Game Review: Guardians of the Galaxy – PS4

Title Guardians of the Galaxy
Platform: PS4
Available on OS: PS4
Genre:action RPG
Date completed: May 2022
Game number:n/a
Metadata

Summary review: An okay game with really, really great soundtrack. And a lot of bugs.
Graphics: Standard PS4 fair. Very colorful and looked as good as could be expected for a PS4 on a 4k TV.
Music: Some reviews have called this game “a good soundtrack with an okay game attached”. They might just be right. The playlist for this game is fantastic.
Controls: Once I learned the control they worked out quite great for me.
Replayability: For reasons I can’t quite fathom I started this game again as a “new game+” and have already made it far enough for a bug to step my progress. So I would call this category “higher than average”.
Total score: 60 / 100 – I can’t bring myself to praise game with this many bugs. Not subtle bugs either. Like really egregious, obvious bugs. Can’t blame video drivers or conflicts since it’s on PS4. The soundtrack is about enough to cancel that out, though.


Introduction

I don’t know what compelled me to buy this game for $30 upon seeing it, but I thought it would be a fun distraction.

This game I think is more based on the comic than anything else. It is not related the MCU version of the Guardians or anything else as far as I know. This Marvel universe is much different than the movies.

As always there won’t be any spoilers. Mention of characters that show up along the way that are also in the trailers. But I’ll be very vague on the story beats and won’t even hint at the ending. Okay one minor detail. Not a spoiler.

The Premise

As the adventure starts the familiar cast of characters is gathered already on Peter’s ship, the Milano. They want to break into a shielded/restricted quarantine zone using a black market code. Kind of like the an element from Return of the Jedi.

This zone serves as something of a tutorial and introduction to the characters and their different dynamics and personalities. As another character points out later in the game, Rocket is very consistent across all of the multiverse.

The heroes illicit trip to the quarantine zone inadvertently sets an entire galaxy-wide threat and the story into motion. And naturally they’re the only ones who can stop it.

It’s like a war. But in space.

To say there’s a few references to the (first three) Star Wars movies is putting it mildly. I mean besides the action figure of Chewbacca. There’s Rocket, the lovable scoundrel. Groot who can only say three words but some how conveys emotion and seems to be the indirectly keeping the group grounded. Or rooted? Is that a pun? Is that on purpose? There’s Drax, the literal one with all the anecdotes. I’m not sure which Star Wars he is since Chewbacca is already taken.

And then there’s a Gamora: a much different character than the movies version but still managers to have a very complicated relationship with Thanos. Actually, if Thanos is a king and Gamora is her adopted daughter who defected during the war does that make her…a rebel princess? Hmm. Sounds right. Actually Mantis is green and rides around on a character’s back for a long time inside a very unsubtle cave-slash-metaphor. I hope you like that part of Empire Strikes Back. Because there’s a lot of it.

An emphasis on team

Can’t talk about this game without discussion of the combat system and can’t talk about combat without mention of team work.

I think I’ve seen this style of power-combo combat somewhere before: different members of the team can hit different categories of enemies with their special abilities to lead up to impressive combinations and “specials”. And once I learned it I thought it was really great the way it worked. It just took a really long time for me to learn it. That’s probably more on me than the game.

During battle there are sometimes these “team huddles”. I never did figure out if there was a way to trigger them on purpose or if it was more random. This is where I have to say I recommend turning off the pick-a-response aspect of the huddles. Those are the options: based on the teams (apparently?) randomly chosen demeaner and attitude toward the ongoing battle Peter must choose between two replies to fire up the whole team, providing a buff (and randomly selected pop song…here’s hoping for Final Count Down). Choose wrong and it’s just Peter that gets a buff anyway. It’s kind of pointless in my view if the player gets a buff either way and not really fun if the rest of the team doesn’t get a buff. It doesn’t feel like I can really figure out what I did wrong. So I would leave it on auto-win for the huddles.

Power up abilities

Over the course the game Peter and the rest of team unlock different abilities and buffs. Peter for instance has this whole side story with the origin of his twin blasters who keep manifesting special abilities. Not sure if that’s from a version of comic or not but I actually found it interesting. And that his missing father (a different father from the movies) figure left them to him not at all like Luke getting a light sabre.

There’s also random pieces of technology hidden through out the various maps. These can be cashed in at work benches that are both back on the ship and sprinkled in various random places. These pieces of technology can be converted to “perks” for Peter – I recommend the “components localizer” as soon as possible as this will make finding further technology much faster and easier to make unlocking perks that much faster.

It’s made of bugs? (always has been)

I feel like I can’t over emphasize here just how buggy this game is. Most of them range from “mildly amusing” to “annoying as I had to reload a check point”. But on my “new game plus” I inexplicably started I came into a game-ending bug. I mean I literally can’t finish the game because Drax refuses to throw a rock at a thing. It’s alright, I already finished the game once and I’m pretty close the end of the game now anyway. That doesn’t make it less annoying.

I think I would recommend not buying this for more than $10 or even $5. Maybe by then the bugs will be more worked out and if you get stuck like I did at least you’re not out too much.

New Game+

I usually don’t re-play games at all, never mind immediately after finishing it the first time. But since I had finally learned the combat system and I liked the soundtrack I thought “why not”.

Well there isn’t exactly a lot of reason to play new game+. Peter keeps all of his existing perks so finding those hidden bits of technology on the maps is kind of pointless with nothing to do with them.

I will say the first time I played through I inadvertently walked straight to the end of the Knowhere area not knowing I would never come back. So the second time I took my time and looked around. Had an interaction with a character I entirely missed the first time (in the bar), interacted with some random vendor NPCs and visited the museum of “The Collector”. Lots of lore that was way beyond my Marvel universe knowledge (which is pretty much limited to the movies). But I read everything and I thought it was pretty cool. I got in to the museum free too. Because of the thing in the bar, yes.

I kind of which there were more extras in new game plus to explore. New dialog choices, new areas of maps, maybe some variations of the songs on the soundtrack (covers or whatever). But as it stands now there is nothing like that. It’s just the exact plot with a bunch of unlockable things that already unlocked.

The soundtrack

I’ve seen other reviews that have said “better sound track than a game”. Yes, this is true. In fact if you wanted to you can download the playlist for this game instead and enjoy a really, really great combination of classic pop music. By far the greatest thing about this game.

That time we broke the fourth wall

Okay, here goes. Again this isn’t really spoiling anything.

You see the PlayStation gives out these Trophies (which are achievements every place else). Along side each Trophy is a percentage of players who get each of these Trophies.

At the very, very end of the game the credits start to roll and a Trophy is awarded. But there’s something not quite right about the credits.

So just give it a minute.

And then bam…a whole extra 5 minutes of game. After which the credits roll again this time for real and you get another Trophy.

There’s a 2 or 3 percent difference between the first trophy at the fake out credits and the trophy awarded for the real ending. Which means at least a small portion of players quit the game at the fake credits.

Which is why I wanted to mention this. You get all the way to the end somehow you want to make sure you see the real ending, right? Well don’t quit till the real end!

Or skip the game and download the playlist. That works too.

That constant bantor

I think the Marvel movies are famous for their character banter. And at least the earlier movies it was usually quite good or at least not terrible enough to be grating.

This game – on my first play through – the banter was constant, non-stop and incredibly grating. And there’s no way to tell game to “tone it down”.

On my new game plus though, I was speeding through all the sections and since I new exactly what to do and where to go I hardly even noticed the banter. So apparently if you’re really fast at figuring out where to go next or what rock to throw at what crack in the wall you may not even notice the banter. Must be better player than me though. Took me a lot of banter to figure out some of those blockages. And also realize they weren’t working because of game bug.

Conclusion

I find this game entirely…mediocre? I guess? I actually don’t hate the combat system. Battles that took me many, many attempts (more than 10) the first time through were accomplished in two or three minutes on the second time through because I had learned the combat system. The huddle system seems pointless to me but at least cool music starts playing once the huddle is over.

The characters are all very humanized and easy to relate to. Even Groot is able to convey feelings and emotions through his actions and facial expressions.

As I mentioned I really, really adore the soundtrack. Absolutely great.

Having said that I don’t know if this is enough to cancel out the negative stuff: the bugs, the constant banter/conversation and yelling remarks back and forth at each other and why some of the elements never had pay offs (like having to close the fridge door over and over).

Maybe this game was supposed to have an expansion and/or sequel if it was successful. The developer doesn’t seem to have bug fixes as a priority so I’m guessing that won’t be very soon if at all.


Metadata

Method of control used PS4 gamepad
Controllable via both one analog stick or digital four-way (“HAT”) n/a
Hardware requirements: N/a
Supports 21:9 aspect ratio screens?n/a
PCs tried on (PS4)
Works with 4:3 screens n/a
Initial setup required5120×1440 setup, subtitles
Time to complete~21 hours
Random Meta data

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