Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series Episode 2 Review
This is a review for the second episode of a five-part series. Due to the nature of this type of review, it will contain spoilers from the first episode.The first episode in any Telltale series usually starts off stumbling, fumbling and spending most of its time introducing the various characters and the general plot — we saw the same with Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series. Now entering the new territory of "Episode 2: Under Pressure," the kinks have been worked out and the series seems to have found a more definite identity and direction.
Telltale has said we'll be taking a deep dive into each member of the team's past through each episode and "Under Pressure" lets us get under the skin of Rocket Raccoon. Players unfamiliar with his backstory may be surprised to find themselves touched by his relationship with Lylla the otter. Thankfully, the groan-inducing dialogue has been toned down in this episode as to properly tell Rocket's tale. It sounds like a silly situation, the love between two animals imprisoned as test subjects, but most players will become thoughtful rather than laughing at their situation. Telltale has found their groove, striking a comfortable balance between humor and other emotions.
Meanwhile, the mystical Eternity Forge relic allows someone to be brought back to life with a catch: a life must be sacrificed to save that of another. Thanks to Episode 2, we know exactly who's on Rocket's mind while Hala, the game's main antagonist, wants to use it to bring back an army of millions of Kree. If every episode is going to revolve around the premise of who each member would resurrect with the Forge, it might get predictable and old fast. It's even more likely to get old if players are already versed in the Guardians' lore, but if all the episodes are as well done as Rocket's, the freshness of the information might not be as important as the way the story is told.
Is this an inappropriate moment to start an impromptu rendition of "Under Pressure"?
While this is an interesting approach to take and Rocket's story was a compelling one, everything isn't organized as well as it could have been. The main story took a backseat in Episode 2 and we go from being moved by Rocket's tale to the matter of the Eternity Forge rather abruptly. The episode then ends shortly on a massive cliffhanger related to the main plot, but it feels rushed and sudden.
While the story is open to discussion and leaves players questioning the various directions it could take, it's hard not to criticize the Telltale formula with this series. Many of the gameplay segments feel jammed in just for the sake of still being able to market this as a game over a TV mini-series. In Guardians of the Galaxy, they hold no purpose when compared to something like the investigative scenes in BATMAN - The Telltale Series where players can tie clues together. After watching a cutscene, the game will direct you to boot up the Guardians' ship so you can jet off into the next segment of the adventure — that's it. In past Telltale games, these opportunities used to be a chance for the player to walk around and hear some optional dialogue from the characters, but during these segments, characters in Guardians will tell you they don't want to talk.
This episode's all about me, baby!
While the Telltale formula has been overstaying its welcome for a long time, it seems to come to a head in Guardians. There is also some horrible usage of the meme-worthy "[Insert character here] will remember this" after something deeply sad and touching occurs. It feels like a joke that failed and ruined an emotional moment. Considering players' choices rarely have severe consequences, is there much point to telling us who is going to remember what, or removing us from the immersion of the story so we can start up the ship? There's nothing wrong with Telltale accepting what these games are — movies where watchers occasionally choose a dialogue option — and eliminating the interruptions. They have distanced themselves from the extreme button mashing and puzzle solving of their earlier titles like Jurassic Park, but have kept some of the relics that no longer fit with the new style of Telltale games.
As always, if you want to earn all six achievements for 200 gamerscore, just sit back and enjoy the episode while one achievement pops at the end of each chapter.
SummaryWe're off and running with Episode 2 of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series. What we're running toward isn't quite certain yet, but Telltale seems to want to take us on a ride to get to know each of the members of the team better. The dialogue in "Under Pressure" is much better than "Tangled Up In Blue," but other aspects of the game are struggling, such as the unfitting implementation of the Telltale formula. All in all it's a solid episode that feels decidedly rushed in the end — Rocket Raccoon's story is compelling, but it seems like the developer forgot they need to carry the main plot forward too, and left us on a massive cliffhanger to make up for it.
- The story continues to be engaging
- A touching look into one Guardian's past
- Dialogue is much better than the first episode
- Pointless interactive sections and poor use of the Telltale formula
- Cliffhanger ending feels rushed and squeezed in
EthicsThe reviewer spent a little over an hour playing through "Episode 2: Under Pressure." It's really hard to not get all the achievements in a Telltale game, so all six were earned for 200 gamerscore. An Xbox One code for the season pass was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.