Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy could be the hit that Avengers wasn't

Guardians Of The Galaxy Screenshot
Guardians Of The Galaxy Screenshot (Image credit: Square Enix)

Insomniac Games has been killing it with Marvel properties as of late, but it's not the only game developer to have a hand in this massive superhero franchise. 2K is working on the tactical RPG Midnight Suns with Firaxis at the helm, and Square Enix has already published Marvel's Avengers. The latter, unfortunately, was terribly marketed, generally panned by most people, and hasn't held up enough over time for a live service game. However, Square Enix is letting Eidos-Montréal take on Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, and it looks to be everything Avengers wishes it was.

Where there was confusing messaging behind what exactly the Avengers game was (Is it a single-player game? Is it live service?), it's crystal clear what Guardians of the Galaxy is meant to be. There are no microtransactions, no multiplayer modes, and no downloadable content. This is a single-player adventure through and through, with a tighter narrative focus more akin to that of Insomniac's Spider-Man.

Players were already burned after Avengers and remain understandably skeptical about Guardians of the Galaxy, but what Eidos-Montréal has shown so far has a lot of potential. Avengers was too much like a live-service title, neglecting what was an actually good campaign in favor of disappointing endgame and multiplayer content. Guardians of the Galaxy seems to be doing the opposite, much to its benefit.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Game Star Lord

Source: Square Enix (Image credit: Source: Square Enix)

Initial trailers and gameplay demos from Guardians of the Galaxy, thankfully, paint a bright picture. It's going to have a killer soundtrack, engaging gameplay, a fresh but familiar take on the iconic team, and a whole lot of humor. There's a fine line that Eidos-Montréal has to walk in order to ensure it never gets boring or too annoying, and what we've seen so far is encouraging.

Trailers and gameplay demos from Guardians of the Galaxy paint a bright picture.

As is the case most of the time, Eidos-Montréal is writing a brand new story for players to experience. Set over a decade after a massive galactic war, the Guardians look to take advantage of the rebuilding galaxy to make some quick cash. After all, plenty of people are in need of a team-for-hire. Things don't go as planned, though, and after a botched job goes wrong, the Guardians are left to pick up the pieces of their mistake, which could have dire consequences for the universe at large. Let's hope they can take out the Universal Church of Truth together.

That already sounds like an exciting adventure, and it's great to see Eidos-Montréal properly market the game. It's not trying to blend different genres or do something completely new. Like I said before, it knows what it is. The confidence that Eidos-Montréal is putting into Guardians of the Galaxy will hopefully shine through in the final product.

Instead of having a team of playable characters, like Marvel's Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy keeps it more simple. Star-Lord is the only playable character, though the rest of the team can be issued commands by the player, similar to squadmates in The Outer Worlds or Mass Effect. Eidos-Montréal now doesn't need to spend the time balancing half a dozen different characters, each with vastly different abilities. It can focus on making Star-Lord's combat as good as can be, while the others complement him.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Screenshot

Source: Square Enix (Image credit: Source: Square Enix)

To make players feel more in control of their actions, Guardians also features dialogue trees and gameplay decisions that can affect events in the game and how your team views you. Though this won't drastically change the outcome of the game (there's only one ending and the core story will play out the same for everyone), it seems to provide just enough choice to keep things interesting, letting players wrestle with the decisions they make.

While graphically it doesn't look like the most impressive game out there, that's OK. It doesn't need to hit the fidelity or polish that something like The Last of Us Part 2 can achieve. A certain amount of jank can be excusable when everything else about the game is good. And honestly, sometimes that just adds to the character of the game. Again, think of The Outer Worlds. It's a little janky, but a memorable and fun world to get lost in.

Marvel's Avengers, while also not amazing in the graphics department, didn't set itself apart in terms of tone or character. It all felt fairly bland, though some additional Wakanda DLC has seen some praise.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Cosmo The Space Dog

Source: Square Enix (screenshot) (Image credit: Source: Square Enix (screenshot))

I can't predict how well Guardians of the Galaxy will be received, nor can I say it's definitely game of the year material, but I can say that it's done a much better job of selling itself than Avengers did. By immediately distancing itself from what made Avengers so disappointing, it sets itself up for success.

And if none of this has sold you already, remember that Cosmo the Spacedog is in this game.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is set to launch on October 26, 2021 for Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, PC and Nintendo Switch (via the cloud).

Learn more about some of the hottest games of fall 2021.

Jennifer Locke

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life, and is very happy Xbox is growing a stronger first-party portfolio. You can find her obsessing over Star Wars and other geeky things on Twitter @JenLocke95.