By Nick Schifani
Episode 1: Tangled Up in Blue
What's up y'all!? This week marked the beginning of Marvel's triumphed return to video games. We all know Marvel has decided to rethink their approach to video games. Marvel's first shot at it is their partnership with Telltale games. Like, DC did with Batman late last year, Marvel and Telltale bring us into the world of the interstellar, mischievous group known as Guardians of the Galaxy. It doesn't take long in the first episode to see why the Guardians make a perfect fit for Telltale's style of storytelling. It manages to grab elements from the comic books and movies to deploy a fast-paced and hilarious interactive story to keep us interested for months to come.
**Possible Spoilers Ahead**
We start off with Peter Quill aka Star-Lord getting a message from Nova Crops. They are under attack from the Mad Titan himself, Thanos. Peter rallies the other Guardians to prepare for battle against their arch nemesis. Star-Lord voiced by Scott Porter is more comic book counterpart than cinematic. The same goes for Gamora, who is voiced by Emily O'Brien. Both of the characters aren't as quick with their tongue and sarcastic remarks as the movie versions, but that doesn't take away how fantastic these two play off one another. Of course, we have Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and Drax. Those three seem to mirror the exact same personalities from the movie. Rocket, voiced by our beloved Nolan North of the Uncharted series, is able to pull off the same wise ass, money hungry tone Bradley Cooper portrays in the movie. Drax doesn't strive too far from the literal, psychopath Dave Bautista comically pulls off in the movie. And of course, Groot is well…..Groot. Always delivering his warm-hearted "I am Groot" advice to his fellow teammates. All in all, it's absolutely fantastic to fire up my PS4 and have an interactive experience with this beloved team.
The gameplay in this new Telltale installment plays out exactly as one would think with experience from other Telltale games. One appreciated adding effect allows players to use Peter's rocket boots to help explore bigger environments. It's an added element which strengthens Batman's detective mode from last year. Like other Telltale games, you can expect well-paced conversation causing you to have to make quick timed dialogue choices affecting what other characters think of you. The quick time events don't stop at conversation either. In an early battle with Thanos, the game causes you to make quick button presses in order to take on this mammoth of a monster. The fun factor being you finally get to control each Guardian during certain moments of the battle. Either charging head on with Drax, attacking with the assassin-like precision of Gamora, or shooting a big-ass gun from Rocket all the Guardians get a piece of the big, bad. And yes before you ask you get to "I am Groot" all over Thanos' wrinkled, purple ass!
One of the many appealing qualities to the game's storyline deals with how the other Guardians view Quill as their outright leader. In the same case as the movie, we never have to see a fight for control of the team, it's basically a given. The same is to be said about the game as well, but at least we experience conversation between team members laying this foundation. There are many points throughout this episode certain characters make it obvious Peter is the man in charge. Even to a point when the player has to decide what to do with a certain dead body. Rocket wants the body to go to The Collector for a large sum of money, while Gamora wants to give it to the Nova Corps in exchange for allies. Of course, at the end of the day, the group's true leader has to make a decision possibly splitting the team apart for a moment. Telltale does a phenomenal job of pacing the story along with the decision Star-Lord has to make proving he is the right man to lead this team. Peter Quill is without a doubt the glue holding this team together.
This game does a fantastic job touching on the right emotions to continue further into future episodes. Obviously, there are tons of laughs to be had during your play through this episode. The dialogue writing is clever enough, I found myself laughing out loud in some moments. Though, while most of the mood of the game is kept pretty light, we do get some more intimate moments sprinkled along the way. Moments allowing the players to have conversations with friends making us experience more authentic relationships between the teammates. A flashback between a young Peter and his mother felt a bit too real at times. Allowing the game to have a bit more grounded side story throughout the series about a kid who hasn't quite grown up yet.
I couldn't be happier with this game starting off on the right foot. Telltale did itself a favor with having a great script, great voice actors, and a whole universe piled high with all types of eccentric personalities to explore. I strongly believe if this series can continue to deliver this type of quality moving forward; it can go down as not only one of the best Telltale games ever, but maybe even a spot for one of the best games of the year. With the caliber of games, we've already gotten in 2017, Guardians of the Galaxy can push its way to the top if it's given the love and time it needs to thrive.