Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Bust a Move

When it was announced Guardians of the Galaxy was going to be an MCU film, people were pretty sure it was going to be a huge flop. A talking raccoon? A tree that only says one sentence? Schlubby sitcom star Chris Pratt as the lead on a property that’s niche even among comic book nerds? No chance this will succeed. But here we are seven years later and Guardians of the Galaxy is one of Marvel’s biggest franchises.

Odds are they might not have given it a shot if they had the rights to Fantastic Four or X-Men at the time, but that’s neither here nor there. The off-beat, 70s soundtrack-infused action-comedy made the Guardians major players. The wild team of loveable outlaws and crazy sci-fi setting seem perfectly set for a video game, and while wisely not tied to the MCU, we have a game starring everybody’s favorite space-faring superhero team that bears more than a few similarities to their MCU counterparts.

However, much like the beleaguered Marvel’s Avengers released last year (also published by Square Enix, though with different developers) Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy faced an uphill battle. It’s not just that people were wary after the live-service focused game starring Earth’s Mightiest Heroes that has continued to have a bumpy road since launch, but when the game was first unveiled at this year’s E3 several months ago, it wasn’t very warmly received due to its prominent placement and lengthy showing in a showcase where people were definitely looking for anything but a Marvel game. People were not keen on the idea that you only played as team leader, Star Lord either, he seemed like the least interesting character to play as. Everything seemed to be set up for another middling, disappointing AAA misfire of another Marvel property.

But as it turns out. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is… pretty dang good? Like your mileage may vary for sure. The game is heavy on gun combat and can get a little confusing at times as you try to figure out what is the best type of elemental shot to use along with firing your regular shots and what sequence of commanding your squad to use their special maneuvers in the best way to defeat enemies. It can be pretty chaotic. But it also feels dang good to pull things off well and surprisingly, the “huddle up” mechanic, where you gather your team and deliver an inspirational speech (that can fail with the wrong choice) and then power them up with any one of a couple dozen 80s pop hits, never gets old.

Guardians of the Galaxy is also actually a throwback in more than just music, it definitely feels like a character-action game circa 2005, and I mostly mean that in a positive way, they really don’t make a ton of games like this anymore, where it’s a pretty linear story (though there are some choices you make you can revisit later) without a whole lot of fat on it and the expected kind of basic upgrade tree for the characters. Maybe for some these days, that’s asking a lot for $60, but if you have a good time with the game I don’t see it that way.

The other thing about the game that may sound like a negative to some is that it really never shuts up. Like the characters talk constantly whether you are in combat, in a cutscene or just walking around. That could definitely be grating but I think the writing is pretty sharp and occasionally extremely funny. Really my only actual complaint is that dialogue will often cut off dialogue already happening so I miss out on a bit of flavor or a punchline and it’s honestly a bummer because again I think the writing is extremely good.

If the above doesn’t really sound appealing to you, fair maybe this game isn’t for you and that’s totally fine. But if you want a fun, well-written character action game with a pretty linear plot, for the most part, you really should give Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy a go. Like this could honestly be a great template for future Marvel action games, take the time to make something that feels like it keeps the spirit of what you know with its own spin on the IP (because there are definitely some key differences for example Drax killed Thanos in this game’s timeline) without being tied to release on any particular movie or TV show. I really hope this isn’t the last we see of this particular version of the galaxy’s biggest losers and it’s frankly one of the best surprises of this year.

That’s all for today, I will try and have something up later this week but the holidays are already kicking into high gear for me so another post may wait til next week. Either way see ya real soon!

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Main Street Electrical Arcade

All about Disney games, past present and future. Mix of reviews, opinion pieces and anything else that fits here.