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Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

The video game, not a new movie or anything. Played on PC, looked great
Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy Video Game (2021)
I loved this - it was totally fresh and had nothing to do with the movies. The story revolved around some antics that escalated into a galactic threat, with great pacing and amazing character development and acting. Really great!

I just finished playing through
@Guardians of the Galaxy Video Game (2021)
and wanted to take a moment to register my appreciation for it. Everything I know about this franchise I know from the movies, which have gone from entertaining to frustrating as their leading man has plummeted further into self-caricature in his personal life. (I know, it’s silly to conflate the character and the actor, but it’s so annoying to see assholes get turned into godlike celebrities). And anyway, the movies are pretty reductive, right? They give you a surface level grasp of the characters, throw them into a few set pieces and then move on.
So getting to spend a few dozen hours with Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket and Groot turned out to be a real treat! Mantis was a particular delight as well, providing a much richer character than what we got in the movies. The storytelling was compelling, and interwoven with authentic character growth. The combat was fun enough, with enough complexity to keep things fresh without ever veering into anything approaching novel. Where the game really shined was in the characters!
You’ve probably got the basic idea of these five from the movies, but embodying them as they slowly move from a distrustful group of strangers to a tightly knit team feels authentic while at the same time feeling pretty epic! The voice acting is top notch, the animation had me convinced Rocket was real enough, and even the gameplay changed as the team learned how to work together narratively.
You unlock each character’s ultimate power by experiencing a moment of healing and trauma recovery with that character in the plot. These moments never feel cheap or out of nowhere (well, maybe Groot’s?), instead coming organically from the plot that keeps you moving forward from minute one.
One touch that I particularly enjoyed is that as each character moved towards trauma recovery and emotional healing they stopped needing you to tell them what to do. Rocket would automatically move to and hack panels, Groot would automatically deploy bridges — actions that had taken simple but disruptive manual interaction when the character was still more distrustful.
This is a story about accountability and growth, and about found family. Don’t play this game for the shooting, it’s fine but it’s not a highlight; play it for a genuinely heart-warming adventure across the galaxy with a group of unlikely heroes earning their name.

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