Guardians of the Galaxy is the proper instance of gaming’s distinctive storytelling strengths


Be aware: his story accommodates main spoilers for the 2 Guardians of the Galaxy movies and lightweight spoilers from Eidos Montreal’s recreation.

One of many recurring speaking factors I’ve seen concerning Eidos Montreal’s surprisingly nice Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy recreation is the way it surpasses two movies primarily based on the ragtag group of cosmic outlaws. In his assessment for The Washington Submit, Gene Park referred to the sport as “an excellent higher Guardians story than the 2 blockbuster movies mixed.” GamesRadar‘s Sam Loveridge much less definitively mentioned the sport “is likely to be higher than the flicks.”

The checklist goes on.

On the one hand, I perceive the need of mentioning the movies when speaking in regards to the recreation. In spite of everything, writer-director James Gunn’s cinematic stamp on the Marvel characters is the principle motive why nearly all of individuals are even conscious of them to start with. However I take situation with these persistent arguments about which model of the characters is “higher.” That’s as a result of straight evaluating a movie and recreation is only a disservice to each mediums — it truly is a case of apples to oranges.

There are similarities between each takes on the Guardians, undoubtedly, significantly of their deal with Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon and Groot. However there are additionally numerous variations, and it’s via those who each the sport and the movies show uniquely profitable inside the contexts of their very own creative mediums. Gunn’s movies efficiently condensed a long time’ price of comedian materials to make obscure characters standard amongst normal audiences. That he did all of this inside the more and more generic Hollywood blockbuster area and the confines of the sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe makes this feat solely extra spectacular. There wouldn’t even be an Eidos Montreal-made Guardians recreation with out Gunn’s movies.

“Impressively, the developer has discovered a wise center floor between matching the model and flavour of the movies whereas being extra trustworthy to the supply materials.”

However past all of that, the obvious distinction between the 2 properties needs to be size. Merely put, it’s unreasonable to stack up a movie — and even two, on this case — to a recreation. It’s far simpler to supply a extra well-rounded, in-depth portrayal of 5 characters in a 20-plus hour expertise than it’s a two-hour one (or, even, practically four-and-a-half, if you happen to think about each movies). Eidos’ Guardians of the Galaxy‘s size may even be prolonged by a number of hours if you happen to determine to do all the pieces it has to supply, which incorporates going off the crushed path to discover and making completely different selections in a subsequent playthrough. These are parts {that a} movie merely doesn’t have the time to supply.

However gaming’s distinctive standing as an interactive medium provides it strengths that movies can’t be anticipated to match, and fortunately, Eidos Montreal has made full use of this. Impressively, the developer has discovered a wise center floor between matching the model and flavour of the movies whereas being extra trustworthy to the supply materials. The general character of the property — from every particular person character to the heavy use of licensed music — is lifted straight from Gunn. It’s additionally, graciously, made a single-player, microtransaction-free expertise, thus avoiding most of the pitfalls of final yr’s Avengers recreation. And it However that’s actually simply scratching the floor.

The core Guardians story of this dysfunctional discovered household and the assist they offer to heal one another’s traumas is far more completely explored in-game. Past simply getting extra time collectively, the methods wherein they work together significantly improve their relationships. When my Quill is about to fall his loss of life, it means a lot extra for Gamora to return swooping in for a heroic save than it could be to see Zoe Saldana’s Gamora do this for Chris Pratt’s Quill. For Drax, we are able to even have playable flashbacks the place we get to see his long-lost household firsthand, placing a face to his ache in a approach the movies couldn’t. Groot teaming up with Quill for a flashy takedown within the recreation’s surprisingly dynamic third-person shooter fight feels incomparably satisfying.

However that is all, maybe, greatest exemplified with Rocket, the standout character of each the sport and the flicks. Within the latter half of the sport, there’s a piece the place the staff is traversing via a murky cave. You ultimately come throughout a cavern, and the trail ahead is sort of clear — merely stroll alongside this water-soaked pillar to cross to the opposite facet. However Rocket shortly tells you that he can’t do it. The worry in his voice is palpable. The waterfall above the platform terrifies him. Whereas the Guardians are understandably confused, they begrudgingly agree to search out him a dry approach ahead. At this second, I empathized with Quill. “Why am I doing this tedious environmental puzzle? As Gamora mentioned, why can’t Rocket simply ‘suck it up?’”

“This arc feels extra impactful than something a film might ever do since you helped Rocket get right here.”

In fact, I needed to suck it up and do as I’m requested so I might progress. However quickly after, I’m greeted with a surprisingly touching — and, for the mammalian Guardian, remarkably uncommon — rationalization of the basis of his PTSD. This then pays off fantastically in a while when Rocket should confront his fears to assist you carry onward. After all the pieces we’ve been via, after the many hours of Quill and Rocket being at odds and the latter even storming out of the social gathering at instances, he’s prepared to danger all the pieces for you.

This arc feels extra impactful than something a film might ever do as a result of you helped Rocket get right here. You weren’t a passive observer in Rocket’s journey — you had been an energetic participant in it. It actually can’t be understated how attending to embody a personality (on this case, Quill) helps join you not solely to them, however to all the pieces round them, together with their pals (on this case, Rocket and the opposite Guardians).

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And these are simply the bigger story beats. Eidos Montreal’s Guardians of the Galaxy is punctuated with all types of small moments that additional endear you to the characters. As beforehand talked about, the sport provides various dialogue selections that have an effect on the best way conversations and even missions play out. Whereas the overarching story and character journeys stay the identical, this offers you a stage of personalization to the story not discovered within the movies. When Pratt’s Quill decides that ticks off Rocket, you actually can solely sit there and observe. However within the recreation, it’s a must to think about how a) you upset him and b) what that may imply for future interactions and missions.

Even when the choices boil right down to “this” or “that,” they nonetheless supply some stage of alternative that helps create the phantasm of you happening this grand space-faring journey with your pals. That feeling is just enhanced by the downtime you get between missions within the Milano, the Guardian’s ship. The films understandably couldn’t dedicate a lot time to this — this wouldn’t precisely be enjoyable to observe — however in a recreation, it’s essential to have moments to breathe in between action-packed gameplay sequences.

Right here, the sport adopts an exquisite Mass Impact-esque construction. You get the liberty to roam the ship, speak to your crew and even play some catchy licensed tunes. These bits additionally enable Eidos to have enjoyable, long-running gags like a consistently opening fridge door. These scenes are pleasurable and laidback in their very own proper, however they really feel extra particular since you took the time to search out them. With the flicks, we could relate to completely different characters or themes, however the core viewing expertise stays just about an identical in any other case. In Eidos Montreal’s Guardians, although, you might have come throughout bits that I fully missed since you performed it in a different way, or vice-versa, and that’s a way of discovery that feels private and rewarding in a approach movie by no means might.

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The sport additionally properly makes positive to not wholly retread the movies, specializing in a battle with the mysterious Common Church of Fact and different cosmic characters not seen on the massive display screen. Via that bigger plot, characters are given refreshingly completely different arcs than within the movies. Gunn’s Quill is all in regards to the seek for his father within the wake of the lack of his mom.

A giant a part of that is via the Ravager chief Yondu (Michael Rooker), who is just talked about within the recreation. This all culminates in Yondu’s extremely heartwrenching sacrifice on the finish of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which, to me, is extra emotional than something within the recreation. As somebody with an estranged father, Pratt’s Quill’s daddy points hit extraordinarily onerous. However not everybody will really feel the identical approach, and fortunately, the sport examines fatherhood in its personal refreshing and compelling approach that may resonate with others extra. Neither model is “higher” than the opposite — they’re merely telling thematically related tales in their very own distinctive methods.

And that’s finally my huge takeaway right here. As somebody who holds Gunn’s Guardians movies extremely pricey, I really like that we now have a recreation to additional unpack these characters. Eidos Montreal captures that vibrant-yet-emotional spirit of Gunn’s work however dives deeper into the characters via the engagement supplied by a online game. Gunn acquired me to fall in love with them, and Eidos Montreal allowed me to take action once more, however otherwise. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy an exquisite introduction to gaming’s definitive variations of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and I can’t wait to see the place Eidos Montreal takes them subsequent.

Picture credit score: Sq. Enix


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