Guardians Of The Galaxy Review: A Superhero “Mass Effect” Adventure
If you’ve ever played Mass Effect, the Guardians Of The Galaxy (GOTG) game will feel familiar when you play it. Mass Effect is an Role Playing game which follows a protagonist called Commander Shepard as he/she (you can be either gender) tries to thwart a villain called the Reapers from putting an end to the universe.
When I played Guardians of the Galaxy, most of the elements of Mass Effect were there.
Don’t get me wrong. That’s actually a compliment. GOTG is a fantastic game and deserves all the accolades.
Just like in Mass Effect, you control one character in GOTG. In this game, you play as StarLord. You’re the team leader and your teammates consist of Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon and Groot.
Just like in Mass Effect, you and your teammates spend most of your downtime in between missions in your ship, where you can interact with each team member and get to know them personally.
I’ll be honest, I had several doubts about this game going in. GOTG was developed by Square Enix, the same guys who developed the Marvel’s Avengers which did not get a lot of good reviews when it first came out as it was plagued by bugs and glitches.
But all my fears subsided when I read and watched all the great reviews for the GOTG.
And yes, GOTG is a great super hero game. It’s a well written story with a great voice cast. You don’t get many good super hero games with good storylines but GOTG will hit the nail on the head and I hope that other game developers use GOTG as a template for storytelling in superhero games.
At the start of the game, the Guardians of The Galaxy are newly formed and are still getting to know each other with Starlord doing his best to keep them together and in sync.
They start off on a mission at a location called the Quarantine Zone. The first mission is where you familarize yourself with the game’s controls including shooting, using dialogue to interact with your teammates and using your teammates abilities when fighting enemies.
Again, it’s similar to Mass Effect where you can also use your teammates special abilities on enemies.
GOTG is divided into 16 chapters. Each chapter takes about 1 hour to finish or longer if you choose to explore all areas. Overall, the game is about 16 -20 hours long with an option for a “New Game Plus” mode where you can start the game again with your acquired abilities.
GOTG takes you and your team on a quest to save the galaxy. You will visit familiar places from the movie franchise including Xander and Knowhere. You will also get to interact with familiar characters including Cosmo The Dog, the Nova Prime as well as some other characters from the Marvel Universe.
GOTG’s story is compelling and the voice actors do a great job on conveying emotion and pain especially when revealing some of their backstories in later parts of the game.
Just like Mass Effect, you’re presented with optional dialogue trees when interacting with teammates and characters to move the story along. Some of the dialogues don’t have too much weight on how the story progresses but there are rewards for picking the right options when interacting with characters in the game. Some of these rewards are in the form of special access to areas at some stages of the game as well as shortcuts.
By the end of the game, you can’t help but feel the GOTG team grew together as a team, if sometimes as a family as they battle internal monsters and enemies.
As mentioned before, GOTG has you playing only as StarLord with the AI controlling your teammates. During combat, you can select specific abilities of your teammates to use against specific enemies during battle. Each member has a special ability they can use which are highly effect against specific enemies. Gamora can “stagger” enemies with her sword abilities while Groot can hold enemies in place using his roots which allow teammates to easily perform attacks. Rocket has weapons abilities and Drax uses mostly muscle and strength to take care of enemies.
Unlike Mass Effect, GOTG doesn’t give Starlord a specific skillset like being a tech or gun specialist but you can acquire new abilities throughout the game which can be activated using the L3 button.
Starlord also acquires special abilities for his phasers which allow you to shoot different phaser shots such as fire and ice which allow to access areas which you couldn’t before and also help with combat easier against specific enemies.
One of my favorite features in gameplay is the Huddle ability which can be activated using L2+R2.
This feature allows you to call your teammates into a “Huddle” where you can give them a pep talk to increase morale which gives all your teammates increased damage as well as revive any fallen teammate.
Achieving increase damage for all teammates is done by selecting a specific dialogue option. If you select the “wrong” one, only StarLord will get increased damage and your teammates will say you “wasted” their time. The best thing about the Huddle Up feature is that after you’re done, it plays an oldie music classic from music soundtrack.
Imagine how cool it is to be blasting at a boss with Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” playing in the background. (Yes, this happened during one of my game plays).
I did encounter some minor bugs during gameplay which included enemies disappearing into objects which prevented me from finishing a particular stage as well as loss of audio during a huddle up moment.
A particular drawback to the game was performance issues during multiple enemy fights. The game slowed down significantly which made gameplay frustrating and slow. It felt like my console was struggling to keep up with all the action happening on the screen. Square Enix did push an update recently which has helped with audio and game performance.
As I said in the beginning, I was skeptical but I’m glad to say this game checks out. I did encounter minor bugs and the frame rate dropped considerably during massive combat fights which affected how well the game played. But despite that the overall game and story still makes GOTG a standout game of the year.
I’m definitely hoping for DLCs and even a GOTG 2 game for sure.
Given what GOTG was able to accomplish, there’s a lot that Square Enix can work with the Marvel Universe if they ever do a sequel.
4/5 Stars ⭐️️️️️⭐️⭐️⭐️