What is Square Enix’s new Marvel game worth, after the overly timid success of Marvel’s Avengers? Answer in this test.
Inspired by the eponymous film, the game Guardians of the Galaxy is the latest Marvel-stamped production developed by Square Enix, and more specifically the renowned studio Eidos Montreal. In this title, you play as Peter Quill, leader of the Guardians, in an electric adventure against a background of rock music. As he grew up in the 80s, for some golden years of the genre, Quill developed a personality like his favorite songs: nervous, disproportionate and without the fuss.
As he struggles to become the leader the Guardians deserve, he finds himself faced with an unprecedented situation, and must fight an overpowered enemy: the Universal Church of Truth. Did this adventure, which starts with a well-known legacy, made us feel like a Marvel hero? Answer in this test of Guardians of the Galaxy.
The perfect match between storytelling and action
On commence Guardians of the Galaxy with stars in their eyes, and the memory of the Marvel film in their heads, without having too great a priori on the experience that we will get from the game. And we must say that, from a narrative point of view, we were pleasantly surprised. Square Enix takes everything that works of characters and the Marvel universe, and condenses it into a lively, colorful and above all crazy game.
As Star Lord, you take the lead of the Guardians group, made up of Rocket, Groot, Drax and Gamora, the original members therefore. From then on, you control not only your destiny but also that of the whole team. This will involve the choice of dialogues, which will impact on the cohesion between the members, the actions you will perform during your adventure or your missed acts.
However, Guardians of the Galaxy is not a pure narrative game, as could be Detroit Become Human for example. Here we find a clever mix of action, QTE and quieter moments that propel us straight into a Marvel animated film. Divided into chapters, the story of Guardians of the Galaxy follows a linear course that connects events in a natural way.
If for some this aspect is a barrier to freedom, unlike an open world, this is an advantage in the development phase since the studio can focus more on the quality of its game rather than on the quantity of environments to explore. In addition, the linear flow works really well with the game world, which is based on a film that is also linear. We therefore take great pleasure in evolving in this state of mind.
A title that has rhythm
Overall, the gameplay and controls are really affordable for a game as edgy as this. One would expect complicated controls, especially in combat, but it is not. Guardians’ abilities are intuitive, just like Star Lord’s, and everything hinges on complementarity. A place for each power and each power in its place.
During intense battles, you have the option of summoning a rally. During those watershed moments, like a basketball timeout, you need to understand the mindset of the team members to target how you are going to motivate them. If it is a rather interesting mechanism in terms of form, it can quickly become off-putting in the long run.
We will also find a small difficulty in the handling of our character. From the first moments, we feel the will of the studio to create realistic movements, which consequently lose speed and fluidity. Those accustomed to more nervous games will find it difficult to move. For our part, after the first hour of the game, we were able to adapt to take advantage of this specific mobility.
What really sets the pace of the game are the transitions between gameplay phases and cutscenes. As you might expect, Guardians of the Galaxy plays a lot on the narrative sequences, which are just as important as the gameplay phases. However, the transitions themselves are not really optimized and we would have hoped for more fluidity.
The same goes for the animations, sometimes satisfactory, sometimes jerky or without interest. Many of the character movement animations are also recycled and reused in a loop, which makes the game lose some of its charm. With such a strong interest in storytelling, it’s a shame.
A successful adaptation
What makes the real strength of the game Guardians of the Galaxy, that’s his humor. We quickly stopped counting the number of times we laughed out loud in front of the floodgates, funny situations or even caustic remarks from our space wizards. For good reason, the dialogues of the title are extremely well written and have the same intention as in the Marvel film.
We also find a visual universe very close to what we already know from Guardians of the Galaxy, with an Eidos twist that our eye appreciates. The Marvel characters have indeed been reimagined in a more sexy and idealized way and we are pleased to find a new look for each of the characters, except for Groot.
The space environment has also been reworked, and brilliantly! All the landscapes represented in the game are worthy of a great Hollywood production, and there is almost nothing to complain about the development technique at this level, except for the times when our characters sink into the sets. . Everything is colorful, textured and lively as possible.
Some false technical notes
Despite our enthusiasm for the gameplay, the story and the graphics, to say that our adventure was perfect would be a lie. Throughout our game, we couldn’t help but tell each other one thing: all this is sorely lacking in technique. Whether we are talking about sound, animations, or even motion capture, the game is not in line with the quality of the big budget titles released recently or even a few years ago (God of War we will never forget you), and we expected better, especially from Eidos Montreal.
We start first with the sound aspect, which constitutes the major part of the criticisms which one to make to the title. Building a whole epic against a rock background is good (even very good). Doing it while being aware of the balance of sounds is a thousand times better. Many times we have found ourselves facing scenes where the music was so badly judged against the dialogue that we absolutely did not understand what he was saying.
If it is less annoying during scenes of combat, where the action takes precedence over the narration, it is much more during the phases of exploration or pure dialogue. Especially since the whole is absolutely not caught up by lip synchronization, which frankly leaves much to be desired. We even saw on several occasions that some characters did not move their mouths while they were talking.
As for the characters of Rocket and Peter Quill, it is often difficult to tell the difference between their two voices in French, especially in full action. It is nevertheless more embarrassing in the long term than really disabling. Another downside of the game: facial expressions.
Generally speaking, motion capture does not allow optimal capture of expressions, which is a sacrifice to be made to find the most realistic aspect possible. But all the same! It’s a shame to end up with characters as beautiful as the Guardians in the game, and give them as much emotional capacity as Groot. Fortunately, the voice acting is convincing enough to allow us to pass the sponge on this flaw, which ages the game prematurely.