After a brief catch up on last episode’s events, we’re straight off to the races – or, the space battles – as the Guardians, in their damaged Milano, make a run for it from the Kree warrior Hala.
BEWARE: Spoilers lie beyond this point.
It’s all in an effort to prevent her from getting her giant blue hands on the Eternity Forge, the series’ particular MacGuffin, which at the close of the last episode brought a very dead Peter Quill back to life. Her plan is to use it to resurrect thousands of Kree Warriors, and the Guardians aren’t particularly keen on the idea.
With smoke spewing from an engine, the team head to Rajak where they hook up with Peter’s mentor Yondu Udonta, but while he’s definitely one of the best characters from the film universe, there simply isn’t that much to his character here. Along with the rest of the gang you’ve then got some big choices to make, as Rocket is insistent on taking the Eternity Forge to the planet where he was experimented on, while Gamora wants to chase after her sister Nebula whose about to go after Thanos’ body. Expect to upset somebody as you decide.
Deciding to follow Rocket gives you a fairly emotional look at his past, and the period where he was created. In a series of flashback’s it’s intriguing to see Rocket without any of the bluster and cynicism that he wears so wholeheartedly the rest of the time, and some tough choices will throw up “… will remember that” at certain moments to really make you feel like a heartless git. There’s plenty of opportunity to empathise with Rocket though, should you want to, and it’s a side of him that is well worth seeing.
One of my main problems with this episode which didn’t seem so apparent last time out was Peter Quill’s facial expressions. While the bold graphical style works very well overall, his facial animation is often just a little off, with a smug, self-satisfied look appearing all too often, via feigned anger or his absolutely awful look of surprise. He comes off as unlikeable at moments when you should be rooting for him, and all too often it distracted me from the actual story. Funnily, it’s not a problem that seems to occur with the other characters.
There’s one or two other technical oddities, such as being able to set the tape playing in the main area of the Milano, and Peter beginning to dance, yet there’s no music playing. In fact, we only get one song this episode, which is the disappointing Dancing in the Moonlight by King Harvest, which isn’t even as good as the Toploader cover of the same. Besides that there’s a few, almost traditional, graphical glitches that serve to cheapen things.
As ever, the action sequences are a series of QTE events, and this episode plays out even more like an interactive movie rather than a game, with only one instance of extremely light puzzle solving to break things up. The worst moments are some decidedly shonky space shooting, but fans of Telltale are almost certainly not in it for the action thrills.
There’s some welcome call-backs to the comics, particularly in the “next time” portion at the close that shows off some elements of the next episode via snippets of interview style footage. These are genuinely great, giving you a taster of the direction things are going to go, without actually telling, or showing you anything directly.
There’s a soft cliff-hanger at the end of the episode which definitely has me wanting to come back for more, even if this episode wasn’t as spectacular as the first. Besides the insight into Rocket’s past, there’s just not enough to really grasp onto, and the continuing threat of Hala and her Kree warriors aren’t given any more context or character beyond what we were given last time. There are still plenty of reasons to tune in to Telltale’s Guardians, but this is a B-side rather than a hit single.