The Guardians of the Galaxy Game Is a Great Alternative to the Movies

Gonna hit you with their best shot

Key Takeaways

  • Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy combines the iconic Marvel superheroes with fun and action-filled gameplay.
  • The game completely captures the heart and soul of the Guardians, down to the banter between the story’s main protagonists.
  • A strong story, beautiful environments, and outstanding character design often are dragged down by the game’s underwhelming combat sequences and weird quick-time events.
The Guradians of the Galaxy standing together

Square Enix

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy captures the very heart of the iconic pirates turned heroes in Square Enix’s latest superhero game, even if it doesn’t always stick the landing.

Following the mixed response to Marvel’s Avengers in 2020, I really wasn’t sure what to think about Square Enix once more dipping its toe into the Marvel universe. I’ve been a fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy for a long time, having read many of the comics and watching both of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies multiple times. To call it my favorite superhero group would probably be a bit of an understatement.

When I found out Square Enix was making a game, though, I was reserved. I had hope, sure—the MCU’s take on the Guardians had been a solid run—but I also was worried about how the relationship between the heroes would translate to a video game.

Despite my reservations, I pulled on my leather jacket, popped in my favorite mixtape, and took the plunge. I still don’t want to come up for air.

Holding Out for a Hero

Right from the start, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy captures everything that makes Peter (aka Star-Lord) Quill and his group of would-be heroes so delightful. But it doesn’t stop there. The game continues to deliver on that promise throughout, pushing line after line of brilliant banter and dialogue that only bolsters the relationship between these heroes as time goes on.

Guardians takes place 12 years after the end of a big war in the Andromeda galaxy, and it follows the group as it tries to get the whole "superhero" thing off the ground. It makes for a joyously fun romp through some of the best sci-fi environments we’ve seen in a game as of late, and everything about Guardians looks beautiful, especially on PC running at 4K.

Peter Quill posing

Square Enix

Throughout the game, you take on the role of Peter Quill, the Guardians’ not-so-fearless leader. He’s a goofy character, but his charm and wit make for some fantastic one-liners throughout the game’s various combat sections. He also meshes really well with the rest of the characters, something I felt the movie version of Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t fully explore.

Another concern I had going into Guardians was a reliance on "games-as-a-service" features like daily/weekly challenges and microtransactions. This played a big part in Marvel’s Avengers, and was by far one of the weakest points of the title. Luckily, that isn’t the case here, as Guardians has no microtransactions or multiplayer, allowing it to focus on the main storyline. This makes for a pretty straightforward campaign, though you’ll have chances to make choices that can change how certain missions play out, as well as how much some of the other members of the crew trust you. 

Take On Me

While I’m overjoyed with how much I’m enjoying Guardians, it isn’t quite perfect. Combat can be wonky sometimes, blending features from real-time strategy (RTS) games and more action-based fighting together. You’ll work closely with your other teammates, blending combo attacks and the like together to take down enemies. It wasn’t my favorite part of the game, but it did open the door for a lot of great banter. There are also several instances of quick-time events—where you have to enter or tap the correct key within an allotted time—and they often appear out of nowhere, making them very easy to miss.

members of the Guardians of the Galaxy staring into the camera

Square Enix

The game more than makes up for these problems with the sheer beauty of how it delivers everything else. There isn’t a moment that the Guardians aren’t talking to each other. The writing is amusing and enjoyable and it never grows old hearing Drax or Gamora going back and forth. Along the way, Eidos Montreal’s work on the Deus Ex series shines through, too, with players being offered multiple conversation choices throughout. It’s a welcome addition that helps make players feel more involved, even if those decisions aren’t always the most impactful to the story.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is yet another prime example that great single-player campaigns aren’t dead and gone. We don’t need multiplayer to make a game great. Instead, all we need is solid writing, lovable characters, and a story that grips you from beginning to end. If that’s what you’re looking for, then you’ll find it all right here aboard the Milano, sitting around the table with the Guardians of the Galaxy.

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