Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series Review

Telltale has always churned out a lot of pretty cool titles. The idea of having your choices affect the ending has always been really cool. It brings me back to the “How to Choose Your Own Endings” books from back in the day. I’d die in most of them, but I’d always enjoy the experience. Well, this is what they do for video games and it’s certainly fun. As a result, there’s not really much gameplay so it’s more of an interactive movie where you get to put your own influence on the characters. I got the physical edition when it first came out so then each chapter of the game would come out gradually. It helped extend the game and make you wonder what would happen next. Some games certainly do a better job of making the decisions count than others. An infamous example is X-Men Destiny where the choices that you make really don’t matter.

The basic plot is that the Guardians have destroyed Thanos once and for all. They now have a mysterious artifact that looks like a cup and it may be all powerful. The team has to decide if they want to keep it or not while Starlord just uses it for beer. It turns out that this artifact may have the power to bring back the dead so naturally the whole team wants it for themselves while Hala wants it for her own purposes. Can the team get it together in time to stop this madness or will the Guardians finally end up disbanding? The ball is in their court now.

You play as Star Lord for the most part although occasionally the others have a choice to make as well. When you’re not making decisions you can walk around a bit to inspect things. Sometimes you get to fly around and investigate other layers as well. I actually got mildly lost with that during one of the earlier episodes but just keep inspecting everything. Eventually you will find the clues. The gameplay isn’t the smoothest, but that’s because the main focus is on the choices. It’s not as if the gameplay is all that extensive anyway. The main parts are handled through quick time events which I’m always game for. No matter how many different games use them, they are always just as awesome as the first time they popped up. I’m certainly convinced that quick time events are a good thing and should basically be in every game to be honest.

The graphics are good. The Telltale games always have a very distinct look to them. Everyone is a little more rugged and battle tired. It may not look shiny but it gets the general atmosphere across. It’s definitely good enough. Unfortunately, the soundtrack isn’t quite as good. When booting up the game you always have to hear this annoying song that pops up and I am absolutely not a fan. You’ll want to put the main menu on mute. Beyond that, the rest of the tunes are pretty good and we do get a better insert song for the end. The game did a good job of giving us a pretty climactic battle as well. Every member got to get their shots in with a lot of teamwork throughout.

There isn’t any replay value though but that comes with the territory. You automatically get the Platinum trophy for completing the game and there are no collectibles or anything. I suppose you could replay each episode to go for different paths and all, but part of the fun is sticking with the route you’ve taken. The only exceptions to that are when you unlock a true ending or something, but otherwise you don’t really want to go back. I’d say that the game is around 8-9 hours long as each of the 6 chapters at least an hour. The final one is certainly longer than that and some of the others were likely a bit longer as well which is why I rounded it up. I believe the game started out at 40 as opposed to 60 which helps, but either way it’s a reasonable length. Not quite the 10 hours but close enough.

For the choices I had fun making Starlord as mean and unlikable as possible. I didn’t become a villain or anything, but I kept it real with the team. I reminded them that I’m the one who took down Thanos and constantly call them out when they’re being dramatic. When threatened I quickly take the opponent down. Peaceful negotiations could wait for later after all. It’s definitely satisfying and there would almost always be a good option to pick. If you don’t like any then you can go with silence, but that’s just usually not my style. I want to say something, whether it be a quick burn or a declaration of war.

It’s hard to say how much my choices impacted the ending without seeing other people play through the game, but I’m satisfied with how it feels like I made a decent enough difference. It can’t get too drastic either since they’d have to program in a bunch of completely separate events otherwise. As long as it does make a tangible difference, then I’m set. It’s also a nice change of pace to essentially be watching the game unfold as opposed to blasting everyone myself. It does remind me that a 3D Guardians action game would be quite awesome though. There’s definitely a lot of potential there.

Overall, This was a fun game. Due to the nature of the Telltale series you can’t call it great because it’s basically a movie game and as such won’t have the thrill of fighting a good boss or platforming through a difficult section, but it’s still enjoyable. It’s basically like watching a Guardians movie. The plot is pretty solid throughout and while I’m not always the biggest fan of the Guardians because Groot and Drax hold them back, Starlord makes for a really good main character. It’s great to take the wheel and just make the characters as intense as you want them to be. If you’ve never played a Telltale game before then I definitely recommend it so you can see what it’s like. If you have, I still recommend it since it’s just fun to make the decisions. Hopefully it does get a season 2 so I can keep the decisions rolling. In case you’re wondering, Yes, I did disagree with the majority on a bunch of decisions. That’s just to be expected though.

Overall 7/10

The Invincible Iron Man Review

After all these years, I finally got the classic GBA Iron Man game! I’ve always wanted to get this since this would essentially complete my Marvel collection and side scrollers are a blast. That being said, the game is even shorter than I would have thought. I knew about the length about a day before I purchased it, but it was still surprising. The game is easily under an hour and you’ll beat it right away. There’s not a whole lot to do post game either, which makes for an interesting concept.

The plot is that one of Tony’s relatives has broken into Stark Industries and stolen all of his armors. Tony is a little puzzeled at how easy this all was, but he takes it in stride and breaks out one of his original armors. Will it be enough to take back his armors and take down the likes of Crimson Dynamo and the Blizzard? One thing’s for sure, this will not be easy!!

As I mentioned, the game is quite short. There are 8 levels plus two bosses. Each level can be beaten in a fairly short amount of time, but rushing through the game is discouraged to an extent. There are moments where you can cheese the levels by running and jumping a lot, but sometimes that will lead you to tun in a circle and just waste time. The enemies are surprisingly powerful as well. There are no power ups to be found in the game so your health bar is very small. A few good attacks are enough to knock you out so slow and steady is typically the key here. Do that and you should be fine.

The bosses are fairly simple. The final one is just tricky until you figure out his gimmick. Once you do, he becomes one of the easiest bosses of all time. Just hit him with the Uni beam, jump over him and do it again and again and again. He will not be able to do anything and you’ll have beaten the final boss. Blizzard was a little more tricky since his ice attacks are no joke, but as long as you stop his regeneration, you’ll be okay.

The gameplay is fairly similar to the Spider Man games, but you can keep on shooting indefinitely. It’ll remind you of Vectorman at some points. You can store up some energy by holding the B button or you can just keep on pressing it to shoot the little beams. Make sure to duck a lot since that will help you evade a lot of enemy fire. It won’t be enough to stop them all, but a lot of them at least. You’ll expend energy whenever you fire a blast so expect your energy to be at 0 most of the time.

You can double jump and then boost, which lets you cross a large distance in a very short amount of time. It’s handy and if you get two power ups, you can emit an energy wave that destroys everything on the screen. It’s handy, but you won’t get that power up until about halfway through the game. That’s still a good 20 minutes though so not bad.

I’d say that the graphics are pretty good. These are GBA graphics that survive the test of time. Iron Man’s design is quite good and most of the enemies look like fun Terminators. Everything is clear and you can easily follow the action. The cutscenes are essentially illustrations with a little movement so I’m guessing that this had more of a budget than you may have suspected at first. Unfortunately, that didn’t equal into a very large soundtrack. Typically, you can expect to hear the same tunes many times, although they are not bad by any means. They’re fairly inspiring and at the very least, work well with the gameplay. The sound effects can be a little loud at times, but that’s just how it goes.

Really, the game’s a blast, but it does bring up the age old issue of whether length is really a factor. This game’s an easy 7 no questions asked if it had a decent length, but only 8 levels and it being under an hour is a little iffy. I always have a section for replay value, but it’s basically empty in this game. You can get the 7 pieces of artwork if you want I suppose, but that’s literally it and at most it can buy you a few hours, but if you search each level carefully, it could be less. I got one of them, but the other ones are typically hidden in little nooks and crannies. Not really worth it for me, but sometimes I do have fun with this kind of thing. Even without any other game in the back burner though, I can’t picture myself going back for the art pieces.

Overall, Iron Man was fun, but it is one of the shortest games that I’ve ever played. There are a few titles that are shorter like Rudolph, but this game is scary short. I can’t imagine buying this at the full retail price when it first came out back in the day. I can only imagine that a lot of people were very disappointed with it. Considering that I got the game for a few dollars, it’s not all that bad. I actually get thrilled when a game is short since it helps with the backlog, but naturally, length does typically make a game better as long as the levels have a good amount of quality. Take classics like KH II, FF XIII, or even Sonic Adventure 2 Battle to an extent. I still recommend this game, but you may be better off getting the Iron Man PS3 game.

Overall 6/10