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Review

Guardians Of The Galaxy - Episode 1: Tangled Up In Blue Review

  • First Released Apr 18, 2017
    released
  • Reviewed Apr 17, 2017
  • PS4

A pretty rad mix.

The first episode of Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy series sets the action-packed, sarcasm-filled stage for what's to come. It has just the right amount of exposition to keep things on track and establishes its characters without over-explaining things for those who are familiar with the comics or film. But while its two hours are paced like a movie and consistently engaging, its more game-like elements of choice and exploration remove you from the story rather than keep you grounded in it.

The episode starts strong, immediately diving into some action. The Guardians get a call from the Nova Corps, who need help fighting Thanos; soon enough, their ship is crashing and they stumble into battle. It might feel a little abrupt if you're unfamiliar with Guardians, but bickering among the team fills in most of the gaps with their personalities and dynamic. The whole episode feels true to their characters, especially how they're portrayed in the movie, and it's a good introduction to what they're all about without relying on lengthy exposition.

Before the actual fight begins, though, you first find the Nova Corps decimated by Thanos--and you have to do some exploring to figure things out. It's the first of several point-and-click adventure sections that feel out of place in the episode's movie-like structure. Since it's not immediately apparent what you're looking for, a section that would take maybe a minute in a movie can take 10, and things come grinding to a halt. It almost feels as if your participation is just the episode checking to make sure you're paying attention, when it was doing a fine job of being interesting on its own.

The fight itself picks things back up. Switching between team members to try and take Thanos down fits Telltale's quick-time events style well, and it's also a critical setup for the real conflict at the heart of the episode: rising tensions between the Guardians. Most of your important decisions revolve around siding with one team member over another. After the kind of bonding experience only fighting a genocidal maniac can achieve, not being able to make everyone happy is a little heart-wrenching, and those decisions have weight to them.

Less-important dialogue choices can reveal some backstory, but a lot of them can get confusing given that Star-Lord has such an established personality. He's snarky and sarcastic most of the time, but when you have options, you can choose to say something a little more mushy about friendship and family. That by itself works fine, but as the episode goes on, it can feel like you're choosing between acting the way you'd think Star-Lord would act and saying the things you'd actually want to say. In certain situations, it's jarring to have choices when the decision Star-Lord would make seems obvious, especially given the episode's cinematic format.

After the kind of bonding experience only fighting a genocidal maniac can achieve, not being able to make everyone happy is a little heart-wrenching.

Because of that characterization, though, jokes land more often than not, and even less-important interactions serve to build out the team. That and good voice acting balance out a few rough bits of dialogue (Rocket making a "your face" retort and following it with, "That was terrible," for example). Quiet, intimate moments between characters are what Telltale does best, and this episode strikes a good balance between Guardians-style snark and conversations with a little more meaning to them.

The episode has one majorly important decision toward the end, but I was only able to experience one of the two options. When I replayed it to see what would change, the only scene that was really different had no sound. It's the only bug I encountered, but its timing was more than inconvenient. From what I can tell, it's a decision that will more greatly affect later episodes than this one.

Even without that one scene, the episode sets up an important conflict and serious questions about the galaxy going into Episode 2. Some more game-y elements can take you out of the experience a bit, but this is also a compelling introduction to the series that captures the unique charms of the Guardians--plus, there's some kickass music.

Back To Top
The Good
Engaging movie-style pace
Characters are rich in personality
Raises intriguing questions and sets up serious decisions
The Bad
Game-like aspects disrupt the flow
Some choices feel at odds with established characters
7
Good
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series

About the Author

Kallie played through Episode 1 twice and had a really hard time disappointing Gamora. Telltale provided GameSpot with a complimentary code.
38 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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Avatar image for grant-12
grant-12

Insightful article. Keep them coming!

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

At least you are more critical than IGN on this.

Avatar image for deactivated-5b2c8e0382c99

@deviltaz35: IGN is a joke.

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@frosty988: They never used to be but alas you are right these days. They seem too interested in what the opinion will be if they are negative on something now so they seem to pretty much overrate everything including awful tv shows.

Avatar image for marctheheretic
MarcTheHeretic

I really want to see what Telltale can do with 2-3 years on one game because as much as I loved the Walking Dead (season 1) and Wolf Among Us this style is just so unappealing years later. At first I liked it because it felt like an interactive comic but now I'd rather read an actual interactive comic. Actually why haven't Marvel or DC done something like that? They should work with Comixology to make that a normal thing.

Avatar image for gotrekfabian
gotrekfabian

A new saga for telltale but still no evolution for the games. Whilst the story is worthy of a 7 the game certainly isn't. I have played many of these games and just feel that Telltale need to evolve their games rather than continually emulate previous games.

Avatar image for Gomtor
Gomtor

Not my cup of tea. The movie is great, though.

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@Gomtor: Unless they can better the movie what was the point?

Avatar image for Pierce_Sparrow
Pierce_Sparrow

Excited for this one. I love these characters and Telltale tackling Marvel, especially a Marvel property that isn't part of the core lineup of their material, is exciting. Makes me think this will probably be one of their more fun games.

Avatar image for RogerioFM
RogerioFM

Well, except for got, which I didn't play so I can't talk about it, Telltale never disappointed me, yes, the gameplay is repetitive, but again, it's their thing, in terms of story though, they are some of the best in the market right now, with wadjet eye, Obsidian and CDPR. As always I'll wait for the whole season, I hate waiting months between episodes, I don't think it adds anything to the narrative and I'm glad I waited for the whole seasons of Batman for instance, since as a whole it's amazing, but some episodes seem very underwhelming.

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@RogerioFM: There is zero reason not to wait. Plus in sales these games are roughly 4.95 within 12 months for every episode. If people stopped buying parts of games instead of a whole game they would stop this episodic nonsense.

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RogerioFM

@deviltaz35: Yeah, Just look at Blues and Bullets from another company, they might never finish it.

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DEVILTAZ35

@RogerioFM: Yeah , that is an interesting idea but the execution is so rough.

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NativePixel

Really strong start to a new adventure! I felt immersed for 2 hours. Good job telltale. I 100% disagree with gamespots uninspired if it's not Sony it's not gold reviewers

Avatar image for deactivated-5b2c8e0382c99

@nativepixel: This has nothing to do with Sony. GameSpot having a bias against non-Sony games is a ridiculous conspiracy theory. Sony games get bad reviews sometimes, too. The reason a lot more Sony games get good reviews is because they are in fact good. GameSpot gives most Telltale games at least an 8. When they don't, it's for a good reason. Game of Thrones, The Wolf Among Us, Walking Dead, Tales from the Borderlands, etc... have all gotten at least an 8. So your argument doesn't have any credibility. Batman got a 7, and that's all it deserved. So again, this has nothing to do with Sony. This is about the quality of the game, not who made it.

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@frosty988: There was a website where this went on and they were fired for it so it's very unlikely to happen now.

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deathbyderping

Eh, not feeling this one, TellTale. Maybe they should have chosen a different Marvel title to make a story line out of?

Hopefully it'll get better next episode.

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@deathbyderping: It's not the characters that are the problem, it is Telltale's ineptness.

Avatar image for RogerioFM
RogerioFM

@deathbyderping: Felt the same about borderlands, in the end it turned out to be one of my favorite series.

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Vojtass

Telltale is running out of ideas.

Avatar image for naomha1
naomha1

@Vojtass: LOL. Wha??? No they're not. They have, quite LITERALLY, hundreds of stories they could craft. From TWD to Batman to Borderlands to The Wolf Among Us. Personally, I'd love to see them RETURN to the Wolf series as that story was just downright amazing and, in my opinion, probably their best work.

Avatar image for Vojtass
Vojtass

@naomha1: I'm not talking about stories, I'm talking about game design in general. They just stopped in developing process, they just make more of the same. What's worse, gameplay is still very weak.

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Helidokter

Why the **** did they choose Guardians, Honestly, Marvel have so many more interesting properties that telltale could of nailed.

Avatar image for marctheheretic
MarcTheHeretic

@Helidokter: Yeah ever since they announced they're working with Marvel I was hoping for Moon Knight based on the version that started with the Warren Ellis run. Now I'd be surprised if they aren't just using these as movie tie-ins while the AAA games are actually going to move forward.

Avatar image for Vojtass
Vojtass

@Helidokter: Not really. Superhero comics are unoriginal and bland. There are far more interesting stories that could be used e.g. Thorgal. But universe aside, TT formula is depleted - they should think about reshaping it and deepen the gameplay which now is laugh worthy.

Avatar image for marctheheretic
MarcTheHeretic

@Vojtass: I really couldn't disagree more I mean yes there are plenty of interesting franchises they could use but there's plenty of great comics at Marvel and DC that are the furthest thing from unoriginal and bland. I still don't want them to get into any of those things until the game side is better though.

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@Vojtass: Exactly the same as lego games apart from Undercover. They are just all the same with different characters now. That one is a total gem though and i wish lego games were more like Undercover. Seeing how much cookie cutter designs are used at Telltale that was a breath of fresh air.

Avatar image for dudebropartyyo
DudeBroPartyYo

Is it me or TellTale seems to be getting stale and old. They could come up with an original story and all that from the ground up. Or try to incorporate other gameplay elements with what they have

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@dudebropartyyo: It's not just you, they should make games of the calibre of Lego Undercover and not more of this rot.

Avatar image for naomha1
naomha1

@dudebropartyyo: See, that's where you're wrong in your thinking. Telltale does Telltale. They don't do first person shooters or rpgs. They do stand alone stories based on intellectual properties and make it insanely interesting to be a part of that. Just like TT games does Lego games, Telltale does story games. What's really great is that BECAUSE of Telltale there are now a slew of copycat developers out there doing their own great work. Granted, some of it is garbage, but some of it is instant classics. I don't do the bs "romance" interactive novels on Steam or console but there are some really good stories out there. Joe Dever's Lone Wolf series is really good. Done by Forge Reply. So is Banner Saga 1 & 2. Even games like Divinity: OS use the formula to a degree. Then there's the Saga of Firewolf which is also really solid.

I do agree that Telltale should incorporate some kind of point n click adventure into their games to see if that works. As it is now you "chose" your path and use quick time events but what would happen if you replaced quick time events with dialogue that was used and that dialogue choice became your action? ie, you'd say, "I'm going to kill you!" and you try to forward stab or "I'm going to make you pay!" would equate to a foot sweep and punch? I don't know. I think the replayability factor would probably shoot up some.

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@naomha1: They get beaten at their own game though. Don'tNod make a far better job of it and make sure it's an interactive world where you can walk around freely as well. Even Dreamfall Chapters is far more compelling than more of this nonsense.

Avatar image for deactivated-59aca989c9399

@dudebropartyyo:
Too much on their plate at once. They had 4 series going at the same time last year, They need to cut back and take a break.

Avatar image for cmfernandez316
cmfernandez316

@dudebropartyyo: Yeah its getting old. ever since wolf among of us they started to chug out games left and right that i haven't caught up yet. What sucks is that Telltale doesn't take risks by using other established worlds. I wouldn't mind incorporating other gameplay elements but it would probably end up like an narrative driven RPG-ish kinda game.

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@cmfernandez316: True , maybe they need to start putting RPG elements in. Just anything to jazz it up. Have no idea how anyone still puts up with the useless archaic creaky engine and pretty much the same set of options in every single game though.

For the most part Telltale is just the Mills and Boon of video games nowadays.

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gamingdevil800

Tried cracking a joke when rocket was talking about his weapon "I said lucky I'm a good shot" then he instantly got pissey at me saying I killed mood and it was like he hated me throughout the episode due to the comment that should of been light hearted

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@gamingdevil800: Mass Effect Andromeda has that much gay elements in it , it's like walking into a bar , asking someone out then realising it was a gay bar and not the straight one your mate said it was lol. They really need to fix the awkward dialogue options and responses.

It seems to be the norm now to ruin an otherwise good game by trying to cater to minority groups . Make games for minority groups , make games for the majority but deliberately mixing up different genres and people's different sexual ''choices'' just ends up in a mess as it does in this game.

Don'tnod managed to make a decent game in Life is Strange without any awkwardness even with Gay elements in the game so it's possible obviously if the writers are smart. However if they are not smart they should just leave it the hell alone.

As for characters having hissy fits in games in answer to a basic question, that seems to be on the rise too lately.

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DEVILTAZ35

@gamingdevil800: Probably that time of the month.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series More Info

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  • First Released Apr 18, 2017
    released
    • Android
    • iOS (iPhone/iPad)
    • + 4 more
    • Macintosh
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox One
    In Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, players will take on multiple roles within the ragtag band of heroes, and take the pilot's seat in directing their escapades around the universe.
    6.8
    Average Rating45 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series
    Developed by:
    Telltale Games
    Published by:
    Telltale Games, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
    Genre(s):
    Adventure, Third-Person, 3D
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    Language, Use of Alcohol, Violence