Why Guardians of the Galaxy's Narrative Is So Good | Screen Rant

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy's profound and compelling narrative lies in its rich character development and focus on deep player connections. Inspired and based on both the comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Guardians of the Galaxy follows the titular group as they save the day in the name of making a profit. However, unlike the Earth-based Avengers, the Guardians are more individualistic with principles and morals that only occasionally overlap.

[Warning: Spoilers for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy follow.]

As a result, the characters eventually conflict despite being faced with overwhelming odds that could either get the team killed or destroy a star system or two. Moreover, each character has a tragic backstory and adds additional depth to their narrative arcs. The core of the Guardians of the Galaxy shows a dysfunctional dynamic and is one of the main reasons why the game has such a compelling narrative on par with other Marvel games like Marvel's Spider-Man.

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Guardians of the Galaxy's emphasis on characters creates a profound and intimate narrative. The game first starts by building up their characters before bringing them down, leading to a significant emotional fallout. Additionally, the main narrative focuses on the Guardians' shared trauma and their journey for closure. The game's collectibles further contribute to their respective arcs, while the choices players can make as Star-Lord also deepen their relationship. Together, these elements help elevate Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, and ensure that it has one of the better superhero game stories.

At the beginning of the game, the Guardians are portrayed as a competent and cohesive mercenary group, contrasting with the dysfunctional dynamic seen in both of James Gunn's MCU films. While there are parallels between the MCU and Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, it's still very much its own game - one that marries both interpretations to create a new unique depiction. As the game progresses, the story begins to take its toll on each character. This tension accumulates in some members leaving the group searching for more profitable, safer missions or staying due to their loyalty to Peter Quill.

During these moments of heavy tribulation and doubt, Guardians of the Galaxy develops its characters. Players are introduced to a relatively safe status quo at the beginning of its story, only for the game to break it down and rebuild the characters as it progresses. The approach seen in Eidos-Montréal's Guardians game is similar to Marvel's Avengers, but it arguably yields better results.

The central overarching conflict in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy derives from the Universal Church of Truth's conquest of the galaxy. However, their means of domination are predicated around loss and grief. The Church brainwashes the majority of the galaxy with the promise of being reunited with deceased loved ones.

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Themes of loss and grief are sure to resonate with many players, as it's sadly an experience everyone will encounter at some point in their lives, and they're deployed to great effect in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. It also helps make the different Guardians more relatable, as they are forced to confront their own grief and trauma over the course of the story. It's another thing Marvel's GotG shares with the MCU, as both Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 deal with similar themes. Moreover, the trauma and grief of the respective Guardians isn't taken lightly in the story, with each receiving focus at different points in the game's story.

In most games, collectibles are used to provide exposition or fun Easter Eggs for players to pick up on. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy opts for a more active approach. Throughout the game, collectibles are scattered in levels; when inspected back at the Milano, the Guardian's ship, the characters interact with the player to give context to the collectible. Collectibles vary, but most break down a character's motivations, aspirations, and regrets.

As a result, each collectible serves the narrative in its own way. While Marvel's Guardians repeats an overused idea straight from both the comics and MCU, it's the exception and not the rule. The intimate setting of a one-on-one conversation between Star-Lord and the other Guardians helps further develop Eidos-Montréal's interpretation of the Marvel mythos.

Even though the choices in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy don't impact the game's outcome, they are nevertheless another narrative avenue for the player to connect to the game. The player is given choices throughout the game that can affect some characters' responses, but not the overall ending. As such, the options are for more worldbuilding and roleplaying purposes.

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However, the choices in Guardians of the Galaxy allow the player to impact the narrative directly. It is one of the reasons why Marvel's GotG is one of the better Marvel games; it focuses on fleshing out characters and stories. As a result, the choices tailor the experience of the game creating moments that vary from player to player. Moreover, the different choices further immerse the player in its setting, giving the impression that they're having an influence over the story.

Guardians of the Galaxy's focus on character development helps distinguish it from other superhero games. Creating characters as unique as they are vulnerable is a fundamental part of Marvel's DNA, and it's conveyed perfectly in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. As a result, more profound and heartfelt plot points can be explored and integrated into the story organically. While choices in-game reach the same single point by the end, the options toward that endpoint immerse the player further into the game.

Despite having a great deal of Marvel villains in the Guardians of the Galaxy game, as well as an array of colorful supporting characters, the focus is very much on the Guardians themselves. Star-Lord, Drax, Gamora, Rocket and Groot all get their opportunities to shine in the story, whether in bombastic action sequences or quiet moments of dialogue. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is a great Marvel game, but its superb narrative is one of the key reasons why.

Next: What Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Could Be About

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