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Review | Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

"Tomb Raider in the space, but with good story and even greater characters! And with the much worse exploration factor while offering the same level of quality when it comes to combat (basic and just too straightforward)"

by Foggy, 15-01-2022, Edited by: Jim

Eidos-Montréal is famous for Deus Ex titles, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. That team was in charge to create a new Marvel game sponsored by Square Enix. I skipped the last Marvel game (plus, I’m not a fan of their movies so much), but hearing about the game and how good it is, of course I had to try. Mostly I can agree with people about the level of quality and fun that awaits new players. At the same time I have big problems with some of the game mechanics, so I want to talk about the whole package.

Before we start, let’s talk about game technical options. I’ve played the game on my PS5 in Performance mode (stable fps > graphics) and I can suggest the same for the others. Graphics are top-notch even in this mode, and playing in stable FPS is what a lot of people like. You can adjust the difficulty levels, subtitles and few other options as well, this time using multiple preferences. I salute that, usually we get few options for adjustments, but this game has more. I had 0 crashes while playing, but fps drop happens here and there, especially in your spaceship (which is weird, spaceship is the smallest area of the game). Let’s dig in!

Welcome to the universe! We will visit the edge of the universe and we have Groot! Come on in!

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is in my opinion the worst of 3 latest Tomb Raider games. I can remember the clunky physics and bad melee combat, but I also remember having fun. When you talk about story and the journey with the crew here, I would say that this game is above their other games. The chemistry and how well they paced the conversations, topics and how well is the voice acting; all of that is at a high level of quality. I just think that Tomb Raider games do a better exploration than this one, while this one excels at the story (which is where Tomb Raider was bad).

Journey across the universe and planets you will traverse across, people you meet along the way and their synergy is awesome. I loved the crew (Peter, Drax, Rocket, Gamora and Groot) so much. Conversations between them on every second of the story is what drives you forward. It’s often very funny, witty and they curse so much! Although they say “flarking” except the you know what, but just imagine. When Groot answers everything with “I am Groot” I laughed. For me, the journey was a lot of fun. On the other hand, I had big issues with the combat and with the exploration. Even the above aspect I just talked about can’t save the game from its weakest points.

Spending time with your crew in your spaceship is fun, but most of the conversations you can initiate were not so much fun, but have in mind that I played this for the game itself, not as a fan of this franchise (if we talk movies).

It's hard not to ask your crew member what is wrong. They are family. All optional conversations takes place so you can see the view, and I like them views! Gomora is the best, if I could, I would date her (in the game).

Following Peter (the protagonist) and his perspective from when he was young, cooperating with your space friends in the future (actually the present), shooting at everyone – that is what you will do. For 20 hours approximately. It’s a good duration for a story-driven game, especially when the story segment is strong and pulls you in at all times. Add top-notch soundtrack to the formula, and you have a strong GOTY candidate. I just want to mention that even though the OST is full of hits, that is still the music from some other bands, and that was not created for this game (just the Star Lord band’s songs are), so I appreciate original OST’s from games much more (It’s so much harder to create music for a game than to create a compilation, even though that also takes some consideration).

Following Peter and the crew in the combat – not so good. Now, I can understand that some people do not like hardcore gameplay mechanics and tough challenges, but this is just ridiculously easy (plus boring when you do the same thing for 20 hours). The whole combat comes down to running around, holding the shoot button and dose the shoots with elemental powers while commanding your crew to pull special attacks when their special bar is full. I literally explained you the whole combat section. Skills and perks you can unlock will give you some diversity in this aspect, but it’s still very basic. I maxed out everyone when I was around 70% of the game, so at that point towards the end exploration made no sense (it even doesn’t when you look for upgrade items prior to maxing out).

Taking down enemy shields with different elemental shoots you learn is fun in a way. It was fun for a fight or two, then it went back to being boring. Maybe it’s just me, but I almost even hated the combat. To me combat was something I couldn’t wait for it to be over so I can continue enjoying the view and conversation between my space crew. Move finishers and melee attacks are an embarrassment. It just feels so clunky. Also, doesn’t help when you finish an enemy and that enemy just flies around while you kick the air. If we ever get a sequel, I hope this will be fixed. And what’s with the Team Huddle move? It just takes your time. Equipment comes down to collecting outfits, nothing more.

Not bad, not terrible. I really need better combat, more challenge and better RPG system (this even can't be called that). Space flying is cool, but also basic. What's with the basics here, no time for more complex combat systems?

Locations are simply beautiful. I have so many pictures. Of course, I have my favorite planets and some that I’ve already forgotten. Views are stunning. I must praise the visual side of the game before I start pointing out the bad stuff.

The linearity is not a problem, really. Making linear games is for me the best approach, but there must be something that will occupy you and make you enjoy it. Here, we don’t have that. There are multiple branching paths you can take, but they all lead to the same destination. You can find some collectibles and upgrade materials if you look around, even though most of the time you go forward.

You can also use special field abilities of your crew like squeezing Rocket through tight passageways, kicking walls with Drax, reaching high places with Gomora or commanding Groot to build bridges using his vines. It’s just too basic. I was never stuck, puzzles are basic and rare… And the double jump, I usually love it, but I hated it here. You can’t run and jumping feels weirdly off. Beautiful game that will make you do some choices, but never offering depth. I also don’t understand some levels where you control your spaceship, which is scripted and you can’t really die (you really need to try). What is this, a Telltalle game?

There is just too much to take a picture of. I tried, I really did, and you should too (the direction our games are heading is a good one, this will soon look better than real life). Too bad we can't explore much more to see the full beauty.

If you ever played Deus Ex games, you know there are choices and consequences for bad ones. It’s similar here (but not really). This is another benefit of a dynamic story flow, but it’s just too bad this one isn’t as dynamic as one may think. You are often in the middle of some fight between your crew, so you can soften up the situation or just be against everyone. You will witness how the relationship between your members matures as you survive tricky situations, but you can still decide to toss Rocket around so you don’t have to crawl caves to reach your goal. We can say that choices like these are the smallest ones (if we talk impact).

You can finish some chapters with a different choice. That will affect the scenes in the future (for example, you can cut of the hand of one villain and he will of course have only one hand later, or you can save some friends on the way and they will help you overcome some fights easily). I call this a medium effect.

Then we have the big effect, and that would be only 1 chapter. Depending who you offered as a hostage results a different path on the next planet. I need more of this. Some conversations and scenes just goes in loop until you select correct answers. It’s not so dynamic. All outcomes have the same finish, just minorly different. There are no different endings, different paths or different plot directions. It’s fine, but just know that you can’t really change much.

I don't think I need to say once again that I love the crew. And Mantis is awesome (they all have perfect voice actors). I am Groot!

We can say this game excels at story-telling by creating a perfect synergy between you and your crew. That is the best part. Enjoying the conversations while traversing breath-taking planets is the next best thing, but the combat and exploration factor were its weakest point. If only that was better and we have a more rewarding game, with more platforming sections, hidden paths etc.; I’m sure this would kick 90+ meter. Becouse of its strong points, I will grade this game accordingly (it's not often that you have such a great team and conversations + humor); alhough I really think the grade is 2-3 points lower.

Even though some might share the opinion and impression with me, I think bigger number of gamers will love the core much more than focusing on the bad stuff. That is ok, and I salute that. For me, this game offered something to look forward from studio under Square, which is something I can’t say for all similar studios. For this one, I felt like gameplay needs improvement. And I don’t like when game treats you like you’re retarded, I like the challenge. That is something I miss here, and I hope their next game will take that into account. I am Groot!

"If you love Guardians, you want to play story-driven game with strong characters and you don't mind the linearity + basic combat (that can still be fun if you like this kind of combat), this might be the perfect game for you."
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Yakuza_stinger commented

on January 15, 2022 at 18:56h

72/100 is not there, noooooo

Foggy commented

on January 17, 2022 at 17:12h

Yakuza_stinger commented

on January 15, 2022 at 18:56h

72/100 is not there, noooooo

Haha, I was generous :) Not bad, not terrible. But again I'm in minority with impressions.