Warning: This review contains spoilers from the first episode of this Guardians of the Galaxy series: Tangled Up in Blue.
The last time we hung out with the Guardians of the Galaxy, via their newfangled Telltale Games adventure series, they killed Thanos, found the Infinity Gauntlet and got mixed up with an ancient race called the Kree. Oh, and Peter “Starlord” Quill also bit the bucket after being stabbed by Hala, the stern female leader of the blue skinned beings. Well, he at least looked dead, but as we all expected it was only a temporary status effect. After all, what would episodes 2-5 of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series be without its main man?
Episode 2, which is subtitled as “Under Pressure,” picks up after the events of its predecessor and begins with a miraculous recovery by Starlord, who is brought back to the realm of the living by the Infinity Gauntlet. This development shocks his friends, or “coworkers” as he likes to call them, and causes quite a bit of alarm at first, before everything goes back to normal. I can’t say exactly what the proper opening is supposed to be like, though, because it seemed as if the game glitched on me right after its “Previously On” reminder clip ended. I say that, because instead of starting organically, things abruptly jumped to a resurrected Quill in a fashion that made it seem as if something had been skipped. Perhaps I only missed a couple of seconds — which is actually quite likely now that I think of it — but it was jarring and unexpected.
Going into this episode, I expected a lot more of what made the game’s debut so good, that being lots of action, tons of good humour and some perfectly fitting music at just the right times. However, while most of that does exist here, it’s not as common as it was before. No, Under Pressure is more about character development than anything else, and moves along at a slower pace than that which came before it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, of course (after all, I love it when movies, TV shows and games offer great character development), but it doesn’t provide the same level of fun as Tangled Up in Blue did. I guess what I’m trying to say is that this change of pace was necessary and appreciated, even if it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for.
After Starlord comes back to life, the gang ventures to Yondu’s house, where they show him the Infinity Gauntlet and ask for his help. There, another flashback occurs, and it sets the heroes in motion once again.
What’s most notable about what follows the above is the major choice that it presents. Although you’re told about an urgent matter pertaining to another familiar character and the Infinity Stone, itself, Rocket feels that it’s more important to go back to his home world in order to try to reconnect with a lost love. This choice really makes you think and question what’s best, because time is always of the essence. Then again, building good relationships with those around you is an important thing in Telltale games, so that weighs on you too.
If you choose to go with Rocket, you’ll learn a lot about where he came from and why he’s so grumpy. He’s had a hard life, after all. But, if you decide to go elsewhere, you’ll risk missing out on all of that in favour of heading towards your main objective with time to spare. Needless to say, it’s a tough decision.
As mentioned above, there is some humour to be found in this sophomore release, although it’s not as funny or as prominent as the jokes from the first episode. There’s some comical use of music, too, as well as a couple of action scenes that sort of bookend its short run time. Most of this episode is about character development, though, and it’s accomplished through memories and dialogue. Some will appreciate this, while others may balk at the slower pace, but I’m glad that they went with this approach because it adds depth and helps flesh out the game’s narrative.
Still, that’s not to say that I loved Under Pressure, because I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t find it to be a bit too slow. It is what it is, though, and is solid overall. Rocket’s back story is worth the price of admission in and of itself, while Gamora and Starlord also have some important story points that fans will enjoy.
The run time is a bit light, though, with the episode coming in at an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half at most. Then again, a lot of Telltale’s recent efforts have been on the short side, including some of The Walking Dead: Season 3’s episodes. The good news, though, is that it runs well — for the most part — and only presented a couple of glitches, those being the one I mentioned at the beginning of this review and Telltale’s typical frame rate hiccups.
At the end of the day, Under Pressure is definitely worth checking out, even if it’s a bit too slow for its own good at times. It’s also a must play for fans of the characters and this series, especially when you consider that it’s integral to the story. So, if you’ve played through episode one of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series and liked it, then you should pick up this solid but unspectacular follow-up.
**This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game, which we were provided with.**
- Lots of good character development
- You can choose to learn more about Rocket's plight
- Some comedic moments and perfectly fitting music
- A bit on the slow side
- Slightly glitchy
- Not as fun as the first episode was