Telltale’s take on Marvel’s massively popular Guardians of the Galaxy series has showed the developer’s talents when it comes to mixing comedy and drama within an established universe. Throughout the first four episodes, which have been of varying levels of quality, we’ve seen some great moments that deliver on the promise of this franchise. However, after a disappointing penultimate episode, I was worried about the final fate of this series heading into Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series – Episode 5 “Don’t Stop Believin'”. Thankfully Telltale pulled out of the tailspin and delivered the best episode of the series to close things out, and possibly push toward a sequel or DLC.
As is usual with these Telltale episodes, Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series – Episode 5 picks up right at the cliffhanger that players were left with at the end of Episode 4. The Guardians have split, after some harrowing moments in the mushroom and giant worm filled caves of the previous entry. Peter Quill’s surrogate family has pretty much fallen apart, with players left with only one or two choice companions at their side.
But Hala is still out there, and now she’s begun wiping out entire populations with her Kree superweapon. Empowered by the Eternity Forge, Hala seems to have lost her mind and is taking her revenge out on anyone that gets in her way. Star-Lord and the Guardians of the Galaxy are the only thing that can stop her, but it’ll be up to Peter to get the band back together and take her on.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Episode 5 “Don’t Stop Believin'” solidifies this as another Telltale classic
This finale is full of surprises, so I won’t go into the story details any more than that. While some developments, such as having to pull the disparate Guardians back together for the mission, are pretty cliche, the inner workings of the drama works well, depending on some key choices allowed to the player. The real heavy stuff comes after this introduction though, with the relationships and pasts of the Guardians all coming together to deliver a fantastically funny, witty, and at times touching story.
Telltale is one of the few game developers that has made people cry, and Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 5 just might put another notch on their belt. This all works well because of the efforts of the previous episodes. Establishing these characters isn’t exactly difficult, as the movies have already done much of the heavy lifting. However, Telltale dove even deeper than the films, giving us more backstory on each character, and putting them through some truly tumultuous events, which solidified the feeling of family throughout the group.
This episode’s backstory segment unsurprisingly featured Groot. This, of course, offered some humorous moments as you sort of get the feeling of how it must be to be a giant tree that no one understands. It’s the shortest and least revealing segment so far though, instead focusing on the group as a whole through the lens of Groot’s experience. Still entertaining, it would have been more interesting to get a look further back into Groot’s past, while still maintaining some of the mystery that surrounds him.
Once Guardians of the Galaxy – Episode 5 does kick into gear it’s a great time. The final mission and its conclusion is fun to play through, and is as action-packed as a Telltale experience can get. Players also have a lot of choices to make here, though their actual impact is fairly limited in the long run.
The real star, once again, is the soundtrack. Featuring some fantastic hits from the eighties, many of which were also key moments in the movies, the music was always enjoyable and fresh. Over the years since Tales from the Borderlands debuted I’ve gone back to listen to its soundtrack over and over, and I’ll gladly add these songs into that playlist any day.
Telltale has also once again cracked their quality assurance issues. The Guardians of the Galaxy has been one of their best looking and playing games to date. Characters look great, with skin textures being a particular standout. The colors of the universe are vibrant and great to look at in the wider shots. And players can appreciate all of these moments without running into any major technical hiccups. The whole series has run well, and it’s promising for the developer’s future.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Episode 5 “Don’t Stop Believin'” solidifies this as another Telltale classic. The studio has always handled mixing drama and humor well, and this series proves that they’ve still got it in them. You’ll genuinely laugh out loud at times, and then feel true emotional pain at others. The series comes together in this finale for an action packed conclusion, but also one that brings together the themes and relationships that have made it all work so well.