Friday, June 23, 2017

MadCap's Game Reviews - "Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series" (Episode 1)

Well, seeing as I liked both the movies, it was only natural that I would eventually tackle the Guardians of the Galaxy game by Telltale. I was interested when the first trailer was released, and I was equally interested when it actually came out, I just didn't get to it. But thanks to my local Gamestop, I have the entire season pass. And because the game itself has been milked out into five sections for maximum pointlessness, I'm likewise going to milk out this review in five parts for maximum page views.

That's right! MadCap has officially sold out!

Bring on the money!

In all seriousness, I've never played a Telltale Game before, though I've seen plenty about their Walking Dead series via internet memes. Mostly jokes about how the choices ultimately really DON'T matter. Needless to say, in the first section, I haven't seen much despite several menacing warnings that Rocket will remember this.

And that.

And that, too.

To begin, the Guardians are mucking around and apparently are completely divorced from the Marvel Cinematic Universe in that Peter Quill looks absolutely nothing like Chris Pratt. And I mean it's BAD. Really, really BAD. I'm not sure if they couldn't get the rights to the likenesses of the actors, but oh LORD does it just look bad. Quill looks more like Sean Gunn than he does Chris Pratt. Fortunately, the character's trademark wit and snark remain. The other Guardians are also very true to their counterparts, though the animations are a bit off for some. It may just be Telltales' style, but why is Gamora's hair purple? Why do Rocket's eyes look like he's seen some serious shit? It's curious to me, though it may just be a stylistic choice and I really just need to get over it.

But the art design isn't what people come to Telltale for! If the memes are any indication, it's because of something that someone will remember! That's right, choices! You get plenty. And plenty of Quick Time Events to break up your decision making. And that is basically the only mechanics there are in the game. You make some choices in conversation and in conflicts, you have a Quick Time event laden action scene, and repeat the process.

The actual game play boils down to that LA Noire style of things where you wander around environments and interact with them to find clues. Eventually, you trip over everything enough times to find the things you need. Rinse and repeat.

The plot, however, is where the game is actually very interesting and is  - as I've acknowledged before on this very blog - something that will get me to play almost any game regardless of how the mechanics are. The Guardians of the Galaxy go out and pursue Thanos, who has beaten the Nova Corps left, right, and center in order to get his hands on an ancient artifact known as the Eternity Forge. He does retrieve it, though after some minor puzzle solving and a lengthy series of quick time events, the Guardians do the unthinkable...and kill Thanos.

Let me repeat that, since I know those of my readers who read comics are going to be shocked.

The Guardians of the Galaxy go out and kill Thanos.

Y'know, Thanos? That guy who worships Death? That guy who once went out and got a gauntlet that let him casually wipe out half the universe with the snap of a finger?

Yeah. That guy.

And he goes down like a bitch, too.

Yeah. I can't get over it. The guy who it took half the Marvel universe to stop. Not kill, stop. He goes down so, so easily.  Of course, it turns out the Eternity Forge is able to resurrect the dead, so I doubt it'll be the last we see of the Big Purple Bastard, though they do try to lay it on thick as the galaxy celebrates the death of one of its greatest threats.

But the choices come onward again through lengthy cutscenes, having the player take the role of Peter Quill (for the most part) and interacting with the other memories of the Guardians in order to have conversations that will build on later events. Presumably, anyway. As of this writing, only Episode 2 has been released (yes, I'll be doing that next week) and the long-term effects of everything have yet to be seen.

On the whole, it's definitely not a bad first effort in a Telltale Guardians universe. It has the same problems of a lot of force decision games, but it does retain a great deal of what is beloved about the characters, as well as the somewhat goofy, somewhat serious style of everything. And, of course, excellent music as one would expect from a Guardians-related product.

Not much else I can say. Looking forward to the rest.

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series is now available from Telltale Games for Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, Playstation 4, and Xbox One.

For the latest from the MadCapMunchkin, be sure to follow him on Twitter @MadCapMunchkin.

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