There is no doubt that most people came away from Square Enix’s E3 2021 presentation disappointed. The show launched with a long presentation for the next Marvel Gaming Universe entry: Guardians of The Galaxy. Square Enix’s Avenger’s live service flop left fans unenthused about their next foray into the superhero universe. Furthermore, the game reveals consumed more than 13 minutes of overall showcase time, erasing time for potential presentations such as the Final Fantasy 16 gameplay trailer.
Having failed to display such a trailer, Guardians of the Galaxy, suddenly became Square Enix’s most valued player. Besides, we got a detailed look at gameplay and valuable game information, such as a release date, which is like striking gold. It’ll be beneficial to take off the Square Enix tinted glasses and appreciate what Guardians has in store for us this October.
1. The MCU’s Charm
Originally, the Guardians of the Galaxy were composed of oddities like Martinex, a crystalized being from the colonizers of Pluto. Now, thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Guardians are known for a completely different roster. The movie’s characterization of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, and Rocket Raccoon vaulted them into stardom, which actively bled into every other medium.
Even though, their appearances are different – Rocket has an ugly goatee for some reason – the James Gunn flavor permeates the gameplay trailer. Gunn, being the director of Guardians of The Galaxy cemented a whimsical, 90’s tone for our characters. The game is no different with characters constantly throwing out sarcastic remarks and spouting out hilarious jokes. It might be triggered by a cutscene where, for instance, Drax offered to undress to cause a distraction or it could be through in-game dialogue where characters ad-lib Peter Quill’s hero name.
Gunn’s iconic signature, though, is his choice of music. Once the four characters garner enough points, a Huddle Up can start. In the heat of combat, Star-Lord will unleash his trusty weapon – the cassette player. In response to iconic songs such as “Bad Reputation,” all four Guardians are boosted in combat. Suffice it to say, even though Square Enix wants their own take on the Guardians, it’s hard to escape the MCU’s influence.
2. An Original Story
If done right, Guardians will seemingly hit the perfect balance for its storytelling. We want that zany humor from the MCU, but we don’t want a retread of the same old story. Square Enix, specifically Edios Montreal, will put a new spin on these iconic characters, though the specifics are somewhat limited at this time. The plot of Guardians of the Galaxy takes place in the aftermath of a galactic war, as far as we know.
So-called heroes take to the stars in search of a fast buck. In an unknown course of action, these lovable but bumbling characters accidentally start a catastrophic event. Some Marvel comic characters will also make an appearance in this bombastic story. A trailer showed characters like Mantis, Cosmo, and Lady Hellbender largely illustrating the team’s dedication to lesser-known characters. Essentially, the Guardian’s foundation is built through a rich history of comics and characters of which, hopefully, Eidos Montreal will take full advantage of.
3. The Sights and Sounds
Thanks to the nature of an expansive universe such as Marvel, Eidos Montreal has an advantage in that they can differentiate the environments with unique locations and strange enemies. We’ve already seen this manifest through the lengthy gameplay segment at E3. The first environment that caught our eye was a large field of floating mushroom-like platforms. Lightning from the looming, dark clouds strikes these circular platforms creating a breathtaking spectacle.
In no time at all, the Guardians fight a red cube that jiggles like jello. Metal spikes extend from its slimy exterior, making us excited for whatever unique enemy encounter comes next. The next environment had a brief appearance, but its blue, twisting trees were memorable, albeit short-lived. The last striking encounter was the presence of an enormous flying fish, submitting Guardians of the Galaxy as one wonky ride.
4. Learning From Their Mistakes
Marvel’s Avengers failed to reach the desired player base despite its solid campaign. The problem occurred with the live service element and its inability to retain players for a long period of time. From the start, fans were not pleased with Avenger’s being a live service game, with the genre casting a general aura of greed.
With that behind them, Square Enix was clear about the type of game Guardians of the Galaxy would be – single-player and single-player only. In addition to this, the game will be complete at launch, meaning no downloadable content and no microtransactions. Unlike Avengers, Square Enix doesn’t need to support Guardians after launch. Instead, it’ll be a single, concise experience. These focused, single-player games tend to be well-received and a better representation of what the player base desires – consider Marvel’s Spider-Man as compared to Marvel’s Avengers.
5. The Best of Telltale, Mass Effect, and Marvel’s Avengers
Guardians of the Galaxy combines elements of several games, making for an interesting blend of gameplay. The first of which was the most surprising – a choice system similar to that of Telltale. The gameplay trailer showed many aspects of this, but the most critical was a decision of which Guardian to sell. In a ruse to enter a castle, Star-Lord had to pick the Guardian that most resembled a monster. The mission has drastic alternatives based on whether or not Groot or Rocket are chosen.
The game also has the player issuing combat demands reminiscent of Mass Effect gameplay. For instance, Peter commanded Groot to entangle an enemy with veins, then had Rocket shoot the defenseless being. Even though Star-Lord is the only playable character, the three other Guardians will contribute in an effective and strategic manner. Lastly, the combat resembles the flexible, chaotic action of Marvel’s Avengers. Star Lord’s rocket boot grants him peak maneuverability on the battlefield, doing flips, dashing side to side, and even sliding on his back. Overall, Square Enix has a valuable asset that’s supported by learned mistakes and solid inspiration.