Dark Light

The last game that came out from Marvel X Square Enix, didn’t exactly set the house on fire. So expectations were low when Square Enix announced their next game in partnership with Marvel, The Guardian Of The Galaxy. All the hype leading up to the game, also fell flat. The game would only let you play as Peter Quill, its gonna be like Final Fantasy XV where combat is real time but you could give instructions to your companions, and of course SE decision to model their characters a little differently than their big screen counterparts. Everything seem like moving towards another train wreck. But you know what they say about the law of averages. So does Marvel’s Guardian Of The Galaxy able to save themselves or were they doomed to the same fate as their earthly counterparts? Let’s find out.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is an action-adventure video game developed by Eidos-Montréal and published by Square Enix’s European subsidiary. The game is available on the PS5/4, Xbox Series S/X, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Microsoft Windows. The game released on October 26, 2021.

Huddle Up For The Good Times

There are 2 distinct aspects of Marvel’s Guardian Of The Galaxy’s gameplay: combat & decision making. And as organized and organic the narrative driven decision making is, combat is as chaotic and haphazard. Remember those scruffs you had in your school’s playground, where your group of ‘The Boys’ took on another, and how chaotically that went. The hair pulling, the temporary 2 on 1s, the inevitable taken by surprise, and the constant shouting of instructions that YOU thought made some tactical sense. That’s exactly how the combat in Marvel’s Guardian Of The Galaxy is.

You enter combat and you start shooting. Your team-mates start doing their own thing, until you give them a command to use one of their skills, which they do and then go on with their merry ways, until the cool-down on the skill finishes. Rinse and repeat. Peter Quill has his own set of skills that he can unlock and use, and that’s it. Shoot, dodge, command, skill, shoot, dodge again. Rinse and Repeat. At least on the surface.

As you go along, you will realize that Peter Quill also has some special combos when he decides to team up with one of his colleagues. Different heavies in the game, also have different weaknesses which can be exploited by your partners in crime, for eg, while Gamora can slice off the shield generator off an enemy if timed right, Drax can rip off the arms of a giant robot if he is entangled by Groot’s roots. Plus Peter Quill has these elemental guns which need to be switched between so you deplete different kinds of shields. Towards the end the combat opens up with so much options that it can get a little overwhelming (4*4 Guardian skills + 4 Star Lord skills + 4 elemental attacks + QTE attacks) but until then you should have fallen into a rhythm of how a battle goes, kind of like how you start to see patterns in the random stars in the galaxy.

Of course, chaotic is what Eidos was going for with Marvel’s Guardian Of The Galaxy, and nothing underlines it best than the conversation that your team has during this battle. Shouting at the top of their lungs, letting you know their skill is good to go again, pointing out that one of your team-members is down, arguing among themselves, or just throwing shade at Peter Quill in general. Kind of like how a family cleans up before Diwali/Christmas, shouting and leering at each other and yet working together.

Amid all this though, when most of the team is down, and the enemies are overwhelming you, Star Lord has the option to call for a Huddle. The entire teams comes together for some impromptu pep-talk by Star Lord. Select the right option, and the Guardians receive a health and attack boost, along with an epic 80s Hard Rock background track for the rest of the fight. It’s that twist in the traditional formula that works for Marvel’s Guardian Of The Galaxy. This eclectic mix of real-time combat and that core RPG decision making, that makes the combat stand out from other games like it, or in this case make it work with the rest of the game.

When Not Shooting, We Are Talking

Because at its core Marvel’s Guardian Of The Galaxy is a comic book story that is waiting to be told. With chapters, long running arcs, origin stories, easter eggs, multitude of characters from the GoTG cannon and a story that keeps on going for way longer than you expected it to, Eidos Montreal don’t skimp on the storytelling. In fact, when you are not in a fight most of the game plays out like one of the games in The Walking Dead (albeit looking much better) with entire chapters and encounters ending or playing out differently depending on the choices that you make.

But that’s not even the kicker. The best part is how much care they have taken to make this narration work. The need for you to open your journal to learn about the backstory or about a collectible that you found, is almost entirely eliminated. Virtually everything that you could feel curious about, is explained in a conversation, whether organic or triggered. You don’t have to get out of the experience, and read lines and lines of text. It’s there for you to converse with, to ask question of and then be answered back in some very convincing voice acting. Because reading about how Rocket was tortured during his initial years pales in comparison to him telling you about it. It makes you feel invested, connected and immersed. All that sham-dig that makes a game good basically.

Your team is not all the people you meet though; Lady Hellbender, Cosmos, Fin Fang Foom, The Worldmind, and even deep cuts like Lipless. Milano is not the location you will spend most time on either, there is Knowhere of course, Lady Hellbender’s planet filled with exotic fauna and flaura, The Rock, The Quarantine Zone and even a planet which has freaking death slabs falling from the sky. It’s a deep dive into the lore of Guardian Of The Galaxy, and not a skin deep attempt to piggyback on the MCU success.

Real Talk

In many ways, Marvel’s Gardeners Of The Galaxy is an anti-thesis to how companies think successful games are made. They have made a narrative heavy game that decides to integrate story-telling into its game mechanics, instead of banishing them to the third tab on the pause screen. They have invested in amazing voice-acting and character models rather than re-playable missions. They have invested in single-player immersion rather than co-op gameplay. They have made a 20 hour long game for you to dive in, instead of creating 10, 15 minute missions and asking you to replay them over and over with your friends. They have given you the option of customizing the difficulty so that you can enjoy it how you want, instead of making difficulty tires a gameplay loop. And they have done it all wrapped in 80s Hard Rock.


With less time and more wisdom at my disposal, I have decided to create a whole new rating for games that I review. How many times in a week will I stay up after 11 PM, once my family has gone to sleep on a workday and spend 2 hours with it, knowing full well that I need to enter the rat race at 8 AM the next morning. Well on that scale, I give Marvel’s Guardian Of The Galaxy:

“All the time, till I have got the Platinum.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts