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Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Beginner tips and tricks

Square Enix’s second attempt at a Marvel-themed action/RPG quelled the anxious nerves of Marvel fans hoping for anything better than 2020’s Avengers game. Guardians of the Galaxy simplified combat, giving fans an entertaining cast of characters to command. The Guardians remain true to their film and comic book personalities with quirky dialogue and combat skills to match. Here are the best beginner tips and tricks for Guardians of the Galaxy.

Use these settings

The Guardians of the Galaxy huddle up.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Before you embark on your first Guardians adventure, you’ll need to double-check a few combat settings that’ll make Star-Lord’s life easier. Bring up the pause menu, select Settings, and then Controls. From here, you’ll want to make sure the following settings are set:

  • Disable Target Lock Break: Turn this on. You’ll know a setting is turned on if the pink-ish slider is visible. This will keep Peter locked on targets and allow for easier target switching.
  • Enable Target Lock Switching: Turn this on as well. This works with the above setting to let Peter seamlessly switch between targets by simply flicking the Right Stick. You’ll need to cycle through targets when plotting out moves with the other Guardians, but we’ll touch on that a little later.
  • Invert Spaceship Y-Axis: We wish there were more opportunities to fly in Guardians of the Galaxy. Change this setting for more traditional flight controls. (push up to go down and down to go up.)

Guardians of the Galaxy allows you to customize the difficulty settings to tailor the game to your liking. From the pause menu, tab down to Difficulty to open up the settings. If you’re looking for an easier, more cinematic approach, you can adjust these settings as you see fit. We recommend playing on the default normal difficulty for the best video game experience. Combat isn’t all that challenging on Normal, but you’ll still have to know what you’re doing.

However, we do recommend turning on Huddle Auto-Win. When the Guardians deal enough damage, Star-Lord can trigger Huddle Up mid-battle. This gathers the Guardians around their leader for an inspirational dialogue exchange. You’ll have to pay attention to what the other Guardians are saying and then choose the right dialogue option as Star-Lord for a full team boost. If you choose wrong, only Star-Lord will receive a boost. Choosing correctly lets you use the Guardian’s skills without cooldowns.

While this mechanic was fun at first, we found it an unnecessary break in combat that threw off the pace of battle. Turning Huddle Auto-Win on will make the gap go by faster and give you the combat boost that you’ve rightfully earned by stringing enough combos together. We wish there were a way to turn the Huddle Up scene off entirely, resembling what we saw in the gameplay trailers. Perhaps it will come in a future patch.

Explore every nook and cranny

The Guardians and Cosmo ride in an elevator.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Guardians of the Galaxy is not an open-world game. Every stage operates as a linear single-player mission. That said, there are still plenty of hidden paths to explore that’ll lead to collectibles and Components. Components are like your in-game currency. They come in the form of standard Components and Advanced Components.

Both kinds of Components are near impossible to miss. Normal ones appear as a pile of batteries on the ground. The piles vary in size, dictating how many components you’ll find in each. Advanced Components look like spheres but are much rarer. You’ll need to keep a keen eye out for both, but you’d hate to miss a pile of Advanced Components because you didn’t check off the beaten path.

Components glow white when you see them, so they’re pretty hard to miss. Star-Lord knows he’s heading in the right direction when the other Guardians start complaining. Rocket might chastise him for veering off on his own; Gamora might accuse him of wasting time. Those dialogue cues should tell you you’re heading in the right direction.

Other than components, you’ll find plenty of collectibles throughout the game. Outfits are the most rewarding collectibles to find, as you can equip new ones at any time. Our personal favorite so far is Groot’s Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse outfit (see above), which gives off Ryuk vibes from Deathnote.

Other than outfits, you’ll find rare collectibles that pertain to each Guardian. Once you’re back on the Milano, you can interact with the object to learn more about your fellow Guardians and why those items mean so much to them.

Make the right decisions early on

The Guardians of the Galaxy in the Milano cockpit.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Guardians of the Galaxy presents Peter with an abundance of dialogue options that’ll change the outcome of specific scenarios. Choosing correctly will make his life easier. Choosing incorrectly will lead to more challenging situations. Keep an eye out for purple text appearing in the top-right corner of the screen. This text will alert you when you’ve made the right or wrong decisions and the outcome of that decision. Without spoiling too much of the game, here are a few crucial decisions you should make early on.

Stick up for Nikki

The Guardian’s have found themselves in deep trouble with Nova Corps after they’re caught sneaking around the Quarantine Zone. Nikki is the daughter of Nova Corps Centurion Ko-Rel. After an explosion on the Nova Corps ship, Star-Lord comes to Nikki’s aid and helps her navigate the station’s underbelly to get back to safety. Whenever given a dialogue option, always side with Nikki. For example, Nikki eventually complains that her mom is too bossy. Star-Lord can either tell her to grow up or empathize with her, mocking Ko-Rel as best he can.

The two eventually find themselves in an elevator with Ko-Rel, who’s demanding to know how Nikki got through all of the ship’s security. If Star-Lord takes the fall for her, Nikki will slip her passkey into his back pocket since she trusts him. There’s no penalty for taking the fall, and the passkey will come in handy when the Guardians return later on.

Sell Groot

Lady Hellbender is a monster collector and pays a pretty penny for the most terrifying creatures in the Galaxy. The Guardians begin the game in search of a beast to sell to her for extra credits, but they muck it all up in true Guardians fashion. Now 8,000 units in debt to Nova Corps and without a monster to sell, Star-Lord is faced with a tough decision: Groot or Rocket.

The best decision is to sell Groot. Here’s why. While he’s a teddy bear on the inside, his status as the last Flora Colossus piques Lady Hellbender’s interest. If you choose to sell Rocket, she’ll laugh at the angry raccoon. The Guardians will end up in an unnecessary fight and could miss out on 12,000 Units.

If you choose to sell Groot, you’ll enter into negotiations with Lady Hellbender over the price. She, however, has an odd infatuation with Drax. Let Drax do the talking, and he’ll end up negotiating a 12,000 unit payday without an ounce of combat. Don’t worry; you’ll get Groot back.

Stash Rocket’s stolen parts

Before Ko-Rel inspects your ship, you’ll have the option to hide the adorable blue llama or a stash of illegal components Rocket stole from the Quarantine Zone. The best choice is to hide the illegal parts. Later, the Guardians will find themselves in a heated space battle. In the image above, you’ll the purple text in the top-right corner saying, “Hiding Rocket’s illegal contraband Paid off. He’s upgraded the Milano’s weapon systems.”

Ko-Rel will find the llama and hit the Guardians with an 8,000 credit fine. However, as the game unfolds and scut hits the fan (in the words of Rocket), you won’t have to pay the fine.

Don’t gamble on Knowhere

The Guardians make it to Knowhere in search of everyone’s favorite Russian space-dog, Cosmo. However, Star-Lord will have a little time to kill before going off to find cosmo, and the lure of the gambler becomes hard to ignore. There are a few games to play on Knowhere, and only one will yield positive results. Don’t bother with the slot machine. It will malfunction upon hitting the jackpot and leave Star-Lord with fewer credits than he started.

Near the slot machine is the classic “follow the ball” game hosted by a sentient brain. The brain insists the game isn’t rigged and even grants Star-Lord a low-stakes round to prove it. Play the low-stakes round to earn 1,000 credits. The low-stakes game is laughably easy, and you shouldn’t have a hard time. As tempting as it may be, do not play another round. Round 2 will cost Star-Lord everything he just won and more, but this time, it’s rigged. The brain disappears, and Star-Lord is left wishing he quit while he was ahead.

General combat tips

Star-Lord fights a NOVA Corp member in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Guardians of the Galaxy’s combat system is easy to understand and challenging to master. Aside from the more specific combat tips and tricks, here are a few general practices you can utilize to work better as a team.

Look for groups

For starters, look for crowds of enemies. Most of the Guardian’s starting skills, especially Groot and Gamora, can take out crowds of enemies in one combo. Use Groot’s Entangle skill to hold several enemies in place. Then use Gamora’s Shadow Strike to insta-kill most of them. You can also have Rocket toss a Cluster Bomb in to clean up any remaining enemies. Groot and Rocket will start the game with Entangle and Cluster Bomb. Gamora’s Shadow Strike must be unlocked for two skill points.

Star Lord’s rapid reload audio cue

Early on, Star-Lord will unlock the rapid reload perk, which works like the quick reload in Gears of War. Two sliders will appear when his blasters overheat. Reloading at the right time will release a powerful charged shot and cooldown Star-Lord’s blaster instantly. To make sure you hit this every time, pay attention to the audio cue when the crosshairs enter the green. You also have a wider window of opportunity than you think, so it’s safer to pull the trigger late than early. Practice listening for the audio cue a few times while out on a mission. You’ll know it when you hear it.

Using Star-Lord’s visor

As tempting as it is to scan everything while Star-Lord’s visor is active, don’t. Ignore everything in blue since it offers nothing more than informative world-building information. The only things of importance are always highlighted in yellow and are impossible to miss.

You can unlock a skill called Tactical Scan that lets Star-Lord scan enemies during combat. Don’t waste your components on it. We bought it thinking it would be helpful and never used it once.

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Mike Colucci
Michael Colucci is a lifelong video game fan based out of the greater Boston area. He's the one insistent on searching every…
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