Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series - Episode Four: Who Needs You (PlayStation 4) Review

By Drew Hurley 06.11.2017

Review for Marvel

"This game series adapts to the choices you make. The story is tailored to how you play." It's a familiar message for Telltale fans but one that has not rung particularly true thus far with this property. The lack of impact on the story compared with some awful interactive segments - even by Telltale standards - and a frankly dull story has made for one of the most mediocre Telltale games yet. There are just two episodes to go and chances are slim this story can be saved.

As with all episodic reviews here at Cubed3, there are spoilers for previous episodes throughout this review of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series - Episode Four: Who Needs You. Reader beware! Also, if you wish to read about previous episodes on PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One, head over to this link.

The previous episode, More Than a Feeling ended with antagonist Hala gaining the power of the forge, regardless of the choices made by Quill and crew to either empower or destroy it. If it's empowered she gains an army; if it's destroyed the power somehow leaks into her, turning her into a nightmare creature with the power to absorb life. Now the crew is stranded with its in-fighting growing worse and there is seemingly no way out of a cave full of monsters.

The season up to this point has had a handful of decent moments but, ultimately, it's fallen rather flat, feeling mediocre compared to the cinematic Guardians and too much of Telltale's catalogue. Until now. This episode feels like a complete breath of fresh air. There are three important elements of a Telltale title: the gameplay interactions for the player, the story, and the choices. All three are improved here.

Screenshot for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series - Episode Four: Who Needs You on PlayStation 4

Episode Four: Who Needs You opens on a QTE battle and intersperses plenty more throughout its considerable running time (almost double the previous episodes). Once again, though, they are far too easy. Thankfully, however, Telltale seems to be taking criticism on-board, so on top of the QTEs there are more exploring and investigation sequences that are much more interactive.

On the story front, one of the few saving graces has been the flashbacks establishing each Guardian's tragic past. Episode Two: Under Pressure introduced Rocket's girlfriend from the comics, building an original and darker story for the pair here, showing their time in a vivisection and experimentation lab. Episode Three: More Than a Feeling glimpsed Gamora's upbringing and dealt with her relationship with her sister. This fourth episode gives a look at Drax and his family; it's a little too brief, but still a nice addition. The Guardians' penchant for including classic hits continues with this episode, too, as the audience is whisked away to memories of the greatest Christmas movie of all time - Scrooged - thanks to Jackie DeShannon's Put a Little Love in Your Heart playing out in the opening FMV. Later in the episode, legendary rockers Queen show up, too, with Stone Cold Crazy.

Screenshot for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series - Episode Four: Who Needs You on PlayStation 4

The Guardians crew has gone through many transformations in the past, and Telltale's version takes inspiration from the MCU, with Nebula and Mantis joining the ranks. Nebula doesn't have enough time to develop as a character here, though; she has a great history but not enough dialogue or interactions in the present to stand out. With Mantis, she feels like a natural addition to the team and may even be better than her cinematic counterpart; the team may already have plenty of comic relief already but she really shines, and her kung-fu looks are deadly.

Screenshot for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series - Episode Four: Who Needs You on PlayStation 4

The characters and their stories, then, and the interactive sequences, are improved. Just one left on the Telltale checklist, right? The decision making. There are a few big branching moments that are worth replaying to see the opposite path - in particular, a large branch at the end of the episode. However, the hard decisions are still rather lacking, once again emphasised by the "community choices" at the end of the episode that, at time of writing, have about a 70-75% majority to most of them.

Despite the improvements, there are still issues. The characterisation stands out, particularly. The arguments between the team have always been part of the story; it's a ragtag group that isn't shy about speaking its minds but it just comes off as nasty at regular points here. Rocket's attitude especially so, which makes it harder to really care about some of the characters and gives a really weird experience when they are suddenly nice to each other again… It's like that one friend who never knows when they have gone too far with a comment. The technical problems are still rife, too, and something that seems to be as core a part of Telltale's games as the QTEs these days.

Screenshot for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series - Episode Four: Who Needs You on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Finally, Telltale seems to be getting onto the right track with this property, but it may be too little, too late. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series - Episode Four: Who Needs You is enjoyable but still has issues, especially with its unlikeable characters. This penultimate episode sets up a promising finale, at least, but it all seems so predictable. The old "Breaking the Fellowship" trope has been telegraphed since the first episode and it feels like everyone getting back together at just the right time is inevitable and the many "big" deaths don't hold much weight when there's a magical McGuffin that can bring people back to life… One episode left. Maybe Telltale can pull it off and salvage this whole package, but it doesn't seem likely.

Developer

Telltale

Publisher

Telltale

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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