We’ve now reached the halfway point of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: A Telltale Series, and going off the cliffhanger of the last episode, there’s still a good amount of ground to cover. More Than A Feeling, the third episode of the series, is the shortest chapter so far, but arguably one that has the most consequences for the Guardians going forward. For the first time in the series, it feels like the stakes have actually been raised.
Picking up directly after the conclusion of Under Pressure, Star-Lord and Gamora have arrived at Emnios to confront whatever’s sending the team visions of their past. Before they do that, though, we once again delve into their memories to learn a little more about each of them. For Peter Quill, it’s a confrontation with the school-yard bully he previously fought. For Gamora, we find out what happened between her and Nebula that drove them apart. Admittedly, the screwed up relationship between the daughters of Thanos is something both films have covered, but it’s still an engaging storyline beat.
After the two Guardians relive these less than fantastic memories, they finally confront the being that’s been giving them such trouble. Perhaps surprisingly, the messenger is revealed to be Mantis, a powerful empath who has been locked away for centuries. She claims to already know who Peter Quill is, which explains why she contacted him in the first place, and that he’s known as the Celestial One. Quill has no idea what she’s talking about, but since she knows about the Eternity Forge, she’s brought aboard the Milano to help figure out what to do with the mysterious device. With Mantis and, potentially, Nebula now tagging along, a fractured Guardians team must deal with the ramifications of a galaxy-altering decision.
More Than A Feeling is an episode largely designed to move the storyline of Guardians of the Galaxy forward. After the detour to Halfworld last episode, this one was clearly designed to get things back on track. And as much as I enjoyed the trip into Rocket’s past, I’m okay with this decision. The main story has been the weakest aspect of this particular Telltale series so far, and if the studio has to reign in their focus in order to make it more engaging, so be it. While I’m still not entirely sold on Hala the Accuser as an interesting villain, at least the end of the episode makes her into more of a threat, regardless of what you decide to do with the Eternity Forge.
While I thought Rocket’s arc last episode explored some new depth for the character, the shared memory of Gamora and Nebula was less interesting. We already knew that the two have (for the most part) always been at each other’s throat, and the breaking point for them would be tough for either of them to come back from. Perhaps this is why it felt that the potential reunion between the two felt like it all happened too quickly. In the previous chapter they were too willing to kill each other, but by the end of this one, they’re performing tag-team maneuvers like the Hart Foundation. You could theoretically further divide the two by making some rather boneheaded decisions, but the bond between them shouldn’t have felt so easy to repair.
Even if the story of Guardians of the Galaxy is firing on all cylinders, there’s still the problem of the technology Telltale keeps trotting out for their titles. This is an engine that already seemed shaky back in 2012 with The Walking Dead, and five years later, things haven’t gotten better. Character models still struggle to properly display emotion, the action segments are still clunky, and the game still frequently stutters and under performs. It’s hard to believe it’s an Xbox One title when you’re playing it. At this point, though, I’m not sure when the studio will ever get around to overhauling things.
These recurring problems are present in addition to the disastrous bugs that More Than A Feeling falls victim to. For starters, the game wouldn’t even launch the day it was made available for purchase. I had to redownload everything in order to get it to even boot. Once I was able to actually start playing the episode, I ran into a pair of game-breaking bugs that prevented me from finishing the game’s fifth chapter.
In order to get past these issues, I had to redownload the episode AGAIN. Finally, after two days and two downloads, I was finally able to finish the sub-2 hour story. These technical bugs are ridiculous (not to mention unacceptable), and these issues feel like they are becoming more and more common for Telltale. They desperately need to work on their QA, but considering they currently have at least five projects in the works, I’m not sure things will get better any time soon.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy – Episode 3: More Than A Feeling is a decent, but ultimately underwhelming, episode of the series. The same problems that permeate pretty much all Telltale projects (lackluster action sequences, countless bugs) continue to be an issue here. It’s hard to keep giving the studio a pass for these mistakes and design decisions, particularly when the story hasn’t been able to make up for it.
However, with the additions of Mantis and Nebula, as well as the fact that the main plot finally seems to be going somewhere, things appear to be improving. There’s still a chance for Guardians to deliver the thrills and emotional story worthy of the characters, but time is running out.
This review was based on the Xbox One version of the title, which we were provided with.
While More Than A Feeling at least gives Telltale's fledgling series direction, the surprisingly brisk length and game-breaking bugs place it among the studio's lesser efforts.