Review

Guardians Of The Galaxy - Episode 3: More Than A Feeling Review

  • First Released Apr 18, 2017
    released
  • PC

Mixed tape.

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After two episodes raising interesting questions and establishing characters, Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy maintains the same momentum with Episode 3: More Than a Feeling. It starts out with flashback scenes that are well-suited to the Telltale style of storytelling, and the difficult decisions it asks you to make call back to previous episodes' choices in engaging ways. However, it's held back by inconsistent pacing and poorly executed exploration sections.

Thanks to the Eternity Forge, a relic with the ability to resurrect the dead, the Guardians have been experiencing visions and vivid memories of their pasts. The episode starts with a scene from Peter's childhood, then shifts to one from Gamora's life with her sister Nebula and Thanos. Seeing how Gamora and Nebula used to interact is intriguing, especially since you're given a few choices in how to treat Nebula while in the memory. It's also satisfying coming off of the previous episodes, where Gamora's relationship with Nebula was positioned as conflict but lacked the context to be meaningful.

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Peter and Gamora then discover Mantis, a being connected to the Eternity Forge who has the ability to read people's emotions. Mantis reveals that she has been using Peter's memories of his mother to guide him to her--and that the Eternity Forge can either be given the power to resurrect anyone or destroyed forever. The choice lies in your hands: power up the Forge and resurrect Rocket's lost love and Drax's family, or destroy it at Gamora's urging and prevent the revival of an evil army. This is the main conflict of the episode, and it's not an easy choice to make.

Though there's little action in Episode 3 whatsoever, the moral questions are enough to drive the story forward. Using Mantis' power, Nebula shows you her side of the sisters' troubled relationship through the same memory you saw from Gamora's point of view. It's one of the highlights of the episode; where I previously found it incredibly easy to side with Gamora in every situation, understanding her faults through Nebula's eyes recentered me. That in turn made the choice to empower or destroy the Forge harder and far more weighty, since Gamora's support wasn't enough to make the decision for me.

Even with the right amount of intrigue, the pacing of the episode feels off. With one main conflict at its center, the episode feels empty in places, as if there should be more to do or more of Telltale's characteristic choices to make. For an episode that deals with so much--and with such high stakes--it ends just as it's ramping up in order to leave room for later episodes, which makes the two hours it takes to get there feel a bit slow and dull in retrospect.

That's made more pronounced by a particularly aggravating exploration and investigation sequence that requires you to spam one command until you trigger the next scene--but this isn't at all obvious just walking around and trying to figure out the solution. It takes way longer than it should, and it's yet another instance in the series of the more "game"-like elements feeling out of place and intrusive.

Like the previous two episodes, Episode 3 of Guardians gains enough momentum with its most engaging relationships and story beats to carry itself forward. It continues to build upon its characters and gives meaning to its choices, but it also suffers from similar problems, including poor gamified sequences. A cliffhanger ending interrupts the excitement of the scene and ends up feeling forced, which is less intriguing after two prior episodes of manufactured suspense.

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The Good
Flashbacks give meaningful context to Gamora's relationship with Nebula
A high-stakes decision at the center of the conflict keeps the episode engaging
The Bad
Odd pacing dulls the suspense at the end of the episode
Exploration sections are frustrating and poorly designed
6
Fair
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About the Author

Kallie just wants Gamora and Nebula to get along. Telltale provided GameSpot with a complimentary code for the purposes of this review.
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Gelugon_baat

To anyone reading this: Has your opinion of TellTale changed from the days when it made the first Walking Dead game season?

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jj2112

@Gelugon_baat: It's changed since they made the Back to The Future games. At least those still had puzzles.

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Gelugon_baat

@jj2112: I thought they stopped including puzzles in their games since the first Walking Dead season. Back to the Future came afterwards, right?

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jj2112

@Gelugon_baat: I'm not sure. I bought TWD but after playing Tales from the Borderlands (great storytelling and universe but not much else) I never felt like playing it.

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videogameninja

@Gelugon_baat: For myself personally I think more often than not most Telltale games are entertaining and do a good job of what they set out to achieve. With that being said I don't think any particular title (at least not in recent memory.) has reached the same heights of something like a WDS1 or The Wolf Among Us.

-RAISED THE BAR EARLY NINJA APPROVED-

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Gelugon_baat

@videogameninja: Indeed, those two packages are the best ones among the "serious" Telltale products.

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gamingdevil800

@Gelugon_baat: Their games are made to make a quick buck while working on several different episodic franchises at once to maximise profits. Rather than making good adventure games their games are mostly cutscenes now with barely any hub areas and not much in the way of puzzles. Telltale games have been reduced to interactive movies where at the end of the day your choices don't really matter.

If you look at the walking dead season 1 and compare it any other telltale game you can really see a difference in quality. Like the whole situation in the shop in episode 1 you had to figure out how to get certain items and solve small puzzles to progress the story. You could help Carly fix her radio and you could dish out chocolate bars to whoever you wanted. Also there is a moment in a later episode where you have to decide who gets to eat, with characters potentially being pissed at you based on who you give food to. Choices like that are basically non existent in current telltale games you just have to pick A B or C.

More recently in The Walking Dead A New Frontier I thought episode 1 & 2 were a return to form but after episode 3 it got progressively worse.

I notice when other developers have a go at the episodic adventure forumla they totally outdo and outshine Telltale Games. Life is Strange and The Dreamfall Chapters being two good examples.

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Gelugon_baat

@gamingdevil800: While I would agree that Life is Strange and Dreamfall: Chapters have more entertaining story-telling, I don't think that their gameplay or "player agency" aspect is any better.

In the case of Life is Strange, the gameplay is already deliberately hampered by its forced narrative; no matter what the protagonist does, no matter how much she rewinds shit, things turn out bad. The finale, has binary mutually-exclusive decisions which disregard every decision that the player has made for her: one rewinds everything all the way back to the prologue, thus undoing all decisions, while the other has a calamity which kills just about everyone except the protagonists, thus making any relationship-altering decision moot.

Dreamfall: Chapters does at least give some meaning to the player's decisions, since certain characters won't even be at the end and the epilogue depending on the player's choises. Yet, the overarching story will still be the same regardless of the player's decisions - a far cry from the game's in-game notifications saying that the player's decisions somehow will impact the story significantly.

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)
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    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
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    Developed by:
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    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.
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    Language, Use of Alcohol, Violence