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From: Square Enix
For: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC, Switch
By HAYDEN MEIKLE
Take 10 minutes to get past some of its jarring aspects and this is a quietly wonderful game that proves you don’t need a vast amount of hype or anything fancy to be entertaining.
The first thing to get your head around when playing Guardians of the Galaxy, the game, is that it is not based on Guardians of the Galaxy, the movie.
Yes, you are playing as Peter Quill — or Star-Lord, as he likes to be known. And yes, that is Rocket (the mouthy one who is most definitely not a rodent) with you, alongside Drax (the overly literal bruiser), Gamora (the fiery rebel) and Groot (I am Groot).
But the voices are different (no Chris Pratt or Bradley Cooper, sorry) and the character designs are modelled on the comics, not the film actors.
The second initial ‘‘yeesh’’ moment is the explosion of garish colour in the environment design, but it is a momentary concern, and one soon adjusts to how the game looks.
It is a simple action-adventure game that has you controlling Quill from a third-person perspective and with various abilities (weapons and jet boots, principally) that can be unlocked and upgraded.
Smooth gameplay is largely focused on exploring, climbing, jumping and problem-solving mixed with combat sequences that get busy but never overwhelming.
Your own tools are relatively limited but you are progressively given the ability to send orders to your fellow Guardians.
A wide gap to cross? No worries, just get Groot to extend his branches to create a path.
Close to being swamped by some weird nasty little alien enemies? Call in Drax to either laugh heartily or, more helpfully, splatter them into pieces.
It’s a fun dynamic that is never too challenging but breaks up the monotony of staged combat.
There is a plot, of course, and as per usual I was very lost very quickly. But it’s something along the lines of the Guardians getting on the wrong side of Lady Hellbender, their former patron. And lots of stuff about revenge and theft and being on the run from crazy things that want you dead. Or something.
While the action is very linear, and everything is kept fairly simple, the game includes a remarkable amount of dialogue and funny interactions between characters.
For a long time, I deliberately chose the wrong way to go, just so — and it happened every time — Rocket would make some smart crack about what an idiot I (Quill) was.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a fun part of the Marvel universe. It’s a reminder that an old-fashioned, follow-this-path, single-player game can really work.