There's been a bit of hype from Square Enix about their next Marvel title as they're preparing to release Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy. In case you haven't been checking out the trailers and build-up for this one, the team at Eidos-Montréal is putting together an action-adventure title featuring the comic book versions of the characters we have come to know through the MCU over the past decade. But can the spark and interest of that franchise translate over to gaming? It's been done once before as Telltale Games released their own version of the franchise back in 2017, which received general praise for the storyline, but it wasn't a breakout hit. We got a chance to see if Square Enix had the ability to capitalize on the group in a special online remote preview set up for journalists to try out.
WARNING: This is a preview! This is NOT the final product of the game nor is this a proper review. Changes can still be made prior to release and through patches. Please bear that in mind!
The demo was divided up into two parts for us. The first was on their ship The Benatar and the second was visiting a station run by Nova Corps. We started the preview by being given a choice of what to do with ourselves, as we had an option of going and talking to a very specific person out in Knowhere, or going to the Nova Corps to turn ourselves in and speak to a specific person running the closest station. The game purposefully designs these scenarios so that there are positives and negatives about both of the options, which are brought up by various members of the group. But ultimately, as you find out many times in the game, the decision comes down to Star-Lord making the call based on whatever advice you've been given and your own decision-making. No one is forcing your hand either way, but you do need to make a choice and that will affect how the game plays out moving forward.
before we headed out to the Nova Corps, which is what I decided I wanted to do, it gave me an option to explore the ship and chat with everyone. I could go into everyone's rooms and check out their stuff, on occasion being able to touch it which would spark an immediate "what are you doing with that" kind of conversation. Because the Guardians Of The Galaxy apparently know whenever you touch their stuff and are right there. You are given options of conversation to learn more about their character and grow a deeper bond with them as the leader of the group, which is something poignant you need to keep in mind. You can NEVER change from Star-Lord, you are always playing that character and interacting with the rest. Which is a big issue that comes up later. The conversations you have are well-established canon in the comics, there's very little detraction or rewrites, so you're getting a lot of cool info. However, sometimes the character just stands still and don't look very passionate about what they're saying, which can take you out of the moment.
When we got to the base, things picked up a bit as we traveled in and saw no one from Nova Corps was around to greet us. While you control Star-Lord, the rest of the characters kind of independently walk around and check things out, sometimes going to pre-designated spots to give you info like a control panel or looking through windows. While moving I noticed that Star-Lord has a bit of an issue sometimes with his legs. It could have been the connection to the game or a bug still being worked out, but on occasion, his legs would move and then his torso followed. I don't expect that to be in the final run, but I found it entertaining. We were greeted with a puzzle mechanic that involved getting Rocket Racoon to go through the floor panels and activating some switches to unlock doors, which came up a couple more times as a challenge to get around.
Eventually, we ended up fighting the Corps, or at least, people dressed up as them. As Star-Lord, you're given a bit of a fighting combination package that takes a little getting used to as you can fly, shoot, and punch. It reminded me a lot of the Batman: Arkham series how I could dart around and chain-action attacks. The downside to this is that I can't switch to other characters to help them out and take over their fighting style, which they are occasionally bad at. The best I can do is find something for them to do. An example of this is seeing some junk hanging from a crane, and then signaling to Drax or Groot to get a tough boss in place for me to eventually shoot the crane and crash the junk on top of them. That's the extent of control I have beyond aiding on occasion and healing them when they go down. Oh, and no one else in the Guardians Of The Galaxy heals you, you have to find health around the map.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with my demo for Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy, as there was a lot to take away from this game that made it more fun than Marvel's Avengers, but in a different way. A lot of my gripes and complaints can be adjusted or fixed with an update or loosening the reigns on a few things. Overall the gameplay was pretty solid and it was fun being able to explore this part of the Marvel universe for a minute. We'll see how the final game measures up when it's released on October 26th for PC, PlayStation, and Xbox consoles.