Telltale Game’s take on Guardians of The Galaxy could easily have ended up being nothing more than a bad cover version of the popular Marvel movie.
Instead, we got a faithful and funny adaptation that not only reunites us with some of the most endearing misfits in modern cinema, but also starts to flesh them out in new and interesting ways, which is helped no end by an immensely talented voice cast, and a strong script.
While Telltale’s Guardians seems to be set in its own universe, it borrows heavily from elements of the film, while weaving enough references and Easter eggs from the comics to keep die-hard fans entertained.
Episode one of the five part series starts off in relatively straightforward fashion, as Star Lord and the gang are introduced to yet another ancient alien relic that has the potential to destroy the universe.
But there are plenty of twists and turns, with the first episode alone boasting a fun quick time event battle with a major Marvel villain, and some great character moments for Star Lord, including a particularly touching flashback to his days on Earth with his mum, which leads to an excellent use of ELO’s Living Thing.
Perhaps one of the best surprises of Telltale’s Guardians is that they’ve taken a similar approach to the films when it comes to the soundtrack, putting together a mini Awesome Mix of their own.
Episode one alone includes gems from The Buzzcocks, ELO, and Hall & Oates – all classic songs that are used to punctuate the game’s big moments to brilliant effect (and totally reminded me how great ELO are, as a quick side note).
But it’s just the great choice of music that provides a treat for the ears, as the aforementioned voice cast do a phenomenal job of capturing the madcap charm and chemistry that the Guardians are known for.
Scott Porter’s version of Peter Quill/Star-Lord carries the majority of the story, and he brings a strong mix of light-hearted humour and emotional clout when needed – the same can be said of Adventure Time’s Jeremy Shada, who does a great job of playing a younger, Earthbound version of Quill.
While the rest of The Guardians are uniformly excellent, and will no doubt get more time to shine in future episodes, Nolan North’s version of the furry and aggressive Rocket Racoon is already a highlight.
Continuing his long streak of apparently being in every video game ever, the former Nathan Drake pulls of a staggering impression of Bradley Cooper’s movie version of Rocket that retains all of the blunt humour and over the top delivery – if Cooper is unavailable for Guardians 3, clearly Marvel should give North a call.
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Guardians doesn’t stray too far from the normal Telltale formula – there are still semi-tedious segments in which you’ll have to wander around clicking various things before the story can continue, for example.
Still, the fight scenes make use of the entire team and their various powers, which makes the quick time events feel much fresher than they’ve felt in a while.
Whether you have even a passing interest or a die-hard fan of Marvel’s cosmic criminals, Episode One of Telltale’s Guardians is a loving and highly entertaining adaptation that sets up what could be one of the best Telltale seasons yet.