Gaming the Hero Biz

Being a big fan of comics, it should come as no surprise that I was excited to hear about the Guardians of the Galaxy game coming out. I was hoping to see it come out for the Switch, the only recent console I had. Unlike PC, PS5, and X-Box which have disks, the Switch is all cloud based though. This wasn’t an option I liked so I figured I’d have to buy it on Steam despite preferring to play it on a console. The weekend before the game’s release, I happened on a chance to get a PS5 and finally I have a current console to play the game on.

Jump forward a few days and I’m at GameStop picking up my first PS5 game, Guardians of the Galaxy. I went home and immediately got things going to play the game. I’m introduced to the characters and some I don’t feel like I know too well. Groot is, well… Groot. If you mess him up, that’d be pretty bad. Rocket looks more or less like himself other than a beaded beard that he has now. Drax has the colors right but the tattoos with the concentric lines in them is totally wrong. One friend commented that they look like something that would have had to have been computer printed and transferred onto him. Gamora is right in some ways but the hair and eye make up throw me off more than anything else. Plus, her outfit makes her look like she’s cosplaying as my PS5 controller. And then we get to Peter Quill who doesn’t look like any version of Star Lord I’ve seen, not in the movies and not in the comics. I’m not sure why they made him look like he does but it really throws me off. While the character design was a light issue, the graphics themselves are incredible. While I’m sure playing on a PS5 versus the Switch that I’m used to makes a difference, it doesn’t change the fact the environments that you’re traveling in look great. I’m really glad I’m getting to play it on a console on an HD TV versus the PC (with an older video card) on basic monitors.

The video isn’t the only part worth commenting on. While the look of the characters may not be what I’d like, the dialogue and character interaction is great. Whether you’re on the ship or somewhere out in the wild, there is constant chatter often related to the situation you’re in and sometimes just small talk. If they are waiting while you’re exploring some hidden cave you found, you may even hear them talking about you and how they hope you didn’t get lost or in trouble as they expect you to. And it’s not all just stuff for you to listen to. At times you will get a cue to click the square button which gives you (usually 2) options on how to interact with the conversation, sometimes supporting one character over another or leading the conversation between serious and humorous tones. This will affect the direction the conversation or action may go from there. I’m not sure yet if the conversation choices actually affect how much characters may favor you because of something you said or did. It would be great if that was the case. It would definitely make the time I’ve tried to look good to certain characters more worthwhile.

Talking isn’t the only audio we have going on though. There’s also the soundtrack. Right from the initial launch screen where you can save, load, change settings, and more, there is a long list of old songs to listen to as you see Peter sitting there with his walkman. Get into the Milano and you have access to the boom box playing the music with a selection of songs you can pick from. While the selection may not be as interesting for a lot of younger gamers, it’s great for those of us who grew up listing to some of it. One site I saw showed a list of 40 songs in the game from performers like a-ha, Rick Astley, New Kids on the Block, Def Leppard, and Billy Idol. There is also a selection of songs from a fictional band from Peter’s childhood, Star-Lord, which he gets his name from.

All that is the fluff of the game though. The game itself is a lot of fun with multiple chapters taking place on various planets and space ships. The story has been engaging with some fun parts that you would expect from characters like this. There are lots of creatures to fight and while you play as Peter Quill, during battle, you can direct the team to do certain things. You start out with 1 combat ability for each and unlock more as time goes on. You also unlock the ability to use actual elemental blasts from your blasters like ice or fire. This comes in handy as some creature are weaker to certain elements. Not only do you have combat skills to use, each characters have uses in basic situational troubleshooting like Drax moving heavy stuff and Rocket being able to hack into things. You have a useful tool in the form of your goggles which will allow you to analyze the area and sometimes find things or just get information on certain items in the area. Some of it is useful and some is just game lore there for the fun of it. Don’t just follow the team either. Make sure to explore every area you can find though. You may find things from items needed to upgrade equipment to new costumes. Yes, you heard me right. Those looks the characters had at the beginning are not permanent unless you want them to be. All 5 of the Guardians have alternate costumes and looks that you can switch between. (I’m afraid of what I might have missed early on when I might not have explored enough.) Remember the bad tattoos I mentioned on Drax? I managed to unlock the look he had from the movie which is much better to me. I also found an outfit for Gamora I like too tho the only other costume I have so far for Peter is the old school blue Star Lord outfit. I’m wondering if other versions may change his face to something more familiar.

Like in a lot of games, there are awards for doing certain things. The game will actually take screenshots of these for you though the timing definitely isn’t the best in terms of the text on the screen. I don’t think I had a single one that didn’t have at least a couple incomplete words if they are not missing enough to make it look like a board on Wheel of Fortune. There are also a lot of little things to watch for in the game like the Dazzler poster in Peter’s bedroom or the Nova recruiting poster on one of the ships. (Though, if you’re on the ship, you’ve either been captured or already recruited so I’m not too sure how well those work.) There are creatures all over of very odd styles and each had their own tricks for beating them and other idiosyncrasies that make them interesting. I’m not too far into the game so far so I still have a lot to see. While I love the game, it also reminds me that I’m not a great gamer. Thankfully, dying (which has happened to me A LOT) brings you back to the start of the battle or where you were when you fell off of something. With all the challenges, this has saved me so much and made it worth continuing to try multiple times without getting as frustrated as other games might leave me. This is definitely a game worth checking out. I’m looking forward to seeing how things unfold in the story and seeing what I can master in the game. Who are we kidding, I’m going to be lucky to finish it let alone master it, but I will have a lot of fun while doing so.

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