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Marvel's Guardian's of the Galaxy PlayStation 5 Game Review

The Galaxy's Misfit Heroes are Plunged into Their Biggest Job Yet.

Reviewed by on Oct 29, 2021
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy brings the spacefaring heroes back to gaming! Did the Guardians’ sci-fi romp impress? Check out Kidzworld to find out in our PS5 review!



Coming after the huge success that the Guardians of the Galaxy have received on the big screen, the Marvel team’s next big appearance in games was something fans were eagerly awaiting after the game’s announcement only a few months back in June 2021. In 2017, the team received their first full game by Telltale Games, the creators of beloved narrative-adventure games like The Walking Dead and their gripping take on Batman. Moreso than even the Avengers, the Guardians seemed perfect to translate into gaming. The more grounded powers and abilities, rich sci-fi background, and emphasis on putting players in the shoes of Star-Lord, the team’s leader were all strong signs that the game would excel where the Avengers' outing did not. Did the team at Eidos Montreal succeed in crafting the Guardians game that fans were hoping for?

The game follows most of the team as established in the 2008 comic run.The game follows most of the team as established in the 2008 comic run.

A New Take

Guardians takes place in its own universe, separate from the films and comics. In this story, Peter Quill served alongside the Ravagers in a massive galactic war against the Chitauri about 12 years before the game takes place. The effects of the war are still at the front of everyone’s minds even years later, and the Guardians have been together for less than a year. You can tell the developers took a lot of inspiration from the Guardians films for the general style and fantastic integration of classic music, but the comics were just as much of an inspiration. The modern take on the Guardians of the Galaxy featured in the MCU and this game stem from the 2008 run of comic books. Unlike Marvel’s Avengers, I never felt like the cast was a lesser version of the Guardians. They managed to strike a difficult balance between feeling new and authentic.

In this game, Peter grew up in the 1980s instead of the ’70s like the films, so his "Awesome Mix" is much heavier into Rock music. There is even a fictional band created for the game that Star-Lord idolized as a kid, so much so that he took their namesake with him into space. The gang has all the typical interactions fans would expect, plenty of disagreements, but each guardian has a bit of new texture that keeps things interesting as you talk to each team member to learn more about them. Drax especially stole the show, and it was wholesome seeing glimpses of Gamora’s softer side. In typical Rocket fashion, he was mad at me for a large chunk of the game, but I also had Drax throw him over a giant chasm without his permission…

You Are Star-Lord.You Are Star-Lord.

Banter Among Friends

Guardians of the Galaxy is a linear, story-based adventure. There are long stretches of the game dedicated purely to exploring guided but beautiful sci-fi environments, and listening to the team’s banter as they explore. The team is constantly talking, and for many games, this could get old fast. However, Guardians has so much dialogue that I only heard a couple of instances of repeated lines throughout the entire campaign. I was never taken out of the adventure due to constantly repeating lines, and this made all of the difference. I was amazed just how many sharp and funny conversations Eidos has managed to pack into this game. You do not just listen, though. Guardians features a choice-based dialogue system where you as Star-Lord can decide between two or more dialogue or action choices throughout the game to fully immerse yourself in the hero’s shoes.

How the team responds to you depends on how you treat them in dialogue and on missions.How the team responds to you depends on how you treat them in dialogue and on missions.

These choices are not just for the moment-to-moment conversations, but substantially change up how the game’s story plays out and which team members favor you most. Many games claim to have impactful choices, but Guardians really does put this at the forefront of the experience. There was a standout moment where after mostly siding with one character’s point of view, I tried to gain favor with another, only to be called out for patronizing them. It was like the game completely read my mind and saw through my intentions, which is something not even the best RPGs usually accomplish. Both choices big and small have a tangible effect on the game’s events, and it goes a long way toward making you feel immersed as the team’s leader as you are forced to deal with the rewards or consequences of your choices and actions.

The story can change based on your choices.The story can change based on your choices.

To Infinity and Beyond

The Guardian’s adventures take them across galaxies and through visually diverse worlds packed with increasingly wild alien characters. What Guardians lacks in wide scope and exploration, it makes up for in visual flair and character charm every step of the way. Populated locations feel lived in, and the more nature-focused worlds are truly alien. Eidos made the most of the potential that the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe opens up to create a constantly surprising adventure where you never know where the team will end up next. In between missions, the team regroups at the Milano, the Guardian’s starship. So many amazing games contain cozy spaceship hub areas, and the Milano is up there with the best of them. Every nook and cranny of the ship is packed with bits of each character’s personality, from Groot’s garden in the cargo hold to Peter’s vintage Chewbacca action figure in the cockpit. I never got tired of coming back to the ship to talk to the crew, upgrade skills at the workbench, or listen to the Jukebox packed with 30 classic songs.

The game is beautiful at times, and that includes the various massive beasts the team encounters.The game is beautiful at times, and that includes the various massive beasts the team encounters.

Fighting as a Team

In between long story bits and dialogue, is the combat. When enemies appear, this is where the game begins to falter. Guardians' combat system is not bad, it does a good job of ramping up complexity and strategy throughout the game. But, it never really comes together to be a satisfying experience separate from the narrative. The animations have a bit of stiffness to them, especially Star-Lord as he fires his blasters at the wide variety of enemies the team faces. Each Guardian has their own set of moves that they upgrade throughout the game, but their starting move sort of gets the job done without much upgrading until you unlock their final ability. With the rhythm of using Rocket’s grenades against groups of enemies, Groot to pin down foes with his roots, Gamora’s lethal slash move, and Drax’s stagger attack that leaves enemies vulnerable, it feels like there is very little reason to experiment with those alternate moves that shake things up. Star-Lord has his own set of moves to unlock, alongside a whole bunch of abilities and skills that you unlock with Components found throughout the levels. None of those Workshop abilities, minus a few, feel all that impactful on the combat though. The more interesting twist in Star-Lord’s fighting style is the various elemental weapon modifiers that he unlocks during key points in the story.

Fighting as Star-Lord is not the game's strong suit.Fighting as Star-Lord is not the game's strong suit.

Each type of enemy has its own displayed elemental weakness which does provide some fun rock-paper-scissors strategy to encounters, but still not enough to make the fights engaging. Boss fights are largely built around knowing how to employ the various elemental types and moves to best often massive, monstrous opponents that completely deliver on spectacle. Outside of the bosses, there is a wide assortment of distinct foes to take on. From the militaristic Nova Corps to the savage Chitauri, visually the melees were always shaken up. I admittedly enjoyed battles most when I set “damage dealt” to very high in the difficulty menu to get through fights quicker. The trouble is, the menu often resets your choices so you have to constantly go into the menu to readjust your choices. It is nice to get such a comprehensive list of options for players to customize their experience, but it is much less helpful when the options are constantly being reset between sections. Just getting through combat encounters quickly unfortunately felt like the best way to keep the game from growing stale and repetitive. Guardians is best enjoyed in chunks rather than binged.

Combining powers and abilities adds a layer of strategy to fights.Combining powers and abilities adds a layer of strategy to fights.

Huddle Up!

During the middle of combat, you can activate the huddle mechanic, where Star-Lord calls upon the Guardians to come together in the middle of a fight to check in on how they are doing. If the battle is going in their favor, the Guardians roar with enthusiasm and it is up to you to choose a speech option to keep them focused. If the Guardians find themselves struggling, you as Peter must pick the option that hypes the team back up to continue the fray. Early on picking the correct path was a bit tough, as the messaging felt a bit mixed. But, when you get the hang of knowing what the team wants to hear, having this little break in the middle of a hectic battle is nice, and the banter that comes with it is its reward. Though it is in the huddle sections that the largest amount of recycled dialogue takes place. After the huddle, Star-Lord dramatically activates his Walkman, blaring whatever classic song the game randomly selects from the list of 30. Struggling in an encounter, hyping up the team, and then finishing off the enemy to Billy Idol’s "White Wedding" is a sensation only a Guardians game can pull off. It is only a shame when the song begins and you quickly despatch the enemy before it gets going.

Hyping up the Guardians mid-battle can turn the tide.Hyping up the Guardians mid-battle can turn the tide.

Showing Off Old Tricks

Even with the less than stellar combat, the game stays engaging thanks to its excellent pacing. Except for the end chapters where the action is at its height and fights are happening often, the rest of the game has a fantastic balance of story and combat. You are never fighting for too long, and vice versa. When you aren’t fighting, you’re exploring or solving a puzzle. And when you aren’t trying to figure out where to go, you are enjoying the funny banter between the characters and engaging in dialogue choices. The game seems to understand that fighting is not what makes the game enjoyable between these long stretches focusing on its greatest strength, the characters, and the ability to customize nearly every aspect of the difficulty. You could make the game tougher, but that would only really lead to damage spongey enemies that are not very fun to fight.

The game feels like a more graphically impressive PS3/Xbox 360 era title in some ways.The game feels like a more graphically impressive PS3/Xbox 360 era title in some ways.

Exploration kind of leaves a lot to be desired sometimes too. In an age where every other game is a massive open world, Guardians' linear approach to the design is kind of refreshing, even if it can feel a bit outdated at times. There are constantly sections where Star-Lord and crew are forced to slink through tight corridors between areas as the game loads the next section, and I think this game finally made me tired of this particular trick that so many games use to hide loading screens. All in all, there were far too many moments where I was not enjoying “playing” the game in the literal sense. The fantastic character moments are held back by the unsatisfying combat and sometimes stiff exploration. During daring escapes while the Guardians are sliding down cliffs at a rapid pace before having to jump to safety, I would often clip through the ledge Star-Lord was supposed to grab onto and fall to my death at least once every setpiece moment like this. With how constant this happened, it tended to deflate the epic sense of adventure these scenes were going for. If Guardians overhauled its combat system and polished its action setpieces, the game would shine much brighter than it currently does.

Catching your breath on the Milano and talking to the crew between missions is one of the game's best aspects.Catching your breath on the Milano and talking to the crew between missions is one of the game's best aspects.

Final Thoughts

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a strong but flawed Marvel game. The cast dynamic, storytelling, and environmental diversity are incredibly strong here, but the lackluster and often unpolished combat and setpieces leave Guardians just shy of reaching its full potential. For every funny line or story beat, there are a few instances of frustration or monotony, but the game’s best moments are worth sitting through despite the game not always feeling fun to play. I hope to see Eidos Montreal come back to Guardians for at least one more attempt, as the team, much like the Guardians themselves, are teetering on greatness.      

The team assembled.The team assembled.


  • Excellent Character Moments
  • Gripping and Surprisingly Emotional Story
  • Visually Astonishing Locales


  • Unpolished Setpieces
  • Unsatisfying Combat
  • Often Overly Linear Design 

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Game Rating: 3

Marvel's Guardian's of the Galaxy PlayStation 5 Box ArtMarvel's Guardian's of the Galaxy PlayStation 5 Box Art

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*Game code provided by Square Enix for review.