Before You Start: Tips For Playing Guardians Of The Galaxy

Before You Start: Tips For Playing Guardians Of The Galaxy
Don't let this happen to you. Or do, it's kind of fun. (Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku)

Square Enix’s Guardians of the Galaxy is out today, and considering how surprisingly good the game is, a lot more of you will probably be playing it than originally intended. The galaxy is a large and sometimes confusing place, especially when you’re guarding it. Don’t worry, we’ve prepared some helpful tips to help make sense of all the chaos.

Managing a team of galactic misfits isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it. While Guardians of the Galaxy has plenty of tutorials that can be accessed at any time through the in-game menu, we’ve assembled some useful advice you won’t find in the official, snazzy pink-and-purple UI.

Limber up before playing

Guardians of the Galaxy might not be a dedicated dancing game, but boy does it make you want to dance. With a soundtrack full of ‘80s hits and a neat huddle feature that busts out said hits in the middle of intense battles, I found myself chair dancing multiple times during my initial playthrough.

This GIF will never get old.  (Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku) This GIF will never get old. (Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku)

See? Even Kammy the purple space llama can’t help herself.

Bring along a laughing buddy

Guardians of the Galaxy is a hilarious game. Not five minutes goes by without some clever quip, quirky back-and-forth, or silly speech being delivered. This level of funny demands company. I found I enjoyed the game much more with my partner by my side, sharing in the laughter. This is especially the case during chapters 10 and 11, featuring an extended cameo by the funniest damn character in the universe. I mean man, this character makes me giggle every time they open their mouth.

Explore every corner of every area

Peter Quill’s scanner visor displays a marker at the top of the screen that indicates the direction of your primary objective when you’re out exploring strange new worlds and civilizations. The urge to follow that marker is strong. Ignore it, at least until you’ve covered all the ground where you currently are. There are little nooks and crannies in each area to explore. Some contain hidden collectible costumes. Others have items you can use to upgrade perks. Sometimes all you find is a cool poster you might have had on your own bedroom wall back in the ‘80s.

I was a big fan of Samantha Fox when I was a young teen.  (Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku) I was a big fan of Samantha Fox when I was a young teen. (Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku)

The point is, the developers crammed this game full of neat little Easter eggs, secrets to uncover, text logs, and whatnot. Find them. The universe-threatening danger will wait.

Use Star-Lord’s scanner all the damn time

One of Star-Lord’s greatest powers, aside from his ability to shoot a gun, is his scanning visor. Activating it turns the world red, purple, and teal. Purple bits are people. Red are stuff you don’t have to worry about. Teal are points of interest. These can be plants you can scan for some fun lore, structural weaknesses you can exploit using your teammates’ abilities to open up new areas, or important interactive objects you can use to do things like keep your team from dying of toxic fumes.

Google glass.  (Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku) Google glass. (Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku)

If you are lost, turn on your visor. If you are stuck, turn on your visor. If you are bored, turn on your visor. If you need to fire your primary weapon, turn off your visor, because the two won’t work at the same time. Otherwise, visor.

Hunt down perk-crafting materials like they done you wrong

Throughout the game you’ll find little bits of garbage on the ground that you can pick up. Those bits of garbage are crafting components, the key to unlocking perks. Utilising the workbench on the Milano or those found out in the wild, Rocket can fashion equipment upgrades that’ll make your space adventuring much easier.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

Perks include combat abilities like Charged Shot, a more powerful attack that causes stagger to enemies, or the Low Life Buff, which doubles your firing rate when you’re below 25 per cent health. More importantly, perks can make it so crafting components are easier to find, which makes it easier to buy more perks.

Know your teammates’ skills and use them wisely

Your teammates’ abilities have been designed so that they complement each other. For example.

Looks like a raccoon to me.  (Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku) Looks like a raccoon to me. (Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku)

Rocket’s Gravistack Grenade, as the name implies, stacks enemies together in one place. What good is that?

Give or take a few murders.  (Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku) Give or take a few murders. (Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku)

Gamora’s Stagger Wave hits one target, then deals stagger to enemies behind that target. Together with Rocket’s Gravistack, it’s pretty effective. But wait, there’s more.

He does indeed destroy.  (Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku) He does indeed destroy. (Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku)

Drax’s Katathian Charge does moderate stagger to all enemies in a line. Why not heap that on? And what the hell.

I am Groot.  (Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku) I am Groot. (Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku)

Toss in Groot’s uproot for good measure.

It’s easy to get into the rhythm of just spamming your teammates’ abilities every time they are available. Don’t do that. To know, know, know them, is to live, live, live longer.

Don’t be afraid to melee

As Peter “Star-Lord” Quill your primary weapons are your Element Guns. They fire either normal projectiles or a series of special elemental attacks. You can also beat aliens up. While melee seems to do a lot less damage than shooting initially, there are times when punching and kicking is much more efficient.

For example, when you freeze an opponent with your Element Gun, they become much more susceptible to melee damage. When you’re fighting near a ledge, a well-placed punch or two can knock your enemy over the side. Some enemies are just plain weaker to getting hit than they are getting shot. So punch faces, or whatever the alien creature you are fighting has that looks most like a face.

Make smart use of your Element Guns’ special abilities

Where would Star-Lord be without his Element Guns? Probably dead in deep space somewhere, his blue corpse floating endlessly through the void sporting a dumb expression. His Spartoi birthright passed down from his father, J’son, the Element Guns are powerful weapons that grow more powerful as the game progresses. First only capable of firing basic projectiles, Peter soon learns to harness the powers of ice, electricity, magma, and wind. These special elemental abilities are useful out of combat to solve puzzles by creating ice platforms, melting blocked passages, or pulling objects from afar. They’re also quite versatile in fights.

Ignore Chewbacca.  (Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku) Ignore Chewbacca. (Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku)

I mentioned freezing enemies and then shattering them with your fists. Certain enemies possess shields that are particularly weak against certain elements. Electricity can stun them, leaping from foe to foe in the process. Magma applies a damage-over-time effect and is particularly effective against oversized creatures. Finally there is wind: sweet, sweet wind. Wind yanks enemies from afar, bringing them directly in front of Peter Quill. Those snipers far off in the distance? Yoink. Not only does yanking enemies to you make them vulnerable to punches, if you’re standing at the edge of a precipice when you reel ‘em in, they’ll instantly fall to their deaths. So good.

Play through more than once

As you play through the game you’ll be presented with choices. Some are minor dialogue deviations, like picking which character to side with in an argument. Others are more major, like deciding who, between Groot and Rocket, to try and sell to the Monster Queen. While none of these choices alter the game’s ending, they each offer different interactions, new dialogue, and can significantly alter cutscenes. I was replaying a chapter yesterday for a video post and discovered that choosing a different option than I did the first time through led to nearly an entirely different scene playing out.

Don’t sweat the decisions. Just be prepared to play through more than once to experience everything the game has to offer. There is a New Game+ option available once you’ve finished once, or you can just use chapter select to go back through and change your choices.

Have fun!

The developers made this one easy. If you don’t have fun playing Guardians of the Galaxy, you should have your fun gland checked up by a licensed physician.

It's all about Kammy.  (Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku) It’s all about Kammy. (Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku)

Or an unlicensed space llama.

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