Check out our in-depth Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy game review to see if it’s right for you, but warning—spoilers ahead.
For those still holding out for Cosmic Rewind or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the new Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy game from Eidos-Montréal is the perfect immersive experience to tide fans over for the time being.
And at $60, this 25-ish-hour-long game is less than half the price of a 1-day ticket to Disney California Adventure. So even those looking to ride Mission: Breakout! for their Guardians of the Galaxy fix should definitely consider snagging a copy of their own.
Seriously, that’s the review: This game is probably as close to perfect as can be, so if you like Marvel content at all, this is a must-have. If you really need a little more convincing though, read on; I’ve got (almost) only great things to say from here on out.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Game Review: From Zero To Hero (Of the Galaxy)
*Light spoilers ahead– But nothing beyond the first quarter of the game*
I’ll just get it out of the way: If you’re a fan of the Guardians movies, then you are in for a treat with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy game.
In fact, the game starts off in almost the same way as the movies do, with a brief look at Peter’s childhood back on Earth, before cutting right to him and the Guardians gearing up for their next gig.
The first chapter of the game sees the Guardians breaking in to a Nova Corps quarantine zone to capture a monster for a big payday. During this time, we’re introduced to all the usual suspects: Drax, Rocket, Groot, Gamora, all begrudgingly working together because Peter Quill convinced them that it’d be worth it.
In this time, enough exposition is laid out to make it obvious that the universe that this game takes place in is not the MCU, but rather its own original timeline that seems to borrow heavily from its movie counterparts while blending in more elements from the Marvel Comics.
The Guardians all have the same characterization and temperament that you’d expect from the movies, but with histories more in line with their comic book origins. Peter’s father is Spartoi. Gamora is still the adopted daughter of Thanos. Drax despises her for it and blames her for the death of his family. Rocket is a Kree-built super soldier. And Groot is, well, Groot.
Many of the story beats in the early game feel very familiar, almost parallel to the team-building sequences from the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, but that’s not to say that they share the same plot at all.
On the contrary, despite sharing many characters, settings, and themes, the Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy game from Eidos-Montréal holds its own against even the best Marvel movies. But in the interest of keeping this review spoiler-free, I won’t go on much further.
But I can guarantee just about any Marvel fan will have an absolute blast as they rock out through the 25-hour single-player campaign.
Note: Like any good Marvel movie, you’ll want to hang out after the credits. I wont say anything else.
Speaking of rocking out…
Rock Out on the Milano with ’80s Hits
There’s no debating it—the tunes in this rock. In fact, I could almost do a whole review of the Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy game music alone.
If you were worried that there’d only be a handful of licensed hits that get played to death, then fret no more. With 28 licensed songs from artists including the likes of A-ha, Wham!, Tears for Fears, Def Leppard, and Blondie, there’s a little something for everyone to sing along to.
Check out the embed below to get an idea of what you’ll expect to hear riding around in the Milano.
If that wasn’t good enough, there’s also an entire album’s worth of original hard rock material from the fictional band Star Lord, which gels perfectly with the ’80s hits in the soundtrack.
I’m not even a hard rock guy myself, and I still found myself humming along to tracks like Zero to Hero and No Guts, No Glory whenever they came up during Huddles– a very fun and interesting gameplay mechanic that I’ll get to in just a minute.
That isn’t all, though. On top of the familiar ’80s tracks and excellent original rock material, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy also has its own original orchestral soundtrack.
Credited to industry veteran Richard Jacques, this is what you’re going to be hearing the most of during exploration sequences, cutscenes, and combat arenas.
Like the rest of the music in the game, the orchestral score sets the mood and atmosphere just right as you’re exploring the Andromeda galaxy with your rag-tag group of Guardians.
You can hear familiar themes from all throughout the MCU in the orchestral tracks. This music really drives home the fact that Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a playable Marvel movie.
Note: If you’re planning on getting the soundtrack through the Digital Deluxe edition, you should know that it only includes 10 of the 72 tracks from the game: three Star Lord tracks and seven orchestral pieces. If you want to listen to the soundtrack in its entirety, you’ll have to go to Spotify for that.
As someone who spent $10 on the Digital Deluxe upgrade specifically to get the soundtrack in high-quality FLAC format, this was probably the biggest disappointment of the entire experience … which, all things considered, really isn’t so bad
Step into Star Lord’s Jet Boots
What’s a video game without gameplay? Even games with top-notch plot, visuals, and soundtracks can still fall flat when it comes to the actual bits where you have to shoot stuff.
Thankfully, that’s not an issue with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. While it can be a little awkward to get a hold of at first (and don’t worry, there’s plenty of tutorials to help you along the way), the combat mechanics of Guardians definitely feel like they were built from the ground up to put the player in the boots of Peter Quill.
While simple, the combat of Guardians never gets old. Star Lord only has access to his pair of high-tech Spartoi blasters, but as the leader of the Guardians he—and by extension, the player—has control over the Guardians’ abilities that they use against the hordes of enemies standing between your crew and their big pay day.
Abilities play a major part in the combat loop of Guardians, with each member of the crew having a very distinct set of skills that make them all perform differently on the battlefield.
For example, Groot can use his vines to ensnare and immobilize foes, Rocket has access to various explosives and grenades, Gamora can be ordered to deal big damage to a single enemy, and Drax is an expert in tripping up and staggering foes, leaving them open to attacks from the rest of the Guardians.
Star Lord has his own set of abilities as well, designed to help the player take command of the battlefield, such as using his jet boots to hover above foes for a short period of time.
Using abilities in combat will fill the Huddle Meter, which if I’m being honest, is my absolute favorite part of the entire game.
Guys! Huddle Up!
The Huddle mechanic is so cool, in fact, that it deserves its own section in this game review. Huddles are hands down the number one mechanic in the entire game that really make you feel like a Guardian of the Galaxy. Once your Huddle Meter is full, Star Lord gets the ability to stop time and call a huddle to rally the rest of the Guardians together and change the tide of battle.
During a Huddle, the other Guardians all group together in front of Star Lord to give their thoughts on how the fight is going, and it’s up to you as the leader to choose the right pep-talk to boost the Guardian’s confidence and guarantee a win.
Choose right, and all of the Guardians, including yourself, get a big damage boost and instantly recharging abilities for a brief period of time. Choose wrong, and only Star Lord gets the buff from the Huddle.
That’s not all, though. After completing a Huddle, Star Lord presses play on his Walkman, and for the rest of the fight, you and the other Guardians all fight alongside each other while a random ’80s hit or Star Lord track plays in place of the regular combat music.
It’s during these times that I really felt like I was in the jet boots of Star Lord, chewing through baddies alongside my best pals in the Galaxy while Billy Idol played in the background.
My only complaint is that the Huddle Meter fills a little slowly, making these experiences few and far between. But that just makes it all the more special every time Star Lord calls a Huddle.
Guardians Isn’t Just for Gamers
Now, I’m sure it’s safe to assume that most of our readers aren’t the same sort of “seasoned gamer” that I am, but the folks at Eidos-Montréal have made sure that Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a game that can be enjoyed by just about anyone.
With completely customizable difficulty settings and a plethora of accessibility options, even those who haven’t played much beyond Candy Crush or Play Disney Parks will still be able to comfortably navigate through the various environments and battlefields in the game.
Everything from damage dealt and received, to how often you can use Guardian abilities, to how easily your allies fall in combat can all be adjusted at any point during the campaign. So, even if you start the game and realize a few hours in that the experience is a little too tough, you’re always just a few options away from easing up the difficulty.
The accessibility options don’t stop there, though. In fact, there’s an entire category in the setting menu dedicated to making the experience more accessible to everyone. It doesn’t matter how sharp of a shot you are, or how dexterous one is at handling a controller or keyboard– there are options here that can make the game practically play itself.
So, if you’re someone who’s simply looking for an interactive Marvel experience, without having to worry about reloading checkpoint after checkpoint, then these options are sure to please.
That’s not to say that all of the options in the accessibility menu are just there to make the game simpler for the less experienced. It’s all about tailoring the gameplay to the player’s needs, and there’s one option I personally turned on pretty early.
For those not familiar with them, “Quick Time Events” (or QTE for short) are brief interactive sequences during gameplay and cutscenes that require the player to mash a button or something like that in order to continue. Fail the QTE, and you’re forced to reload a checkpoint.
Personally, I can’t stand QTEs. I feel like they interrupt the flow of the game and seemingly pop up at random, more often than not catching me by surprise and causing me to fail the event. Thankfully, someone on the development team seems to share that sentiment with me, and I was able to bypass these events altogether by simply selecting “Auto-Win Quick Time Events.”
This is something that I’d suggest turning on from the start, unless you want to watch Star Lord and the other Guardians perish in various, sometimes spectacular, ways.
Putting the “Teen” in PG-13
Just because the accessibility options and difficulty settings make it easy for anyone to play Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, that doesn’t mean everyone should. From the very start of the game, it’s obvious that the writers are skirting by on their T for Teen ESRB rating by the skin of their teeth.
Between the suggestive themes, violence, and liberal use of “Scut” and “Flark” in place of the usual 4-letter curse words, this is definitely something I’d advise parental guidance on before allowing kids below the age of 13 to play.
Some of the jokes are so raunchy even, that I’m surprised that this game isn’t rated M instead. The writing sounds like it came straight out of an ’80s PG-13 movie. Sure, that definitely adds to the retro ’80s charm that the game has going for it, but if you think your child is too young to watch Gremlins, then this is definitely beyond them.
Not only that, but when it comes to the Guardians recalling their violent pasts in conversations with the player, they don’t hold back any punches. I’m not going to spoil anything here, but I can say that it does get pretty dark at some points.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Game Review
In case it wasn’t obvious, I adore this game—and I’m pretty critical when it comes to the stuff I play. After the disappointing debut of Marvel’s Avengers, I was cautious of the newest Marvel title from publisher Square Enix, worried that Guardians would be full of microtransactions and other sorts of content walls that would add hidden fees to my $60 experience.
However, whatever concerns I may have had about the game were totally and utterly blown out of the water once I started to actually play it. Aside from a few glitches that required me to reload my last save, the experience was unmatched. I don’t think I’ve had this much fun with a video game since Doom Eternal released last year.
Better yet, there are no microtransactions, no DLC, no multiplayer, none of the usual trappings that one might expect from a modern AAA title.
For $60, you get a full game, and a pretty flarkin’ good one at that.
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