Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
A Familiar Torch Is Passed Between Developers For Guardians of the Galaxy
Eidos-Montréal has been an interesting studio ever since taking over the Deus Ex series beginning with Human Revolution. Despite its small catalog, Eidos-Montréal has been responsible with large scale IPs ranging from Tomb Raider to Theif. Of the IPs, Tomb Raider deserves special mention as it represented a "change of the guard." Originally, Crystal Dynamics were the developers of the series beginning with Tomb Raider Legend in 2006. Following Rise of the Tomb Raider, development shifted from Crystal Dynamics to Eidos-Montréal's Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Why does all of this matter? Because history kind of repeated itself with what would become Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy.
In 2020, Crystal Dynamics were in charge of developing Marvel's Avengers, a highly promoted and anticipated game for several reasons. It would coincide with Endgame, a movie that still saw success a year later. Marvel's Avengers would also be Square's first major title utilizing the Marvel brand, which meant big potential things for the company. Unfortunately, many variables caused the game to be a disaster at launch, so much so that its player base dropped considerably. With Square still having the Marvel license, another "change of the guard" took place, with Crystal Dynamics once again passing an IP over to Eidos-Montréal. This time, it would be up to the latter to clean up the mess that was Marvel's Avengers with Guardians of the Galaxy.
Guardians of the Galaxy Has An Impressive Music Score, Mind The DMCA
Rather than relying on a multiplayer experience like with Marvel's Avengers, Eidos-Montréal instead focused on a single player campaign. This would prove to be a wise decision as it gave players an immersive experience like that of the movies. From the opening scene alone, I felt like I was playing a Guardians of the Galaxy movie which is a huge plus. After all, when one plays superhero video games, immersion is one of the major elements in what makes those games fun.
The player controls a young Peter jamming out to his favorite band, Star Lord. Thankfully, the music playing through Peter's headphones is a part of the original score and the game itself includes "anti-DMCA" options. That's because Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy pulls no punches with its 80s playlist. Music from Rick Astley, Def Leopard, and many more are available for the player to listen to on the ship. When Streamer Mode is turned on, licensed music are muted with alternatives played where applicable, meaning streamers can rest easy.
The Fate Of The Galaxy Rests In Your Hands (And The Gift Of Gab)
Impressive music score aside, another thing players will notice is the crew banter. There are a lot of lines of dialogue shared between all crew members, Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and even Groot. From the moment the game begins, the personality of each character can be felt as the crew reminice on previous missions, quips, and humorous responses.
Like the movie, it's worth sitting around just to hear what interesting conversation comes next. The dialogue isn't all for fanservice, as Star Lord can control the flow of certain conversations by saying his own responses determined by the player's choice. The player can either lift or lower player morale depending on what is said, with some choices affecting how missions pan out.
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy's Gameplay Is Simple Arcade Fun
The Guardians' first mission introduced to the player involves a tip given by Gamora on a rare monster that must be captured alive. Taking Rocket and Groot with him, Star Lord lands on the foriegn planet littered with destroyed airships and pink goo. One of Star Lord's main abilities, his visor, is introduced. This serves as a way to discover hidden items and points of interest. These range from scraps that can be used as upgrade pieces, collectibles, and targets to shoot. The latter point is used when the player engages in a friendly shooting competition with Rocket.
Even in a war-torn ship graveyard, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is an incredibly colorful game. Reds, pinks, and other primary colors pop out vividly and no corners are cut with its fidelity. Guardians may be one of the most visually impressive games I've played yet this year and it doesn't do a lot to achieve this. The gameplay is similar, offering a very simple combat system. As Star Lord, the player shoots with his twin energy pistols, dodge and hover with his jets, and kick within melee range. As the player fights more enemies, their combo gauge will increase similarly to that of Devil May Cry. Depending on how well the player did in combat, they will be graded and earn ability experience points accordingly. Star Lord can also call his allies to join in, using Rocket's grenades and Groot's vines to root enemies.
Guardian's of the Galaxy Walks The Same Golden Path As Marvel's Spider-Man
The title of this heading may sound a bit too much for some, especially to the biggest fans of Marvel's Spider-Man. I understand that Marvel's Spider-Man had set the bar of superhero games extraordinarily high but Guardians of the Galaxy comes close. What makes Guardians a great game is that Eidos-Montréal treated it as what one would think a Guardians of the Galaxy game would be like. It doesn't pretend to be anything else but a motley crew of five mercenaries who appear dysfunctional but get the job done. The gameplay doesn't overcomplicate things either, allowing Guardians of the Galaxy to retain its charm.
Considering the history of Eidos-Montréal, it's amusing to consider that this is the second time a former IP by Crystal Dynamics is handed to them. An even greater coincidence is how the company took the IP and improved upon it, using Marvel's Avengers as a base. It sounds like an obvious formula: Take what made a previous game good, expand upon it, and trim the unecessary fat that would murk up the recipie. With Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, it does just that. Those on the fence of giving another Square Enix Marvel title another chance should definitely swallow their doubt and give this one a spin.
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is available on the PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Nintendo Switch