I feel like I've just spent two hours pouring over the first issue of a Guardians of the Galaxy limited series while listening to classic rock. It's a good feeling.
After sharpening its comic book storytelling technique with The Walking Dead, Fables and Batman, Telltale Games sets its sights on Marvel's motley crew of spacefaring misfits. Guardians of the Galaxy is the perfect fodder for episodic adventure. While the series features plenty of sci-fi action, the exotic deep space setting mainly serves as the backdrop for an intergalactic dramedy about a group of unlikely friends trying to find their place in the universe.
The first episode of Guardians of the Galaxy : The Telltale Series taps into the tenuous relationship between Peter "Star Lord" Quill, Rocket Raccoon, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora and Groot almost immediately. Well, after the initial dance number.
While Telltale has said that the series is based on the Guardians from the comics rather than the ones from the Marvel cinematic universe, there's a definite movie vibe to the opening sequence of the first episode, "Tangled Up In Blue."
Peter Quill receives a distress call from the Nova Corps, currently under attack by the mad titan Thanos. As the corpsman pleads for aid, Star Lord dances around his cabin as "Why Can't I Touch It" by The Buzzcocks plays. You can watch the opening sequence in its entirety below.
Along with the Buzzcocks, we also get a little ELO and some Hall and Oats in this first episode. This leads me to think the entire series might be worth picking up for the soundtrack alone.
If you've watched the trailer, you've probably guessed that Thanos plays a big role in the first episode. It's a bigger role than you think, and what occurs during the confrontation between the team and their arch-nemesis has lasting repercussions that will ripple throughout the entire five episode run.
"Hey look! I'm a distraction!" Goddammit Peter Quill.
As exciting as that confrontation is, what with its arrow-key quick time prompts and clever quips from everyone but Drax and Groot, it's how the team deals with the fallout from that encounter that serves as the real meat in this first episode.
Rocket and Gamora wind up at each others' throats, each counselling Peter to take a different course of action in true Telltale "Someone will Remember That" fashion. Drax struggles with his own motivation, while Groot just wants everybody to get along.
Exacerbating this whole mess is a powerful artifact called the Eternity Forge, which has the power to affect profound change in the life of each of our heroes, as well as that of a deadly new enemy who wishes to use it for her own evil purposes.
Nolan North does a fine job of voicing Rocket Raccoon in the series. He's a good raccoon. If you're a fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy comics or movies, prepare to make some difficult decisions.
Despite the overwhelming urge to be friends with each character and keep the team together, that's just not how this adventure pans out. You're going to piss off somebody, and they're going to remember it.
We've got a team ready to tear itself apart, a powerful enemy helpfully willing to do it for them and a mysterious artifact with powers that can only serve to fan the flames. Looks like we're in for a pretty wild ride, with some excellent tunes to boot.
Episode one of Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series is out today for iOS, Android, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.