Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy episode 2 review: Team Rocket

Telltale Games, Marvel
Telltale Games, Marvel /

The Marvel half fights off the Telltale Games half in Guardians of the Galaxy episode 2, as strong characterization fights off against narrative dissonance.

Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platforms: PC (version reviewed), PS4, Xbox One, iOS, Android
Release Date: June 6, 2017

This review will make story allusions to the events of Guardians of the Galaxy: A Telltale Series episode 1 while trying to remain mostly spoiler-free of episode 2.

Having to adapt an established canon from an artistic medium and transpose it to a video game is inherently difficult. It can be doubly so when the adaptation has to hit the same character beats as the source material, and matters only get worse if the source the material is adapted from isn’t the original source.

It’s that circular difficulty that surrounds Telltale Games’ approach to Guardians of the Galaxy, as their intention is to explore the main characters episode by episode while filling an overarching narrative throughout a season. To do so, they have to bend the established understanding of how each Guardian actually is, and that can become a problem if the adapted story strays too far away.

Guardians of the Galaxy episode 2 telltale games
Telltale Games, Marvel /

Marvel has created a world filled with interesting characters and archetypes, giving Telltale plenty to work with…

Guardians of the Galaxy episode 2, “Under Pressure,” begins at the same moment we left off at, literally finishing Star-Lord’s cut-off final words a la Arrested Development. The Eternity Forge has planted itself as a primary driving object worthy of protection and reverence in this universe, even if you are initially treated as if you were a ghost because of it.

It becomes the narrative McGuffin in Telltale’s story, as the Guardians seek to use it for a personal good while Hala aims to use it for more destructive purposes. In “Under Pressure,” Peter Quill shares the spotlight with Rocket Raccoon, as he seeks retribution for hardships of his past.

Marvel has created a world filled with interesting characters and archetypes, giving Telltale plenty to work with in Guardians of the Galaxy episode 2. The shift to Rocket Raccoon keeps the momentum of the first episode going, as players experience the foul-mouthed trash panda at his very best and Nolan North at his most comically tragic.

Guardians of the Galaxy episode 2 telltale games
Telltale Games, Marvel /

I do feel, though, that it came at the expense of the season’s story, as “Under Pressure” was an uneven episode. While we need to flesh out the characters and explore who they are, the length of time Rocket Raccoon was in the spotlight equally took him out of the action, with the cast’s regular banter and dialogue unmatched.

It created a weird paradox where the Guardians of the Galaxy got a bit repetitive, as the constant shifts in locations meant the player was constantly moving around. The pacing was definitely weird as I couldn’t help but notice the constant jumping from planet to planet in order to move the plot.

I also couldn’t help but wonder where exactly Telltale Games started and Marvel’s gaming efforts began, as there were times when the two blended in perfect harmony. Pleasantly returning is the environmental puzzle exploration, using the tools and tricks of a science fiction universe to set up a clever environmental setup.

Guardians of the Galaxy episode 2 telltale games
Telltale Games, Marvel /

Still, I couldn’t help but notice that something was off about Guardians of the Galaxy episode 2. For one, there was a noticeable dip in the level of polish as, at times, sound effects were missing, audio mixing was inadequate and the framerate dipped heavily at times. Perhaps there was a rush to get this episode out now ahead of E3 2017, but it seemed like there were a ton of narrative plot points thrown into a pot and served all at once.

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Why Guardians of the Galaxy can get away with a muddled convergence of ideas is because of the strength of the characters. You understand their motivations and what makes them who they are, and you’re never in doubt of whether what they’re saying or doing makes sense or not. That’s been an issue for the development team lately, and thankfully, this adaptation serves the source material faithfully.

Still, it seems as though there is something major that the development team is building towards, and they approach the story’s intrigue with delight. The affability of this group of ne’er-do-wells and their wacky space shenanigans is enough to carry me over caring about what happens next; let’s just hope that it builds up to something great.

7. An oddly-paced episode is made up for with a deep characterization of the Guardians of the Galaxy, further supplanting the series as a character-driven comedy adventure game. With an unclear look into where the future lies, the next chapter could make or break this series.. Telltale Games. . Guardians of the Galaxy: Episode 2

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.