Liam Ferguson reviews Eidos Montreal’s Guardians of the Galaxy
When Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics released Marvel’s Avengers into the world in 2020 as a soulless multiplayer looter shooter style game, there was disappointment among fans. After the success of games like Insomniac’s Spider-Man, there was a desire for more great, single-player games set within the Marvel universe. Cut to 2021 and we have just that with Square Enix and Eidos Montreal’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which stands as one of the year’s very best titles.
The story within Guardians is simple, the player controls Peter Quill and ventures across various planets in a completely linear structure alongside the team of Guardians made famous by the MCU. However, these characters are not simply MCU reskins, each one has their own unique quirks and designs that make them stand out from their big screen counterparts. The game excels narratively with the relationships between Quill and the rest of the team. I found the best parts of the game to be when I was mass-effect style talking to crewmates and deepening my understanding of where they came from in this immensely interesting world that has been set-up. Rocket, Groot, Gamora and Drax all have their own motivations and reasons for being a part of Quill’s team and each one of them have their own time to shine within the game’s roughly 12 hour long story.
The character dynamics are only accentuated by the gameplay at hand. Combat is not hugely full of depth but it does drip-feed the player enough new abilities at a consistent pace to keep things fresh. Controlling Peter, the player will dodge, fly and shoot their way through waves of enemies whilst initiating combos with other Guardians by issuing orders to them in a similar fashion to Final Fantasy XV. On top of this, the player can charge up a huddle mode in which Quill has the option to give a rousing speech to the Guardians. Successfully motivate the team, and licensed music will begin to play alongside a power-boost for everyone. Outside of combat, the player will walk through areas, exploring a beaten path and solving light (and slightly janky) environmental puzzles while being barraged by witty dialogue from the Guardians, subtly building up each character and the team dynamic itself. The player is constantly given telltale-esque dialogue options and choices that don’t actually affect progression very much but give a great illusion of choice to better pad out the experience.
Killing a horde of giant space-worms to Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give you Up should not work as well as it does
The game is also breathtaking to look at, with some of the best facial animations I have ever seen. The score is excellent and, as expected from this team of Marvel heroes, the licensed music spliced throughout the adventure is implemented to perfection. Killing a horde of giant space-worms to Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give you Up should not work as well as it does, yet it is some of the most fun I’ve had with a game all year.
Through immaculate music design, an emotionally resonant story and top-notch character writing, Guardians of the Galaxy stands out as a fantastic title. Despite some janky level design flaws every now and again, the game soars spectacularly and is easily Eidos Montreal’s best work to date.