Telltale brings the Guardians back for one more episode to conclude a roller coaster ride through the depths of outer space.
CRAZY ON YOU
After episode 4’s shattered ending, I anticipated that I would have some work ahead of me in getting the band back together. Sadly, things came together all too easy, and despite an incredibly strong finish to the episode–and thus the season–episode 5 is a bit of a mess.
In starting right where we left off in episode 4, 5 begins mere minutes after. The entire first half, if not longer, is bland, average-at-best filler material. Why set up such a big event like the departure of the Guardians if it was going to be as shallow as it was? You receive two team members back immediately upon starting the episode, then you begin a journey with Mantis to find the others. It’s a bit confusing, and it doesn’t explain Gamora’s hot-and-cold motivations. Did I make too many good decisions as a leader? I shouldn’t be penalized for that. One thing to note on my decisions is that the typical end-of-episode statistics show that most of what I did in this final episode didn’t really matter. In fact, in most cases, I shared the same decisions as approximately 90% or higher of gamers. That’s much too lopsided if you ask me. Shouldn’t the decisions make us sweat a little? In the sake of not getting overly spoilery, I also hated the death of Drax from the moment I saw it in episode 4. The way it’s addressed in episode 5 makes it all the more useless.
I mentioned in previous reviews that I enjoyed getting a look back at the group’s individual pasts/histories. This time, Groot’s up, but we don’t get to see anything regarding his background, but rather how the Guardians met. It’s a charming little story and scenario, but I was hoping to see something pertaining more specifically to Groot. Set in a different universe from the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, I like that the group’s origins were addressed here. That might have been a fun entire episode or prologue all by itself, and maybe Telltale could have released that in the same manner as they did with The Walking Dead’s 400 Days. Regardless, this made the passing grade.
Two major storylines are settled and in immensely satisfying ways. First up, the Guardians’ battle with Hala had me grinning ear to ear. It was completely epic, and utilized each of the Guardians’ abilities and strengths. I’d go as far as to say that it reminded me of the opening sequence of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, though this separated itself from that by having a completely distinct feel. Heart’s Crazy On You plays the whole time and it’s quite energizing. It’s one of my favorite moments in gaming this year.
Secondly, young Peter Quill’s story line with his sick mother, Meredith, is emotional, but not sad. This is some of the best writing and production that I’ve seen in a Telltale game, let alone any game. I paused and used nearly the entirety of my time meter before making my decision on how to respond in some instances, and in others, I knew what I wanted to say right away. Star-Lord’s Rad Mix came into play here, and it was such a beautiful tie-in, showing the developer’s careful manner in crafting the tale throughout the season. In the very end, you get to choose a song, which plays you out through the credits. I was even more amazed when both the Hala and Meredith Quill story lines intertwined. That’s some incredible writing, Telltale.
I wrestled with what number I wanted to assign this episode. On one hand, I wanted to give this a moderate to low score for its beginning and middle narrative (or lack thereof). On the other, the artistic way in which Telltale was able to wrap things up on numerous fronts, tie multiple story lines together in a meaningful way, and of course set us up for a second season has me landing in the middle of both paths. I enjoyed my time with the Guardians, and I sure hope to hear an announcement soon on a return to the Milano.
+ Hala & Meredith storylines are outstanding on their own.
+ Tying in the Hala & Meredith storylines.
+ Emotionally charged while giving the player closure.
– Brutal pacing and storytelling in first half-plus of episode is inexcusable.
– No payoff and little consequence from episode 4’s cliffhanger.
– Weak explanation for the return of two of the Guardians.
Josiah LeRoy is The Geekiverse’s foremost enthusiast on Guardians of the Galaxy. He loves writing and can’t wait to bring you his thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which is less than one month away.
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series – Don’t Stop Believing was reviewed on an Xbox One X. It is available for Xbox One, PS4, PC, and Mobile Devices.
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