Damn the naysayers. TellTale’s Guardians of the Galaxy is one hell of a great theatrical ride… that you can play. Being late to the party on this review has its benefits – I read others’ reviews and prepared myself to be underwhelmed by Episode One: Tangled Up in Blue. Maybe that altered my expectations for the better, because this iteration of Guardians of the Galaxy is right up there with Marvel’s own seminal movie. In fact, in a lot of ways Tangled Up in Blue feels like an extension of that universe, but something entirely its own. This is our Guardians of the Galaxy: Tangled Up In Blue review.
Make no bones about it, Guardians is still a TellTale game. You’ve got the quick time events, the branching dialog choices, hard decisions to make… it flows the same way all of their games tend to. But it looks so damned good doing it. I reviewed Episode 1: Tangled Up in Blue on the PC, at 4K – so that might help. But you can tell the artists took inspiration from both the recent movies and the current comic series. Gamora has the yellow around her eyes, Drax is green (not gray). Rocket and Groot are… Rocket and Groot. And while Star Lord doesn’t look like his film counterpart in the face, his outfit is right out of the movies.
But, this story has nothing to do with the Marvel films or the comics in terms of canon. Not to put a pun on it, but this Guardians of the Galaxy takes place in its own… universe *snicker*. And that’s just fine. If you know the comics, the familiar pieces are here – Nova Corps, Yondu, Thanos, the Collector, even the Kree. But by the end of episode one, you’ll be wondering just where the hell the game is headed. Not in a bad way.
Reviewing this game is hard, because you don’t want to spoil things for the player. Suffice it to say, the $5 spent is well worth it. For about 2-3 hours you’ll be gleefully absorbed in this tale. The focus, something the movie only hinted at because it was an origin story, is on the dysfunction of family. And per Peter Quill, that’s what the Guardians are. A big part of the game is managing the relationships, trying to do what’s right while also keeping everyone a part of the team.
These downtime moments are punctuated by the firefights, which are tense, but easy to get through. I missed one QTE entirely because I was taken by the events on screen and not anywhere near my keyboard. If there’s any one thing that’s a little flat in Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s that action doesn’t mesh well with adventure games. One of these days, I think it’d be excellent to see TellTale try to blend genres a little – make a game that’s part narrative adventure, and part traditional 3rd person action. But until then, quick time events and dialog choices are about the crux of it. And depending on how you like your comic videogames, that’s either a good thing or a bad.
In this case, I ultimately feel like Guardians of the Galaxy: Tangled Up in Blue is a wondrous entry to the developer’s ever-growing pool of stories. There’s something innately fun about this brand of Guardians, and TellTale was right to capitalize on both the recent films and the comics lore. There’s a very deft story being told, and one that’s definitely got a few unexpected turns even after one episode. Side note, I also really appreciate the stellar soundtrack and that every episode title is another fantastic song title. The question is whether or not it can carry this momentum and give us as satisfying a conclusion as we received with the Batman series. If so, someone please give TellTale more comics to make games with.
Note: Our review was completed on PC with a code provided by PR.