Released: June 6th (Xbox One)
Fresh from the discovery of an ancient artefact, the ragtag bunch of space faring heroes return in Episode 2: Under Pressure. The ensuing struggle for control of the Eternity Forge leads the Guardians come face-to-face with not only the Kree, but also memories long since repressed…
“Your face! You were choking! Oh, how we laughed”
Following on from Episode 1: Tangled Up In Blues‘ cliffhanger ending (seriously, potential spoilers from here on in) the team are apprehensive when faced with the true power of the artefact they are now transporting. The damage to the Milano forces them to make an unscheduled, though admittedly rather overdue stop for repairs, where they run into someone important from Starlord’s past (and apparently Rockets too) in the form of Yondu. It’s here where the decisions of the player really start to become apparent, as everyone is vying for their own agenda aboard the ship. Except for Groot, who remains incredibly chill about the whole affair.
This is the main portion of the story, and the choices reveal more about the characters pasts and how this has shaped them. Fans of the characters will love the chance to glimpse into the past of Star-Lord and crew – do you chase down Nebula and discover her dangerous agenda, or help Rocket with a very personal mission?
Telltale Games have once again done a magnificent job capturing the essence and charm of each individual member, and the team as a whole. There is an abundance of humour and camaraderie between them, but also plenty of almost sibling like bickering. Heaped on top of this with delicacy and dignity are some truly hard-hitting moments, which will have tears rolling unchecked down even the manliest of cheeks. Except Drax‘. Most of these went over his head, despite his frequent efforts to catch them. But, unlike in some games, these moments don’t feel forced. They fit in with a story which is being woven carefully with the players’ own hands. This is a quintessential Telltale game in this respect, and a huge part of the appeal of not only this game but all of the games they make. Telltale bucks the recent trend of having a lacking story in favour of prettier graphics and gameplay, and instead brings the storytelling element of video games back, providing gut-wrenching lows and knee-slapping highs, proving that a well-crafted narrative can make the players feel truly invested in the game.
Quick Time Events are once again the prevalent way of moving scenes along, with very little time spent walking around trying to find where to go next. The trickiest part of these is often remembering that they’re going to happen, as the dialogue and underlying story can leave you a little unprepared to sweep the thumb-stick to avoid a fire extinguisher to the face, for example. This is deliberate, however, designed not to detract from the immersion in the story, and instead to create a responsive one. Think of it as an interactive movie, where you make the conversation choices and let the characters take it from there. The replay value is high because of this, as often the different options can lead to vastly different outcomes, and wanting to hear them all is natural when it’s this well written.
This game will leave you wanting more, it’s gripping, funny, full of quirks and character that only The Guardians of the Galaxy seem able to pull off. Drawbacks are very minor, a few issues with graphics and some rather interesting animation at times, but this is not enough to detract from the experience. It’s a return to form for the renowned developers.
RATING: 8.5 out of 10