The Guardians of the Galaxy have been major players in the mainstream consciousness ever since they entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2014. Since then, they’ve starred in two movies (with a third on the way), taken part in the climactic Infinity War and Endgame, appeared in roster-spanning games like Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 and Marvel Strike Force, and starred in their own episodic adventure series from Telltale Games in 2017. However, everyone’s favorite ragtag space heroes are stepping into the spotlight with a new Guardians of the Galaxy game from Deus Ex studio Eidos Montreal.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy puts you in the shoes of Peter Quill, AKA Star-Lord, in a single-player action game rife with hostile encounters, playful banter, and player choice. As with the recent adaptations of the Guardians of the Galaxy story (particularly the MCU movies), licensed music sets the tone, with Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero” blaring over the opening parts of the trailer.
The gameplay trailer starts with the Guardians on their ship, the Milano. They’re facing some fines and might lose their ship unless they come up with the credits fast. As the Guardians debate what to do, our first look at the player choice elements in the game comes up: Does Peter hear out Drax’s idea, Rocket’s scheme, or Groot’s plan. The demoer opts to call on Groot. With a hearty “I am Groot,” Groot expresses (as interpreted through his tiny buddy Rocket) that the team should “sell” him to Lady Hellbender, who is looking to procure a monster. Rocket and Drax think it might be a better idea to sell the fearsome raccoon, but Gamora sides with Groot. Naturally, it’s up to Star-Lord to decide. The person giving the demo decides in that moment to go along with Rocket and Drax’s plan.
The team arrives on Seknarf Nine, the home planet of Lady Hellbender. Off in the distance, the team spots her castle. Drax remarks that it’s not a castle, but instead an impregnable fortress, to which Rocket asks how they can impregnate it. Without missing a beat, Gamora chimes in to ask Peter about that topic. This constant back-and-forth dialogue with humorous zingers lobbed at one another persists throughout the entire demo as the Guardians bicker about every tiny detail.
The group reaches a vast expanse full of wide platforms that resemble tall mushrooms leading to the fortress. The team climbs on top of one, but their weight is evidently too great for it and they drop to the ground below. Gelatinous cubes with the ability to jut metallic spikes out of their core attacks the team and we get our first glimpse of the combat. Though you control Star-Lord, complete with his blasters and melee attacks, you can give commands to your squad mates.
In the midst of battle, the demoer pulls up a menu that features each of Star-Lord’s teammates, slowing down time. Once a fellow Guardian is chosen, that character’s attack commands are brought up. Using this menu, Star-Lord tells Gamora to deal a ton of damage, Groot to use his tree-branch limbs to trap the cube, and Rocket to blow it to smithereens. The battle ends following that chain of orders and the team can continue its trek to the fortress.
The team comes to a gap with a withdrawn bridge and a control panel. One problem: The control panel is on the other side of the chasm. Drax’s big idea is to throw Rocket across the gap, but Rocket doesn’t seem too keen on that idea. In another moment of player choice, Star-Lord opts to let Drax toss him, a decision Rocket isn’t too pleased with. A Telltale-esque message appears in the corner informing you of how upset Rocket is. As the talking raccoon curses their names on the other side of the gap, they negotiate a higher cut with him if he extends the bridge to the rest of the team.
The Guardians continue in the general direction of the fortress but are ambushed by more cubes. However, before the battle begins, giant alien cat monsters jump out and freeze them with their tails, posing a bigger threat to the heroes. The battle sees all the characters fighting as with the last encounter, but things are looking dire; these cats are quick and even freeze Rocket to the ground, causing Peter to have to break him out when he has a moment. Peter breaks out the Walkman and fires up Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation,” amping up the team. The music fits the action perfectly, and they finish off the beasts as the song comes to an end.
Star-Lord and company finally make it to Lady Hellbender’s fortress, but as they go to put Rocket in the cage, the player is given a chance to reconsider. As such, a last-minute audible is called and they decide to sell Groot instead. The Guardians make their way to the castle and the demo cuts out. In a final scene, it would seem things have gone horribly wrong, as the team is facing off against Dweller in what appears to be a boss battle as Lady Hellbender tells it to feast upon them.
Guardians of the Galaxy looks to capture the look, feel, and tone of the beloved franchise while charting its own path to differentiate it from the movies Marvel fans know and love. We’ll find out effective the team at Eidos Montreal is at establishing the cosmic misfits as triple-A video game stars when Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy comes to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 26.
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