Video Game Review: Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, Episode 5
The Guardians return and they’re still pissed at each other.
Please note that since each episode of Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series features the same graphics engine and control setup, those elements will not be repeated in our reviews for the final four episodes. To read our thoughts on that, refer to our review of Episode 1: Tangled Up In Blue.
The Guardians of the Galaxy (the hero team, not the franchise) were left in a state of disrepair at the end of TellTale’s previous episode. How fractured and angry depended on choices you made, and that cliffhanger felt like one of the few true bits of consequence in a series which, while enjoyable and often endearing, often felt like it exchanged big picture tension for character focus.
The final episode, Don’t Stop Believin’, streamlines some of the series’ problems for a tighter narrative. That means the explore-and-solve segments that bogged down previous episodes have been cut for a focus on story and character.
(Tangent: It’s not that puzzles are inherently boring or bad but TellTale seems to include them more as a nod to its company’s roots than anything else, as the solutions are often so obvious that they lack the satisfaction of something found in, say, Thimbleweed Park.)
On the flip side, there’s still not much going on in terms of exploring the overarching plot or villain, so all of that feels like cursory issues to create internal team strife and character moments. In fact, a significant part of the game focuses on looking back instead of forward; and while this effectively dives into backstories even further, it doesn’t do much to establish why you should care about defeating Hala beyond surface plot points.
In the end, you’ll get more of what worked in the series, including some genuinely touching moments and excellent voice acting, less of what bogged things down, and all of it without any significant course correction.
So while Don’t Stop Believin’ ends with some level of character satisfaction, this lack of bigger-picture stakes tones down the feeling of taking an epic journey with the characters, and instead makes it seem more like a side quest in the franchise.
Whether this was because TellTale felt like it was competing with the films or it simply wanted to use the conversation engine to focus on characters, the completed series winds up being an enjoyable romp rather than something of emotional consequence.
Fun, fast, and witty, the final episode of Guardians of the Galaxy never overcame the series’ biggest narrative flaws, but it still makes for several enjoyable hours with the worst heroes in outer space.