This past October, Eidos-Montréal and Square Enix released a very strong game of the year candidate with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Editor Adam Vale reviewed the game on PS5 and perfectly described it as delivering on the look and feel of our beloved hodgepodge team while promising fans a flarkin’ good time.
Having completed the story campaign during launch week, I also walked away impressed by not only the visuals, entertaining character interactions, superb voice acting, and solid gameplay mechanics but also by the core structure of the narrative. While some would argue that story is subjective, there is no denying that Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is an emotionally profound experience because it deals with a topic that pretty much everyone can relate to on some level: Coping with loss.
The Portrayal of Loss
Anyone who has ever read or watched a Guardians of the Galaxy comic book or movie knows that several of the members on the team have all experienced traumatic losses within their lives. Star-Lord and Drax The Destroyer’s personal storylines are explored deeper within this game and have an overarching impact on the team. Both of these characters lose important people in their lives and are ultimately presented with tempting, but costly opportunities to bring them back. Gamora and Rocket Raccoon also mention some of their own past tragedies throughout the game, some of which were depicted in Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Senior Narrative Director Mary DeMarle and her talented team succeed in going above and beyond with the storyline because they perfectly balance the emotional weight of the events with how the team genuinely interacts with each other. Their behaviors and characteristics are represented exactly as they were in other mediums. Each member deals with their own insecurities and yet they are all accepting of each other, never shying away from being honest about how they feel. The chemistry that they share strengthens them as a family unit and shows that they genuinely love and care about each other, something that is universally felt and especially needed in times of conflict and loss.
The Real World Connection
Like many other games, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy was still being developed during last year’s global pandemic. This was a long, painful period that impacted everyone in the world one way or another, including the developers working on these titles. Some people lost jobs while others suffered the loss of a loved one. The end result caused many of us to reflect on our own lives, and cherish the finite time we have left with those closest to us.
Given some of the deeper themes within the storyline, I can certainly understand that there are some moments in Guardians of the Galaxy that may leave some people sad. Loss is a natural part of life and therefore something that everyone can relate to on some personal level. At the same time, this game is a firm reminder that it’s okay to lean on others you trust in your time of need. Life is filled with many ups and downs and having a strong support system with open dialogue is absolutely necessary. GOTG illustrates this message beautifully while maintaining all of the core elements that we love about Marvel projects. Eidos-Montréal has outdone themselves and I personally can’t wait to see what they do next.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is out now for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.