About one year ago I made a list of the top Marvel movies up to that point. Topping that list was the blockbuster surprise hit Guardians of the Galaxy, which features great comedy, action and characters. With the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie just over a week away, it makes sense that the Telltale version of the property makes its debut and it is something, as a huge fan of the movie, that I was highly excited to see. Unfortunately, Telltale’s Guardians get stuck somewhere between trying to be like the movie and trying to be its own thing. The end result is an episode that feels like a mish-mash of ideas with nothing quite sticking or feeling cohesive. T
he series nails the feeling of the movie, with the look and sound matching up with the movies, right down to the soundtrack pulled from the 70s and 80s. On the other hand we are clearly dealing with Guardians that are not the same characters from the movie. This isn’t a situation like Telltale’s Game of Thrones where the overlapping characters are voiced and modeled after their on-screen counterparts. Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, etc. are all distinctly different from the movie. Moreover, the game starts with a massive fight against big baddie Thanos, something that the Marvel cinematic universe is still a decent ways away from. This is also certainly not an origin story; the Guardians are already an assembled team and well-known in the galaxy.
Tangled Up in Blue starts off with a bang. The opening sequence where you take on Thanos does a great job showing off the various abilities of the group as you bounce from character to character attacking the overpowered Thanos. It’s a cool sequence that has you controlling more than just Star-Lord, reminding me of some of the best sequences of Tales from the Borderlands.
Sadly everything after this sequence falls fairly flat. You are treated to the Guardians hanging out a bar while Star-Lord tries to calm his teammates. Gamora is upset over the battle against Thanos while Rocket is talking about taking a break from the team due to animosity towards him from the rest of the team. It’s petty stuff that is not very interesting and certainly not the type of thing I go to Guardians of the Galaxy for. This path eventually leads to a confrontation against the Kree that is a poor follow-up action scene compared to the earlier Thanos fight.
Storywise the episode revolves around an relic called the Eternity Forge, an item that Thanos attempts to claim but ultimately ends up with the Guardians. The mysterious object causes Star-Lord to relive past memories of his mother and his eventual departure from Earth, while also housing the whispered cries from his mother for him to “come find her.” In true Telltale fashion the episode ends on a cliffhanger as you learn at least one of the magical properties of the Forge, hinting that this Eternity Forge is likely to be the center of everything going on in this series.
The whole time I was playing Guardians of the Galaxy I found myself mildly confused at just exactly what I was experiencing. The series is clearly influenced by the movie stylistically but story-wise it doesn’t seem to have any connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With some properties this isn’t a big deal – Batman’s Telltale series certainly doesn’t fit within the new DC movies – but Guardians of the Galaxy is clearly only being made because of how popular the movies are and borrows heavily from the aesthetic used in them.
If Telltale wanted to construct their own version of Guardians of the Galaxy, I wish they had gone all the way with a reboot like they have done with The Walking Dead. Despite some dull moments the episode is well made and it definitely nails the characterization of all of the Guardians, but it ultimately feels like it doesn’t quite know what it wants to be and isn’t doing enough to stand apart from the movie. Hopefully with more time in Telltale’s universe this series will start to come into its own but what is here is not enough to get me excited yet.
SCORE: 6.5 out of 10
A code for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series was provided to Pixel Related for review.