There’s a distinct problem starting to rear its head in the Guardians series and unfortunately it’s becoming more pronounced as the game goes along: everyone blames Star-Lord for everything, no one takes responsibility for anything, and all the characters are overwhelmingly selfish. There are a few exceptions to this, Rocket apologizing for being a dick was unexpected and appreciated, but given that the game has placed you as the parent trying to keep this dysfunctional family together, it’s irritating that none of the other characters seem to be able to see beyond the end of their own concerns.
We’re also hitting a point where the game is commenting on its own repetitive design, which is never a good sign: we’re constantly in Kree temples, each looking vaguely the same and it’s getting rather tired. The game tries to lampshade this by having Rocket comment on it, but as always: if the characters are frustrated by something, chances are the players are twice as frustrated with it. For a game that is free to explore the entire galaxy, it’s damn frustrating to keep ending up in TRON-esque temples.
Episode Three delves deeper into the Gamora and Nebula dynamic, which is always appreciated and seeing the same events from two perspectives is neat, but beyond this there’s not a whole lot going on in this episode. We’re introduced to Mantis, who follows her film counter-part’s style of being aloof and vaguely mystical; in this case, she’s inexplicably supposed to lead ‘The Celestial One’ (Star-Lord, naturally) to the Eternity Forge’s temple (“Another temple?” Rocket grumbles. I snarl agreement.) where it can be charged up or destroyed. Naturally, this leads to the characters with the greatest loss, Rocket and Drax, siding against Gamora and Groot who would see it destroyed. It was a pretty easy decision on my part that I got yelled at a lot for, but it wasn’t long before Hella showed up to be angry and overpowered again and get close to her goal only to have it wrenched away from her at the last minute. She blames you, of course, so I guess the rest of the series is her trying to get revenge?
Honestly, tragic origin aside, Hella is an incredibly one-note villain, falling squarely in the ‘better than you’ category: having handily murdered Thanos in the opening moments of the first episode, I’m a little vexed as to how Hella can continually outclass every tactic the Guardians have. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m actually rolling my eyes when she shows up, which isn’t a great place to be with a main villain…hopefully, this only being the mid-point of the season we may see a bigger threat emerge, but at the end of this episode I’m actually a bit vexed as to where this is all going. Normally Telltale Games suffer a bit in the third episode, as they are setting up the back end of the season, but here we seem to be treading water: the Eternity Forge is gone, Hella is still mad and powerful, the Guardians are angry at each other…but beyond that I don’t really know what’s going on. It’s odd, given the momentum the game has had to this point to be left feeling adrift, but here we are.
There’s still the promise of delving into Drax’s tragic past as well as (fingers crossed) a Groot flashback, and the Peter and his mother on Earth scenes have been very moving (never thought I’d be playing a game where you try and help a kid and his mom come to terms with cancer…), but ultimately Episode Three ended with a whimper rather than a bang for me. There’s still lots of game to come and plenty of time for the series to turn it around, but Episode Three is a definite low point for the series thus far.
Review Score: C+