Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 1 Review: For Eternity

Telltale Games, Marvel
Telltale Games, Marvel /

Engaging characters? Room exploration? Puzzle-solving skills? An entertaining story? Telltale Games’ Guardians of the Galaxy has it all.

Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platforms: PC (Version reviewed), PS4, Xbox One, iOS, Android
Release Date: April 18, 2017

If it’s one thing that’s consistent across Telltale Games’ releases, it’s that their ideals for what a graphic adventure game should be are inconsistent. Teaming up with Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy: A Telltale Series Episode 1, “Tangled Up In Blue,” leans more towards the “adventure” side of things over the decision-based side, which is quite befitting for this ragtag crew.

Guardians of the Galaxy focuses on Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot significantly into their story as a group. Plenty of people are aware of how these characters operate from the movies (or comic books), so thankfully, we were spared yet another comic book origin story. Instead, we find the group ready to face off against Thanos, cinematic universe be damned.

Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy
Telltale /

Taking place in a sci-fi future universe, the Guardians of the Galaxy have some advanced tech that goes beyond the scope of what you normally expect from Telltale adventures. The advent of Star-Lord’s boots is particularly noteworthy, as they let him explore an environment on multiple planes within a 3D space.

…The journey found in interaction and logical puzzle-solving takes precedence in a refreshing way.

Not only is this a great little attention to detail, but also a novel approach to letting the player approach the scenery. Early on, Star-Lord will need to figure out how to get around an obstacle or bring his party back into the action. Whereas recent games have been, primarily, a series of hallways, Guardians of the Galaxies lets the player dictate the pace that they can explore wider spaces.

Want to ask Rocket for advice? He’s sure to give you a smart aleck remark over the comms. Drax may present a vengeful, but thoughtful response about the people who destroyed his planet. Gamora, meanwhile, may offer help in finding where to go. As the player, you may need to find a power source on the third floor while checking on the vitals status of members of the Nova Corps at ground level.

Too often has Telltale made gameplay be about what choices you make. In Guardians of the Galaxy, the journey found in interaction and logical puzzle-solving takes precedence in a refreshing way.

Guardians of the Galaxy A Telltale Series
Telltale Games, Marvel /

The characters offer up as much style as necessary to fill in for slower-paced moments, and it’s quite clear Marvel had a hand in getting these personalities right. From moment one, as The Buzzcocks’ “Why Can’t I Touch It” kicks in, they are clearly setting up a game as refined and particular in its classic, crass cheesiness as the movie version.

That’s not a bad thing; Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy benefits from a cinematic approach to its gameplay. You can feel this at its strongest in the cinematography, especially in a fight with the titan-like Thanos. While you primarily control Star-Lord in this episode, you enter action inputs for all five members of your crew to try to take down this gigantic threat as a team, and the camera pans in a naturally flowing manner.

I love this moment particularly because it’s unlike anything I’ve seen from Telltale Games. Sure, it comes from the QTE scene playbook, but you’re not coming at it from a singular perspective. Each of your crew members has their own motivations for reaching this showdown, and you can’t help but feel immersed in their cause as they hint at how much a potential victory means to them.

Guardians of the Galaxy Screenshot
Telltale Games /

I’ve noted Telltale’s inability to give the player character prominence in the stories of their other games, but that isn’t the case with Guardians of the Galaxy. Peter Quill the human (not Star-Lord the hero) is quite adaptable in his varied playstyles, and you should give Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights, Hart of Dixie) credit for holding his own in the leading role. It becomes quite clear how this story peeks into his past, even as he strives to save the day for all mankind in the present.

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The voice acting, overall, is quite strong considering the cinematic standards available in theaters. You don’t get the feel like this is the B-team slumming it up to promote a movie, but indicative of an effort primed for an alternate universe where this is an untouched comic book property. Nolan North steals the show as Rocket without being too overbearing, which is a tight line to balance.

Not only that, but the story of “Tangled Up In Blue” follows the natural flow of a first act plot. There are interesting narrative turns that take place, and you can see the seeds of what decisions you make begin to sprout, with the player nervous to see how they will play out. Of course, there’s the real chance that it could fall flat later down the line, but that remains a conversation to be had at a later date.

Guardians of the Galaxy Telltale
Telltale Games, Marvel /

If there is a central knock on the Telltale Games version of Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s that its visual style does not look good. At all. The tired Telltale Engine, updated for the 8th-generation consoles, doesn’t quite have the shimmer or vibrancy that can match the energy that these characters embody. It will likely be a problem that persists throughout, and it’s a shame that such an important factor in development was a bit overlooked.

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8. Right now, in setting up a grander story, Guardians of the Galaxy can coast on its style. With a shocking revelation setting up a world of possibilities going forward, there’s plenty of promise here. Whether or not the story goes places will make or break this series, but “Tangled Up In Blue” sets up a dynamic cast that will be fun to follow on their journey.. Telltale Games. . Guardians of the Galaxy: A Telltale Series Episode 1 - Tangled Up In Blue

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.