. Freezing and electrocuting enemies are two prime examples. This, alongside a healthy variety of enemies, allows the game’s combat to stand on its own. 

Overall, I had a blast running through this 20-hour adventure. The “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy” game produced my favorite iteration of each Guardian yet. It could have easily been another soulless cash-grab game, hoping to turn a quick profit from its popular license. Instead, I was enthralled by a comedic, yet emotional adventure with a delightful cast of characters.

I encourage both Marvel fans and regular gamers alike to give this game a shot. Its heart and charm can win over even the harshest of critics. 

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