Available On: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Android, iOS
Where To Buy: Steam
For our review of Episode 1: Tangled Up In Blue, click here.
Although I can see both sides to the debate of which Guardians of the Galaxy film is superior, it’s entirely clear that the second episode of the Telltale series is superior to the first. The humor lands better, the decisions seem more impactful, and it is easy to see how Telltale is approaching the relationships between the various characters. A few punchy action scenes and the still excellent soundtrack help to push this series forward in the right direction.
One of my biggest issues with the first episode is that the player was not given many options, even in the basic conversation. Star-Lord was just kind of a jerk, and your dialogue options revealed that. With Under Pressure, there were many approaches the player is allowed to take, and characters seem to respond in a more realistic way than in the first episode. One really great aspect of the different characters in the game is that their opinions seem to be forming organically, instead of “one big choice forming how Drax will respond the rest of the game.” Multiple times in my playthrough, characters brought up multiple decisions that had been made, and how that was impacting their own thought process and decision making. It made me question the way I treated certain characters based solely on how I had treated them in the first episode. I know my decisions aren’t going to force Gamora to quit the Guardians of the Galaxy (unless she was already scripted to do so), but it certainly makes the game more interesting when it tricks me into thinking I might.
Telltale has stated that each episode will somewhat revolve around one specific character, most likely through the magical memory mcguffin known as the “Eternity Forge.” Under Pressure focuses the spotlight on Rocket, and we get to delve a bit into his past to see somewhat how he came to be. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a heartbreaking, touching tale of Rocket’s past. It seemed like it should be silly (hyper-intelligent, cybernetic animal lab? And they can talk?), but the game plays it totally straight. And it works. Like, really well. If each episode of the series is able to delve into a different character as effectively as this episode did, then count me in. We’ve got a winner on our hands.
Although Rocket is the focus of Under Pressure, the other guardians get a chance to shine as well. A few more familiar faces from the film pop up as well, including one that I actually had to look up because his voice sounded so much like the actor who plays him in the movies (it was not the same person). Drax begins to have an existential crisis, as he is no longer certain what his purpose should be. Gamora, much like in the second film, has to deal with her awful family history in some less than pleasant ways. And it is darn fun to have a conversation with Groot, trying to read his tone of voice to figure out what he’s saying. Overall, the characters have gelled really well in this episode, and it does feel like it is your job to hold this bizarre cast of characters together.
Under Pressure isn’t perfect – character’s lines do not always match the subtitles, and it can sometimes be difficult to figure out just what a character is going to say after a certain dialogue choice. For example, I was trying to comfort a character in a very quiet moment and chose a dialogue option that I thought would do that. Instead, Quill said something a bit different and in a sarcastic tone of voice, ruining the mood I was going for. When you’re playing a character as snarky as Star-Lord, you sometimes need extra time to figure out just what he is going to be saying.
The Kree are still a formidable foe, and the episode concludes with a great cliffhanger that I was really hoping they would answer before the episode came to an end. It looks as if the next episode will really start to dish out the heavy material, and a certain looming threat seems to be worming its way to the surface. Hopefully the next episode continues the upward trend, and hopefully, it comes out soon.
Verdict: Improving on the first episode in nearly every way, Under Pressure helps bring everything together in Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series. We get some powerful moments, strong character development, some great humor and songs, and a suspenseful cliffhanger. It still lacks a little polish, and the outcomes of some scenarios are sometimes a bit misleading, but Under Pressure is a strong second showing that leaves even more room for growth with future installments. Give it a shot while you wait for the second film to come to streaming.
- Characters and relationships feel organic and real
- Great delving into Rocket's past
- Good soundtrack and voice acting
- Lacks polish
- Meaning of dialogue choices can be difficult to determine