Completion Time: 15:42:40
I dismissed Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy as a waste of time, due to how Marvel’s The Avengers turned out, as well as the early previews looking pretty abysmal. I had started to hear chatter about how well written the story was, and how well done the character banter and voice acting was, and it got me a little more interested. The gameplay however, seemed like a generic third person shooter with meager RPG elements, and locking players exclusively to Star-Lord sounded like a recipe for disaster. Thanks to the fact that Guardians was released close to Black Friday, it almost immediately went into a 50% price drop temporarily, and that was enough to convince me to give it a try.
Not in my wildest dreams did I expect this to become perhaps the best release of 2021.
The biggest thing going for Guardians, may also be something that will no doubt turn off a lot of potential players – this is one of the heaviest exposition and party chatter games I have ever played. These guys almost never shut up, but at no point is it exhausting or derivative. The interactions feel so natural, as if this was a movie with minimal gameplay elements (in the end, it kinda feels that way, but that isn’t a knock against it whatsoever). The writing is clever, witty and full of heart, the characters feel like reflections of their movie counterparts, the storyline its self is so engrossing and so gripping, that it becomes next to impossible to put down (as noted by my near 11 hour stream on day one of this 17+ hour odyssey).
The gameplay? It grows on you. It’s far from the generic third person shooter mold, although there’s still an emphasis on such actions. Controlling what attacks your friends do is a bit clunky at first, and perhaps it should have slowed time down a bit more to make it feel less like I have to rush through it to ensure that the synergy is pulled off properly, but as you get closer towards the midpoint of the game, it becomes quite a bit of fun. Hell, by the end of the first stream, I was actually craving more combat, because it had become that much fun. It almost feels like a caster AE group from Everquest, where you have two enchanters that AE stun, while the wizards and mages are using AE damage. Rocket Raccoon has an ability you can learn later in the game where he’ll toss grenades that will suck enemies in and do light damage, then Groot can AE root them in place, while Drax and Gamora pull off some moderate AE damage, with Star-Lord ending it with an AE grenade attack that does massive damage. Once you start corralling large groups of enemies and obliterating them in such a manner, combat starts to become a thrill.
There were two moments that popped up that were honestly the two most awesome and amazing moments perhaps ever in a video game – one came during a boss battle where I did a rally call and then Bonny Tyler’s I Need A Hero popped on, and turned it to the most epic boss battle ever, and then the final battle with an equally mindblowingly, well chosen song that I won’t spoil. Guardians builds moments constantly, and they leave lasting impressions, something 99% of games these days fail to do.
Had I known that Guardians of the Galaxy was going to be more or less the best game of 2021, I would have spent full price on it in a heart beat. If you missed the 50% off sale, please trust me when I say that this is well worth the full asking price. This is one time where I am happy to be proven wrong by my preconceived notions and thought of the game, before I even gave it a chance. It’s an outstanding title from top to bottom, with impeccable storytelling, a lovable cast and partaking in a truly out of this world journey to save the universe. An absolute masterpiece – a term I do not throw around.