Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 3 review: A kind of magic

Telltale Games, Marvel
Telltale Games, Marvel /

In a twist of fate, a midseason Telltale episode has a profound effect on the remaining season of Guardians of the Galaxy, which maintains its momentum.

This episode will make passing references to previous episodes of Telltale Games’ adaptation of Guardians of the Galaxy.

Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platforms: PC (version reviewed), PS4, Xbox One, iOS and Android devices
Release Date: August 22, 2017

In my episode 2 review, I mentioned that the future of Telltale Games’ Guardians of the Galaxy would be made or broken by episode 3, “More Than a Feeling.” While I don’t feel as though they reinvented the wheel, there is certainly a plethora of good times, hearty laughs and touching moments in here that actually strive to develop characterization. The rest of the studio should take notes, especially the Walking Dead team.

As is the case in previous adventures, “More Than a Feeling” does a deep character dive into another member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. This time, we get to learn more about Gamora, the struggling, strained relationship she has with Nebula and her convictions on what to do with the Eternity Forge. Additionally, the crew adds another member to the team; one who’s crucial to thwarting Hala, while Groot remains Groot and the gang is proven to be emotionally unstable.

Telltale Games Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 3 screenshot
Telltale, Marvel /

It seems almost standard now for Telltale Games to start episodes with a flashback. It’s become something of an annoyance, as these moments build up to a nothing burger of a reveal and work little more than a plot contrivance. I’m more disappointed than made in this case, though, as Guardians of the Galaxy does its best to break company conventions at every turn.

Due to the established nature of this tight-knit group, the player gets the chance to better appreciate each of these characters as they further establish their motivations and purpose within the crew. Beyond the introduction of Mantis, a character who can illustrate and feel others’ emotions, nobody feels quite obvious or overt with their narrative purpose.

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Guardians of the Galaxy does a solid job at maintaining levity in the face of adversity. “More Than a Feeling” is quite bereft in terms of exploration or action, instead taking its time to build up towards a major decision that may shape the plot for the rest of the season. Whereas other adventure games are all about hopping from set piece to set piece, you’re forced to hear everyone’s opinions on a subject and rationalize how important your actions are.

Whether or not there will be a major payoff in how the season ends remains to be seen, and Telltale Games has an absolutely awful track record when it comes to their tailored narratives. I’m willing to give Guardians of the Galaxy the benefit of the doubt that other licensed properties don’t get just due to the strength of the writing, direction and raucous banter shown off so far.

Telltale Games Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 3 screenshot
Telltale, Marvel /

If there is a major concern of note so far, it has to be in establishing the season’s villain. We know Hala’s reasons for wanting the Eternity Forge, the importance of her actions should she receive it and why she must be stopped, but most of that came in the season’s first episode. This story has been exceedingly protagonist focused to the point where I had to even look up Hala’s name just to confirm it.

Presenting the player with a moral quandary is a risk worth taking…

On a much lesser scale, the environmental design leads a lot to be desired. The next time I see a derelict temple with contrasting, metallic coloration and large statues standing on the perimeter of a circular room will be too soon. As beautiful as the planet design and the marvels of the space skybox are, I wouldn’t be shocked if the team reused the same rooms and changed the assets.

You can’t leave “More Than a Feeling” without feeling a sense of immense responsibility. It’s a testament to the game’s ability to craft a story worth caring about. Presenting the player with a moral quandary is a risk worth taking, and I’m glad Telltale went a bit existential with it. How this will pay off down the road will prove most interesting.

7.5. With a touching look into the backstory of Gamora and Nebula and an existential question over the morality of life, Guardians of the Galaxy episode 3 sets up an emotionally provocative endgame with a superbly fleshed out group of characters. A lackluster villain and rather mundane level designs are the only things holding back what could be one of Telltale Games’ greatest series’ yet.. Telltale Games. . Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 3

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.