Guardians of the Galaxy is a property that, if you had told me a decade ago I was going to adore, I wouldn’t have believed you. There’s a heavy weapon-wielding raccoon and a talking tree that says only three words most of the time. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how bizarre this series looks from an outside perspective. But after seeing the first film in the theater, I fell in love with the characters and became immediately invested in this bizarre and hilarious universe.
The Guardians have officially made their way to the video game world with Telltale’s latest adventure series, and the first episode is titled “Tangled Up in Blue”. While not much has changed with the Telltale formula, this motley crew fits perfectly in this genre, and fans of either the comics/film should feel right at home with this first entry in the five episode tale.
What’s immediately noticeable about the Guardians in this game is that there are subtle differences from these characters and those portrayed in the film. Admittedly, I’ve never read the comics (I had never even heard of it before the movie was announced), but the art style more closely resembles that medium here. Still, there’s enough similarities to the film that will make those who have only experienced the film feel right at home. The voice work, in particular, feels very spot on, save for one character. In fact, if you had told me that Bradley Cooper had lent his voice for Rocket, I probably would have believed you. Nolan North really nails this character.
The story takes place in its own universe, similarly to what Telltale did with its Batman series. The Guardians are already established, and tacking a very familiar foe right away. After dealing with this character, Peter acquires a mysterious relic that opens his past and affects him emotionally. Another villain wants this item, and the Guardians must reacquire it, despite not yet understanding its importance. Along the way, we’re given a bit of Peter’s history, and in true Telltale fashion he must make decisions that will please some of his team and anger others.
The gameplay in “Tangled Up in Blue” has standard Telltale mechanics that, to be honest, are starting to wear out their welcome. The time dialogue choices are present, as are quick time events and clicking around the environment to interact with objects. The only really new mechanic present so far is Peter’s ability to hover using the rockets on his boots, which adds a miniscule level of explorations. This serves more to introduce us to the character’s abilities than to provide a fun experience for the player. Thankfully, the writing is done well enough to make the story engaging, and the episode feels the perfect length to keep the gameplay from feeling too repetitive.
Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy’s first episode is truly at its best when it’s not trying to be a video game. The humor, dialogue, and plot are all immensely enjoyable, but I can’t help wonder if I would have a better time watching this story play out instead of being forced to interact by way of mechanics that have started to become stale. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy this first episode. On the contrary, I found myself smiling the majority of the time, but it was more because of my love for the characters and my ability to see them in a different light with their own novel, yet familiar story. I just wish I had more “fun” playing as Peter Quill.
“Tangled Up in Blue” does a great job of setting up this story arc and making me want more. We see lots of familiar faces and are introduced to more than one mystery to intrigue its audience, which is really why you come to a Telltale series. The typical Telltale jank and slowdown are still present, but cleaned up considerably since its previous iterations and barely detract from the narrative this time around. What this episode does best is tiding me over for release of the second film, which lands early next month. It’s not a mind-blowing experience, but serves its marketing purpose quite well while giving fans of the series exactly what they want: more.