Telltale’s latest video game series, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, is now available to play, well at least its first episode, which is titled Tangled Up in Blue. As one may expect it follows Telltale’s bread and butter gameplay formula, which mostly features the player making dialogue choices and engaging in QTE segments to create their own unique story. While this tried and true approach has treated Telltale well in the past, for some reason the execution in Guardians is a bit off. Luckily, the episode’s plot is pretty interesting and full of GotG hijinks, so even with the technical shortcomings the first episode left me wanting to find out what will happen to Star-Lord and his team next.
Tangled Up in Blue definitely throws you for a loop right out of the gate as it breaks all norms and has the team scoring an early and decisive victory in their cause to guard the galaxy. I can’t delve into what happens too much because it would definitely spoil one of the episode’s major events, but just know that by chapter two you will have already achieved a major accomplishment in Marvel lore.
From this moment on the episode really starts to progress towards what I’m assuming will be the main plot thread of the series, which was totally unexpected for me based on how the series was explained to us in terms of who and what the Guardians would be facing. The narrative is actually much deeper and infuses a bit of Marvel lore from the galactic perspective over traditional Marvel properties, which being someone who doesn’t have much backstory on the Guardians universe is much appreciated.
Quite frankly, the real meat of the narrative, and the most engaging aspects of it to me, are the conversations and bonds between the Guardians themselves. This episode in particular really drives home how much of a family they’ve become, and the conflicts that can arise among people, aliens, raccoons, and trees when they’re as close with one another as the Guardians are. Most of the more difficult decision revolve around pissing one or more teammates off, so making your dialogue choices can be a bit painful. I should also mention the each of the leads are all portrayed just as you would expect them to be, especially if you’ve seen the live action GotG movie. While Telltale’s take on the Guardians isn’t a retelling of the film, the look of the world and characters, as well as their personalities all match what James Gunn and his cast setup in his excellent first take on this Marvel franchise.
Unfortunately, a bit of the fun gets sucked out of this Telltale series thanks to a few gameplay sections that feature an amazingly bad camera. This rears its head during one of the early gameplay segments where Peter must search around a room, but the task becomes much harder than it should because you can only move in one direction, and there are no controls for rotating the camera around to get a better view of where you’re going. I know these types of games aren’t really games after all, but when we are asked to interact with its characters and environments, it shouldn’t feel like you have your hands tied behind your back.
Tangled Up in Blue definitely had a few technical issues, but these days I think fans of Telltale games have just come to expect that. If you can get past some of the wonkiness I do think it’s a solid introduction to the series, and definitely nailed the Guardians characters and their personalities perfectly. It’s plot is full of surprises and definitely doesn’t unfold like you may have expected based on its previews and trailers, and it also has a great classic rock infused soundtrack. I’m eager to continue the story in the next episode, so if you’re a Guardians fan, or just like Telltale’s style, then I recommend investing in this series.
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Review Statement: The author of this review was provided an Xbox One code from the publisher for the purposes of this review.