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Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy puts a superhero spin on Mass Effect

The Guardians of the Galaxy are the latest Marvel heroes to get a video game adaptation. Square Enix revealed Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy at its E3 livestream today, and it’s coming to PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC on October 26.

The game is being developed by Eidos-Montréal, the studio best known for its work on the Deus Ex franchise. The new superhero title is a third-person action game based on the popular comic book franchise, and it focuses on combat and branching dialogue options.

Comparisons to Marvel’s Avengers

On its surface, the game might seem similar to Marvel’s Avengers with its third-person combat. The comparisons mostly end there. This is explicitly a single-player game with no post-launch content or DLC planned. It doesn’t seem to feature loot or gear grinding either. Instead, it’s a more straightforward adventure where players control Star-Lord, who can rack up combos with a mix of gunplay and melee attacks.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy | Official Reveal Trailer

Mass Effect is its more accurate gameplay comparison. While players only directly control Star-Lord, they can slow down time and choose commands for the other Guardians. The game also appears to feature its own equivalent version of ultimate attacks. It’s a bit of a surprise that the game features no multiplayer or character swapping considering its squad-based nature, but that’s sure to distance it from Marvel’s Avengers in skeptical players’ minds.

The dialogue sections are where the Mass Effect comparisons really start to stick. though. In one gameplay glimpse, the Guardians sit around plotting out their mission. Players are given multiple dialogue options during the scene, which guide the direction of gameplay. For example, Star-Lord gets to decide whether or not Groot or Rocket Racoon will be bait during a mission.

Star-Lord fights an enemy in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The team behind the game emphasizes that it’s meant to be its own stand-alone project from the comics and movies, but it’ll still look very familiar to fans of the James Gunn-directed movies. It features Star-Lord, Gamora, Groot, Rocket Racoon, and Drax the Destroyer as the game’s primary squad. Mantis and the villainous Lady Hellbender make an appearance in the trailer as well.

A sense of humor

It’s also full of the kind of humor one has come to expect from the heroes. The trailer is filled with sarcastic quips and one-liners (if you count “I am Groot” as a one-liner, that is). Of course, there’s plenty of ’80’s music as well. Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out For a Hero makes an appearance in the trailer, as do songs by bands like Iron Maiden and Blondie.

Visually, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy opts for an incredibly colorful art style that’s not too far off from something like Outriders, another Square Enix title. The trailer shows off vibrant alien planets that resemble the art design of its film counterpart.

The full cast of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The biggest difference (and the one that’s sure to rile some Marvel fans) is that the game features original character designs for its characters rather than basing them off the films. Square Enix took a similar approach to character design in Marvel’s Avengers, which drew some initial criticism from fans. Comic fans will be happy to see the designs match up a little more with the books, though.

Based on what we’ve seen so far, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy looks like a fun (and legitimately funny) action-adventure title. It has the same spirit as the films and comics, while taking some video game inspiration from sci-fi staples like Mass Effect. With a tighter focus on narrative rather than the vague live-service hooks of Marvel’s Avengers, it seems like it could be more in line with superhero hits like Marvel’s Spider-Man.

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Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
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