Square Enix spent an terrible lot of time and money to make Marvel’s Avengers, and 9 months later, its AAA game-as-a-service nonetheless doesn’t appear to be paying off. Avengers was simply the starting, although: This is a “multi-year, multi-game” deal, and the subsequent SE-Marvel title, Guardians of the Galaxy, has simply been introduced for an October twenty sixth launch. This time Eidos-Montréal is taking the reins and main the partnership in a really completely different course. Prior to the sport’s E3 unveiling at this time, Eidos gave journalists an prolonged hands-off have a look at Guardians, and elaborated on its goals for the sport.
Off the bat, this is a single-player, narrative-driven, action-adventure sport. Given Eidos-Montréal’s pedigree — it’s the studio answerable for the ‘modern’ Deus Ex video games, together with Human Revolution and Mankind Divided — this in all probability shouldn’t come as a shock.
It wasn’t a given, although: Crystal Dynamics was recognized for the rebooted Tomb Raider video games earlier than hopping into microtransaction land with Avengers. Speaking of, Mary Demarle, senior narrative director at Eidos-Montréal, mentioned it was essential that gamers had the complete sport on day one, and made clear that “there isn’t going to be any DLC for this game, and there isn’t going to be any microtransactions.”
In Guardians of the Galaxy, you’ll play as Star-Lord, and Star-Lord solely. “It became very obvious very quickly that you need to play Star-Lord because [he’s] the heart of that team, he’s the human part of that team, which we can identify with,” Demarle mentioned.
Action performs out in the third individual, with an over-the-shoulder perspective. In fight, the different Guardians will battle for themselves, however as their chief, you’ll be capable of command them on how finest to strategy a battle and set off their distinctive skills. This occurs on the fly, with time slowing to a crawl as you navigate via these fight menus utilizing the face buttons in your controller. While I’ve solely seen a pair of fights, enemies do look like of the bullet-sponge selection — so Guardians shares not less than one trait with Avengers.
Outside of the motion, the “adventure” half of the sport additionally leans on the distinctive crew dynamic of the Guardians. In one phase, Star-Lord had to determine the finest strategy to make it throughout a ravine. He opted to have Drax throw Rocket throughout to activate a bridge on the different facet. After this occurred, the sport threw up a TellTale-like “Rocket is furious that you let Drax throw him” notification in the top-left of the show.
These selections, coupled with lots of Mass Effect-style (or, Deus Ex-style, if we’re being fairer) selections throughout conversations and lower scenes, showcases a deeper relationship system the place you’ll have to stability the wants of your crew all through the sport. “You are going to be at the heart of every social interaction that they have … you have to cheer them up through some of the mechanics that we have when things aren’t going so well,” Demarle mentioned. In addition to straight-up combating, Demarle added you’ll be capable of “boost” your crew’s morale “in order to win things in a better way, by dealing with the characters themselves.”
Not a lot is recognized about the story but. It takes place “several years after a massive galactic war, where the universe is still dealing with the repercussions of that.” The Guardians, as a bunch, have been collectively for much less than a year as “heroes for hire,” earlier than they mess one thing up and set off a “chain of cataclysmic events” that you just as Star-Lord have to forestall from destroying the universe.
At this level, it’s in all probability time to handle the “that’s not Chris Pratt” elephant in the room. As in Square Enix’s Avengers, the character designs and voices aren’t the Hollywood incarnations. Instead, Rocket, Gamora and co. pull components of their likenesses from each the comics and the MCU.
Despite understanding all of the characters earlier than they ever appeared on display, the MCU is so pervasive in our tradition that the heroes in Avengers, who had been very near their Hollywood counterparts in all however face, made me really feel like I used to be cosplaying as the Avengers, moderately than embodying them.
In Guardians, this isn’t as huge of a problem, as the majority of characters are more identifiable by their species than their facial options. Drax has a much less vascular design, and his character and persona seems to be a bit of nearer to his roots than the straight comedian reduction he gives in the motion pictures. Gamora’s costume is considerably much less Hot Topic than in the MCU, though she retains her black-red ombre hair. Also, Rocket has a viking goat beard now? There’s nonetheless a component of cosplay right here — Star-Lord’s look is similar to the motion pictures, and all of the Guardians’ voices will take some getting used to — however the impact is total much less jarring than it was in Avengers.
One space the sport is leaning closely on the MCU for is music. It’s performed an enormous half in each of the Guardians of the Galaxy motion pictures to this point, regardless of probably not being a factor in the comics. (That’s modified more lately, as the comics themselves have been closely influenced by the recognition of the movies.)
The presentation featured two ‘80s classics in “Holding Out for a Hero” and “Bad Reputation.” The latter song was triggered in the middle of gameplay when Star-Lord initiated a “huddle” that led to the whole crew unleashing a flurry of attacks on an enemy to the backing vocals of Joan Jett. “The licensed music isn’t only a passive factor in our sport,” Demarle mentioned. “It actually has an integral role in some of the action.” Demarle didn’t develop on these feedback, however did particularly point out Kiss, Iron Maiden, Wham!, Blondie and Pat Benatar when speaking about the soundtrack.
In case it wasn’t already apparent, we had been extraordinarily impressed with the presentation Square Enix placed on. It’s clearly early days, however the tone and voice performing captures the spirit of the Guardians nicely. The fight appears very similar to any trendy third-person motion sport, however not less than Eidos is making an attempt to spice issues up a bit of with the crew instructions, selections and puzzle-solving. At occasions it felt like they had been instantly addressing the response to Marvel’s Avengers. It’s just like EA’s very apparent messaging surrounding Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order following the unfavorable response to Star Wars Battlefront II’s… .
Hopefully we’ll see lots more of the sport earlier than its launch. I’m intrigued to see how dynamic the story is given the many, many selections concerned, and what influence this “killer” ‘80s soundtrack truly has on gameplay. Guardians of the Galaxy is coming to Xbox One, Xbox Series, PS4 and PS5 consoles, in addition to PC, on October twenty sixth 2021.