Guardians of the Galaxy Shows How Future Marvel Games Should be Done – GameRant

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy has received praise from fans and critics alike, making it a clear example of how Marvel games should be done.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy excels in several areas. Its presentation and story focus are on par with other AAA, singleplayer titles. Its soundtrack is as memorable as it gets, with both licensed and original tracks playing as Star-Lord and his fellow Guardians of the Galaxy fight throughout the universe. Most notably of all are the game’s characters, which are all given time to shine and develop as the plot progresses.
While there is obvious potential in the Marvel MMO that was recently announced, it is hard to argue against the idea that a singleplayer focus is a better fit for games based on the property. While crossover content is appealing, and multiplayer games can be huge when done right, the reason the comic book and movie team-ups work is because fans have grown attached to the characters beforehand. Singleplayer games allow for more focused character arcs and gameplay that is tailor-made for the heroes that star in them, making the approach inherently better for Marvel properties.
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Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy was rumored to be a live service title like Marvel’s Avengers at one point, with the title supposedly being reworked to have a singleplayer focus. This was a brilliant decision on the part of Square Enix and Eidos Montreal, as the result was a character-driven game that provided Marvel fans with tons of unforgettable moments.
If Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy was multiplayer, it is hard to imagine lengthy, fleshed out cutscenes like Drax letting go of his family being included. Likewise, without a singleplayer focus, players would have lost out on the dialogue choices seen in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. While not every Marvel game needs to give players this level of choice when it comes to conversations, having the option to take moments seriously or crack a joke is welcome. With the one-on-one conversations between Nikki and Peter Quill leading to some powerful story moments, those scenes being removed or reworked to accommodate several players would have been a shame.
Exploring Star-Lord’s room at the start of the game is another great example of why the singleplayer focus works so well, with the various conversations that can be had on the ship also being a strength. In a multiplayer game, Guardian Collectibles would have likely stopped at being collectibles. With a singleplayer focus, though, Eidos Montreal was able to make these collectibles more meaningful, attaching an optional conversation to each that allows players to learn more about each Guardian. Most importantly of all is the banter between the characters, which is on par with what is seen in the movies – and something that is clearly missing in Square Enix’s other big Marvel game.
Saying that Marvel’s Avengers has its problems is an understatement, but the game does deliver a strong singleplayer campaign before players hop into the multiplayer warzones. Here, players get a glimpse at what Crystal Dynamics could have done with an approach like Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. The fight between Bruce Banner and Tony Stark is incredibly well-written and well-acted, and the banter when Iron Man rejoins The Avengers is top-notch. In the multiplayer missions, though, the conversations are limited to some dialogue in elevators and before players drop into the fight.
If The Avengers were as witty and talked back in forth during every mission like they did in the singleplayer campaign, fans would have likely been more positive on the title. On top of this, the story mode was able to introduce memorable sequences and unique locations that multiplayer levels did not. Iron Man flying to space to rescue Captain America is a terrific example of this, as is the fight against AIM when they attack the Helicarrier and the A-Day intro sequence. The excellent finale where players switch between the different characters to defeat MODOK is another huge highlight, and it is unmatched by anything seen in the game’s multiplayer missions.
With a singleplayer focus, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy can give players an experience that is built for specifically Star-Lord, which means exciting setpieces and puzzles can be seen in every single Chapter. This is a big deal, as Marvel’s Avengers characters like Spider-Man stand out due to their movement mechanics not fitting in certain locations like the empty Wasteland. Further, while players never get to see locations like Asgard in Marvel’s Avengers, classic Guardians areas like Knowhere feature heavily. While Marvel’s Avengers must pick and choose a few of its many heroes to focus on when it comes to its locations, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy gets to double down on its heroes’ greatest hits, as the game has a clearer focus.
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To be clear, Marvel should still pursue multiplayer titles from time to time, as games like Marvel Heroes showcased the potential of the concept. However, the reality is that a singleplayer format is just a better fit for most of the brand’s heroes. Making a refined experience full of setpieces, villains, and cutscenes simply makes sense for a superhero property, and it is why games like Marvel’s Wolverine and Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 are so exciting.
Fortunately, it seems like developers are beginning to realize that this is the right direction to go in. Amy Hennig’s Marvel game, for example, will have a singleplayer focus. Given her past work on the Uncharted series, this is excellent news, and her game should prove to be interesting no matter which hero ends up being the focus. Hopefully, other games follow suit, as strong characters and stories are the real reason for Marvel’s success over the years. While multiplayer games can certainly deliver that, it is easy to lose focus, with storytelling often taking a backseat to gameplay.
Hopefully, the future of Marvel games will lean more toward singleplayer titles than multiplayer titles. While a multiplayer game here and there could be worthwhile, especially if it suits the property being adapted, games like Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy show that even groups of heroes can benefit from a singleplayer approach. While it may be fun to beat down AIM bots with friends in Marvel’s Avengers, it does not capture the Marvel feel as often as Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy does – something that should serve as a lesson for future games.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
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Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is full of interesting lore, including some information on why Nebula is not present in the game.
A lifelong gamer and comics fan who loves writing about everything in nerd culture… and has a small addiction to trophy and achievement hunting.

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