I’ll be sincere: once I first noticed the reveal of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, I used to be slightly skeptical. Not of the tone, nor the story or the artwork design, however of the simple-looking fight that threatened to underwhelm. However after spending roughly an hour and a half hands-on with it, I couldn’t be happier to have been confirmed mistaken. Guardians’ fight is very pleasurable and much more complicated than I first gave it credit score for. And on the finish of my quick time with it, I discovered myself simply desirous to play extra.
My pattern of the fight got here as a part of chapter 5 of the marketing campaign. At this level within the story, the Guardians have racked up a substantial quantity of debt that must be paid to the Nova Corps. In an effort to pay that high quality, they need to head to The Rock, a Nova outpost. Issues aren’t fairly as they need to be although on arrival although; it’s eerily quiet, and proof of a battle will be discovered. After a brief interval of exploration, I stumbled into some glowing Nova Corp members who’re clearly not of their proper thoughts. Naturally, issues kicked off.
There are various, many layers to the fight system, so bear with me right here, however the closest analog I can discover to it’s – surprisingly – Guardians’ Sq. Enix stablemate, Remaining Fantasy 7 Remake. No, severely. Like in that sport, Guardians is about controlling a main character and issuing quick-fire instructions to your allies because the chaos unfurls. There’s no character swapping right here, although: you’re solely ever Star-Lord.
Star-Lord can lock onto targets and blast them along with his twin pistols. These have a cool elemental alt-fire mode, and a faucet of the d-pad switches between 4 completely different ammo varieties: lightning, ice, wind, and hearth. I solely had the ice choice accessible to me throughout my session, however I discovered it to be significantly efficient, particularly once I was inundated with enemies and wanted to gradual them down. There’s no ammo to select up for these pistols; as a substitute, they function on an overheat system that requires a well-timed set off pull to reload effectively, à la Gears of Battle’s energetic reload. It’s an all-timer mechanic that I frankly can’t blame any shooter for borrowing. Ranged fight will be paired with quick melee assaults to shortly construct up enemy stagger bars, which when full lets you activate staff takedown assaults to deal heavy harm.
Then there are Star-Lord’s signature talents, which will be periodically utilized by awkwardly pushing within the left analog stick (to be honest to Eidos-Montreal, nearly each different button is below fixed use) and choosing the transfer you’d prefer to carry out with the face buttons. These talents embody Fan the Hammer, which helps you to rain a torrent of high-speed bullets in a straight line that soften anybody in your path, and my private favorite, Eye of the Hurricane, which launches you into the air earlier than unleashing a spiral of grenades which have a large space of impact and deal heavy stagger harm. Additional signature talents will be unlocked utilizing talent factors that you simply’ll earn as you degree up.
Maintaining? Good, as a result of that’s solely half of it. Whilst you aren’t in a position to instantly management the opposite members of the staff in fight, you do get to command them, which at occasions turns the battlefield right into a real-time techniques enviornment. That is the place the Remaining Fantasy 7 Remake of all of it comes into play. Holding down the left shoulder button will deliver up the choice to make use of the opposite Guardians’ talents. For instance, Groot will be instructed to tie up a focused enemy in his tendrils, which might then be adopted up with an instruction to Gamora to leap in and slice that enemy up for large harm.
It’s a really enjoyable fight system to mess around with, requiring split-second choices throughout the chaos. Including additional to that is that in the event you do sufficient harm persistently, you’ll construct up the momentum meter, which when full lets you “huddle up”. This distinctive mechanic not solely grants your thumbs just a few moments of respite, but additionally grants stat buffs to both the complete staff or simply Star-Lord, relying on in the event you chosen the optimum dialogue choice. Undoubtedly my favorite a part of this, although, is when the motion resumes and a random 80s hit from Star-Lords’s playlist soundtracks the battle. And positive, We’re Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister simply is smart for an event like this, however there’s one thing much more contrapuntally pleasant about listening to Sizzling Chocolate’s Each 1’s a Winner whereas Rocket fires explosives right into a poor soul’s face.
It’s a posh fight system to wrap your head round, however the extra time I spent with it, the extra snug I turned, and the extra enjoyable I had with it. With a number of unlockable talents for every character, there’s a wealth of various mixtures to check out and discover what works finest for every state of affairs. You’ll have to consider that too; it’s difficult at occasions, and these aren’t encounters you’ll be able to merely button-bash your method via. When all of the methods come collectively it could actually really feel a bit like making an attempt to juggle a number of lit fireworks, which may lead to a stupendous, explosive show of firepower, or simply as equally blow up in your face in the event you aren’t paying consideration.
The staff throws out witty one-liners throughout fight, but additionally has nice moments of interplay throughout cutscenes and exploration. From this small slice, Guardians appears very properly written and – crucially – humorous. A standout second noticed Star-Lord level out the situation of a heavy unit by shouting “Huge man, 12’o’clock!”, just for Drax to dryly reply with “Present time irrelevant!”.
Offering additional alternatives for good dialogue is the Guardians’ ship, the Milano. Right here, I frolicked absorbing my spacious spaceship environment and speaking to my crewmates. It doesn’t really feel a galaxy away from strolling round Mass Impact’s Normandy in that regard, checking in on my mates in between missions and strengthening bonds. In a brief period of time, I managed to squeeze in a heart-to-heart with Rocket about his disagreeable run-in with Kree scientists, blasted out some Rick Astley from the onboard 80s hit-filled music system, and even met a purple llama with a floppy head of lusciously orange hair.
All of this isn’t 1,000,000 miles away in tone from the 2 James Gunn MCU films, and so very a lot feels a part of the Guardians of the Galaxy lineage. Eidos-Montreal has, nevertheless, made the characters really feel distant sufficient from earlier iterations, which has helped it keep away from stumbling into the dreaded uncanny valley that Crystal Dynamic’s Marvel’s Avengers sometimes did.
Additional respect is paid to the comparatively quick historical past of the characters by the dozen or so unlockable outfits for every member. These vary from Star-Lord’s basic Crew-Lord go well with from 2008’s Guardians of the Galaxy #1, to Gamora’s look from the 2014 film. I discovered a few these whereas exploring the darkish corners of the Nova Corps base I used to be visiting, they usually will also be rewards for fixing puzzles that act as a break from the high-octane motion. Whereas not overly complicated, these challenges diversified, from utilizing my ice ammunition to freeze a rotating gear in place, to turning digital connectors Watch Canines-style to energy up a grid, and even directing Rocket via small gaps that solely he may match via. It appears like Guardians will attempt to swap issues up every now and then and never rely too closely on its enjoyable fight.
In the end, I got here away much more excited to play Guardians of the Galaxy than I had been previous to my time with it. There’s a shocking quantity of depth on provide in each regards to fight and characterisation, with loads of unlockables and participant alternative accessible all through its methods. All of this whereas additionally blaring out Tackle Me, The Remaining Countdown, or Hangin’ Robust? Signal me up.
Simon Cardy did not get to fulfill Cosmo the Spacedog this time, however hopes to quickly. Discover him over on Twitter at @CardySimon.