Coming off the disappointing More Than A Feeling, I wasn’t thrilled with how Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: A Telltale Series was turning out. While I appreciated the fact that the story at least appeared to have some direction, as well as the solid additions of Nebula and Mantis to the core cast, a multitude of issues ruined the experienced. Like way too many Telltale projects, technical bugs were constantly popping up, and the tepid action sequences are still an awkward fit for the Guardians. The latest episode, Who Needs You, does a solid job of fixing these issues, but even as the series begins to wrap up, there are still problems to be found.
Picking up directly following the events of episode three, Who Needs You focuses on the Guardians dealing with the aftermath of whether or not Star-Lord destroyed the Eternity Forge. Regardless of your choice, the team will still have to worry about the vicious Hala the Accuser and the resurgent Kree Empire. Unfortunately, before the two sides can finally settle their differences, the Guardians are knocked into the darkest depths of the Sacred Shrine. Besides being stuck with each other, the team must also contend with a new enemy that’s intent on making sure they never make it back to Knowhere.
With the confrontation with Hala getting shifted, presumably, to the final chapter of the series, this episode is content on continuing to develop the layered relationship between Star-Lord and his team. Gamora and Rocket are still at odds with each other, and Quill is given a chance to work with either of them in order to get out of their situation alive. Long-buried team memories also play a major role in this episode, with sections devoted to Star-Lord and his mother, as well as a glimpse into the pre-shattered life of Drax. While the team does eventually make it back to the Milano, a dangerous escape mission leads to a decision that has major ramifications on the gang, or perhaps more accurately, what remains of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
After More Than A Feeling returned focus to the over-arching story, it was a good change of pace to head back to exploring the interpersonal dynamics of the team. Outside of the final chapter of Who Needs You, which casts a long, dark shadow, the episode has a light feeling that’s more in-line with the team’s cinematic counterparts. All of the Guardians are cracking jokes, Mantis is pantomiming karate and Groot gets high. It’s more light-hearted than I would have expected coming off the prior events of the series and a solid reminder that despite all of the anger boiling over, the team came together as a family for a reason.
I knew it was coming, based off how the previous episodes unfolded, but I enjoyed getting a brief glimpse into Drax’s history. It’s the least action-heavy of any of the flashbacks we have gotten so far, but his relationship with his daughter Kamaria is integral to understanding how his mind works. It also plays a large role in his decision making during the final portion of the episode. Star-Lord’s flashback is another look at his final days with his mother, which has weighed heavily on the series so far. Like with Drax, Quill’s relationship with his family informs a lot of his adult personality, and we see that play out in his conversations with the team.
For the most part, I enjoyed the story beats of Who Needs You, but I do have one problem with it. The biggest question asked of the player going into the episode was whether or not they would destroy the Eternity Forge. With teammates on both sides of the question, I assumed that when I destroyed it (spoiler), that Drax and Rocket would fully turn against me. Outside of a few snide comments, which are honestly not out of the ordinary for them, though, it didn’t seem like anyone on the team cared about the decision. Hell, at the conclusion of the chapter, Rocket was acting all buddy-buddy with me again, in spite of his desire to not destroy the Forge. Telltale is usually great at making your decisions have lasting consequences, but this one, at least for now anyway, seems like it’s kind of being brushed aside.
Gameplay-wise, Guardians of the Galaxy is still mostly forgettable. How much enjoyment you wring out of the episode will depend on how much you can tolerate quick-time sequences. With that said, Who Needs You does feature a memorable action sequence to cap things off. As the Milano is attempting to escape certain doom, the entire team must work together to escape back to Knowhere in one piece. During the rollicking, “Stone Cold Crazy” backed sequence, the gang comes togeher in order to rid their crumbling ship of a multitude of problems, including unwanted guests and total engine failure. It’s still mostly QTEs, but it at least feels more exciting than the other major action set-pieces from the series.
The previous episode gave me a ton of problems on the technical side of things, and I was worried the same issues would pop up here. I’m happy to say, though, that I ran into zero bugs during my time with this episode. If you’re familiar with the works of Telltale, you’ll know that this is basically a minor miracle. The engine still needs to be overhauled, as it is really showing it’s age, but at least it functions this go-around.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy – Episode Four: Who Needs You is a heartfelt, humorous episode that marks a major turn around for the series. Telltale’s version of Star-Lord and company seemed to be sputtering out after both technical bugs and lackluster storytelling marred the previous episode. However, by choosing to continue building the bond between team, and then fracturing it in a completely unexpected way, the game chartered an exciting final direction for the series. I’m excited to see how the team can rebound from this bruising adventure, and if they can manage to come together one more time for the sake of the galaxy.
This review was based on the Xbox One version, which we were provided with.
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy - Episode Four: Who Needs You gets Telltale's episodic series back on track thanks to humorous dialogue, excellent characterization and a conclusion that will leave fans itching for the next episode.