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Review: Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series: More Than A Feeling

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Gotta Be This Or That

The fact that it took about half a year and three installments for Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series to really take its place in the larger canon of "video games that do more than exist" is a point against Telltale's episodic business model. Half a year is a pretty long time to wait to get the sense that this is a worthwhile venture.

And yet, in light of the fact this third episode, More Than A Feeling, is the best of the series so far, I might be inclined to forgive Guardians of the Galaxy its earlier lollygagging.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: More Than A Feeling (PC [reviewed], PS4, Xbox One, iOS, Android)
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Released: August 22, 2017
MSRP: $4.99 / $24.99 (Season Pass)

[Note: This review will reference specific plot points from the previous two episodes.]

The most persistent complaint I've had about Telltale's first Marvel-branded outing has been a relative lack of important-seeming decisions. Most of the choices players have made so far felt more like choices of tone rather than consequence. 

Throughout each episode we, in the role of Peter, would be called upon to advise our fellow Guardians on some emotional dilemma. Whether that meant telling Gamora to keep trying to connect with her estranged sister Nebula or to encourage Rocket Raccoon to hold onto his memory of his dead otter girlfriend, we were more often the team counselor than team leader, and the "big" decisions, like whether to side with Nova or the Collector, lacking the sense of tension or ambiguity that characterized the best decision points of other Telltale series.

In some ways, this is borne out by the game's convenient "Your Choices" feature. Over the last two episodes, according to Telltale's own metrics, roughly 70% of players made all the same choices.

On one hand, this lopsidedness speaks well of the writing and characterization, in that this certain, specific sense of the Guardians has come through as well as it has (helped in no small part by its closeness to the team's cinematic incarnation). On the other hand, this uniformity feels like an undermining of the Telltale formula, where the actual impact of the choices was forgiven by the agonizing we'd do in the moments where we made them.

More Than A Feeling puts that particular misgiving to rest, as Telltale brings in some payoff for all the counseling Star-Lord's been doing. The cast gains a new member (Hint: If you've seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, then you'll know who's joining the team), and with it, a clarification of the budding crisis.

Rather than the somewhat lukewarm antagonist Hala, it turns out that the greatest threat to the team's unity is nothing other than the reality of mortality itself. It's a classic sci-fi ethical conundrum, one that justifies the presence and power of the story's "Eternity Forge" McGuffin. Better yet, the issue at hand is made all the more difficult by the emotional investment we've made in the team over the past two episodes.

All of a sudden, the choices I'd made that seemed to have no consequence felt all the more important, not because they had led to a concrete result or a branch in the path, but because I, as Peter Quill, had been giving my word to my teammates. And now, this episode's defining choice - one that actually does promise to reverberate through the next two episodes - pits doing the right thing against doing right by the people I care for. And who's not to say that the latter isn't the "right thing" in its own way?

It took a while (and effective months of uncertainty), but Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series finally did it, reaching a point where Telltale's peculiarly successful approach feels justified, while also managing the dual feat of selling me on their distinct, cinema-inspired vision of the titular characters as a genuinely cool alternate take (one I actually prefer to the current comic book originals, at the moment). Now it'll be up to the next two outings to bring it home.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]


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Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series: More Than reviewed by Josh Tolentino

7.5

GOOD

Solid and definitely has an audience. There could be some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
How we score:  The Destructoid Reviews Guide

 
 
 

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Josh Tolentino
Josh TolentinoAnime Editor   gamer profile

When not posting about Japanese games or Star Trek, Josh serves as Managing Editor for Japanator, Dtoid's sister site for the best in anime, manga, and cool news from Glorious Nippon. Disclosure... more + disclosures


 



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