Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: September 20, 2018
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series is a third-person episodic story driven point and click action adventure available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. Guardians of the Galaxy has propelled to the forefront of pop culture ever since the film released in 2014 and was further increased in popularity with the 2017 sequel, a theme park ride, a range of toys and soundtrack albums and guest starring spots in superhero videogames. However, Guardians of the Galaxy actually originated in January 1969 with a debut comic book strip written by Arnold Drake, pencilled by Gene Colan and inked by Vince Colletta in Marvel Super-Heroes issue number 18. Can Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series capture the charm of the heroic characters from the comic books and films within their very own videogame adaptation?
In true Guardians of the Galaxy fashion; the story expands into multiple storylines as each character individually has something that they must work together to confront as a collective family and team, while simultaneously facing villains from across the universe and not allowing an important relic to fall into the wrong hands.
Character design is authentic to the Marvel characters including Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Nebula, Nova Corps personnel and more besides. Not only that, but their individual and collective problems are also fully realised such as Gamora’s issues with her father Thanos and her sister Nebula, Peter thinking about his mother, Drax the Destroyer wanting to avenge his family and Rocket longing for what could have been for a love that he lost. Enemy design is faithful to the subject matter of Guardians of the Galaxy as enemies include Thanos, the Kree, Hala and more besides.
Environment design is faithful to that anticipated in Guardians of the Galaxy films as there are massively diverse environments situated throughout the galaxy such as Star-Lord’s ship, space battles, abandoned Kree outposts, Yondu’s home, far distant planets and much more besides.
The My Choices feature from previous Telltale stories makes a welcome return by providing an entire listing of your choices including the statistical analysis regarding the percentage of players who have made the same choice as you for each moral decision as well as a variety of decisions that are scattered throughout the chapters of each episode. For instance, if you encouraged Gamora to reach out to her sister Nebula, if you prioritised Rocket’s personal journey over acquiring Nebula from the Nova Corps and much more besides with the feature being directly available from the extras menu after having completed an episode.
Telltale promised that more of their games would be headed to Vita at some point; until a Vita version of Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series is potentially released digitally, remote play is a consolation. Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series’ remote play performance is on par with the graphics, audio and general performance of the PS4 version. Remote play control optimisation results in fighting actions being re-mapped from R2 to the top right of the touch screen when prompted and communicating with fellow team members via the ComLink has moved from L2 to the top left of the touch screen, while firing weaponry onboard Star-Lord’s ship has been re-mapped from R2 and L2 to the top right and left of the touch screen, alongside the rest of the controls remaining identical to the PS4 version; therefore producing a comfortable entertaining remote play experience.
The controls are appropriately mapped to the DualShock 4 controller by retaining the improvements from the previous Telltale seasons with the control scheme consisting of pressing X, triangle, square or O to start a conversation with a person in your team or to choose a response in a conversation with the buttons being clearly defined towards the bottom of the screen or alternatively adding moving the left analogue stick in a particular direction to perform combat actions; pressing R2 or L2 to perform further fight actions during combat; holding L2 followed by pressing the corresponding face button to use ComLink to communicate with your team when not present in the same room or alternatively pressing L2 to answer an incoming ComLink call; pressing up and down on the d-pad to utilise Star-Lord’s jet boots to move onto the next or previous level of a building or environment; pressing R3 to utilise the time scanner; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to move Star-Lord as you explore various locations within the universe and perform various evasive manoeuvres for Star-Lord to avoid incoming enemy attacks and objects such as asteroids; changing the direction of the right analogue stick to move the cursor around the surrounding environment for Star-Lord to closely investigate and observe certain objects and items of importance as well as deciding who to start or continue a conversation with or even positioning your aim; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu.
The PS4 version of previous Telltale stories have lacked any touch pad, light bar and vibration functionality with Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series being no different in this aspect which is surprising as it would have provided some further improvements over previous Telltale stories. There is no touch pad implementation which could have had quick time events (QTEs) optionally mapped to the touch pad or it could have otherwise been utilised as an optional method of exploring your surrounding environments or even participating in conversations and moral choices, while the light bar could have produced a range of colours to reflect the current mood and togetherness of Star-Lord’s team, alongside the lack of DualShock 4 vibration which could have been utilised when Star-Lord engages his jet boots or when in combat.
Graphically, Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series is quite possibly the best visual extravaganza in any of Telltale’s seasons due to the scale of the environments and the amazing depiction of each heroic and villainous character that is certainly on par with the film adaptations.
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series’ presentation is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, episodes menu, extras menus, your choices menus, settings menus and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick and there is a lack of a touch based user interface via the touch pad, despite how effective and responsive the touch screen user interface is in The Walking Dead on Vita. Menu backgrounds embrace the scenes and camera positioning that would be anticipated from the film adaptations, while there are other clever touches such as a cassette tape indicating saving or loading.
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series is yet another Telltale season that possesses incredible voice-over performances throughout the entire cast that entertains and provokes emotional responses from the audience. Funny dialogue between Star-Lord’s crew in the same style as the film adaptations such as when Star-Lord tells Drax the Destroyer to “Stay cool” only for Drax to respond, “My body temperature is always at 125.9 degrees”. Scott Porter voices Star-Lord and Peter Quill having previously voiced Lukas in seasons 1 and 2 of Minecraft: Story Mode, Luke in The Walking Dead: Season 2 and Bucky Barnes and Winter Soldier in LEGO Marvel’s Avengers, while Nolan North voices Rocket Raccoon having previously voiced multiple characters in the Guardians of the Galaxy animated TV series, performed as Nathan Drake in the Uncharted franchise and Captain Martin Walker in Spec Ops: The Line; Brandon Paul Eells voices Drax the Destroyer having previously voiced The Daves in Watch Dogs; Emily O’Brien voices Gamora having also voiced Iman Avesta in Batman: The Evil Within – The Telltale Series, Eryn in Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and a role in Death Stranding; Ashly Burch voices Gamora’s sister Nebula having previously voiced Horizon: Zero Dawn’s lead character Alloy, Chloe Price in Life is Strange and Life is Strange: Before the Storm and Cassie Cage in Mortal Kombat X; Adam Harrington voices Groot having previously voiced one of the male protagonists in Raw Data VR, Bigby Wolf and The Woodsman in The Wolf Among Us and Jerry and Leland in The Walking Dead: 400 Days; Faye Kingslee voices Hala having previously voiced Faith in Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst and Anna Wolanska and Fannie Chappel in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus; Sumalee Montano voices Mantis having previously voiced Hawthorne in Destiny 2 and the female Morgan Yu in Prey; Yondu is voiced by Mark Barbolak having previously voiced by Officer Danny Parker Jr. in Telltale’s Back to the Future, Walt in The Walking Dead: 400 Days and Nurm, Rob and Kent in Minecraft: Story Mode – Season 2; and further voice-over artists that are all amazingly talented in the delivery of their characters.
Peter Quill’s cassette player is equipped with a rad mix containing songs that are in keeping with the films including Living Thing by Electric Light Orchestra, Dancing in the Moonlight by King Harvest and much more besides by artists comprising of Bob Dylan, Boston, Journey, Queen and more, while further original music is composed by Jared Emerson-Johnson. Sound effects include Star-Lord engaging his jet boots, firing his weapons at enemies, the Guardians of the Galaxy fighting villains in close quarters combat, Star-Lord and his team piloting their ship and firing weaponry from onboard their ship at enemies in space battles. There is no DualShock 4 speaker implementation that could have produced sound effects such as when Star-Lord engages his jet boots as well as the Guardians of the Galaxy’s fights against villains.
The trophy list includes 31 trophies with 15 bronze trophies, 10 silver trophies, 5 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. The trophy list for all five episodes of Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series is entirely based upon completing each chapter within each episode; resulting in a somewhat easy trophy list in regards to the fact that you will platinum the trophy list if you are able to complete the story with only a single playthrough required. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 10 to 12 hours to platinum the trophy list.
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series’ difficulty curve certainly varies throughout each episode as there are some tough battles for Star-Lord and his team to encounter against many villains, while as the leader of the team even the conversations can be hard as there are some tough choices to be made that usually rather suddenly follows a passage of light hearted dialogue. The only settings that are customisable in relation to difficulty levels are for the in-game user interface as you can have a standard setting that allows you to have access to more feedback when you make important moral choices and help in regards to highlighting any areas of interest, while the minimal setting will completely turn off any hints, help and choice notifications. The user interface is as clear as it was in previous Telltale stories as the cursor is presented with a colourful and distinctive design as there are icons and colours within the cursor that really differentiate actions from one another rather than mostly being presented in the same way as actions were in earlier Telltale stories which makes for a better experience, while providing an appropriate amount of control inputs to represent your actions. As was the case with previous Telltale stories; you will find yourself being required to participate in many quick-time events during close quarters combat and space battles, although you will need to press the prompted buttons quickly within a rather limited period of time in order to ensure that you defeat an enemy of the Guardians of the Galaxy which is an appropriate design choice as it certainly adds an air of the team never being invincible.
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series follows suit from Batman: The Telltale Series that actually introduced Crowd Play by also supporting Crowd Play that allows the player to host a Crowd Play gameplay session which essentially offers a local multiplayer experience that could technically support up to thousands of people within a large theatre or 4 to 12 people gathered in any given normal sized room for a party game atmosphere, although the host player needs to have a Telltale account. People can join your game quite simply as a game code is generated when the host player creates a Crowd Play environment; people can enter the game code on a particular Telltale web-address, then immediately start voting on choices throughout the story without any of the people even needing to own the game other than the host player. There is a wide range of accessibility to voting on choices as people can vote from pretty much any mobile device.
However, despite there being no online leaderboards; there is a statistical analysis of the decisions that you have made during each episode in comparison to the decisions that everyone else who has played Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series has made which is a positive design choice in the sense that it provides you with an in depth look at if you have made the correct decision or if you were incorrect in the eyes of a certain percentage of people who have played the game. Every decision within each episode is clearly defined in the statistical analysis and it is incredibly interesting to see at the end of the final chapter of every episode what percentage of players made the same decisions as you and to also see the percentage of players that disagreed with your choices.
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series’ replayability is as impressive as ever due to the ability for a group of people to vote on moral decisions via Crowd Play which perfectly compliments the multiple storylines that can be shaped by experiencing the season over the course of multiple playthroughs, while experimenting with different combinations of moral choices to see which direction your decisions will ultimately guide the story regarding which characters Star-Lord will keep as happy as possible through his decisions.
- Title: Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series
- Developer: Telltale Games
- Publisher: Telltale Games
- System: PS4
- Format: Retail/PSN Download
- Cross-Buy: No
- Cross-Play: No
- Players: 1 (Crowd Play/Online Moral Choice Comparisons)
- Hard Drive Space Required: 19.39GB (Version 1.05)