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Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series: Episode 3 - More Than A Feeling
Score: 75%
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Introduction:

So far, there’s a lot I absolutely love about Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series and a few things that I absolutely hate about it. Tonally, it’s going for that very specific James Gunn blend of action, humor, and emotion. Justifiably so: both Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 are among the better offerings of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the world knows it. Hell, the DNA of this series is inextricably linked with the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, which will be literally the most expensive film ever made at the time of its release. It doesn’t quite capture all of the magic that makes those movies great, but it has a good enough understanding of it to confidently offer an experience that ultimately enriches the property. Being the third of five planned episodes, Episode 3 - More Than a Feeling begins to raise the stakes in earnest, allowing us, the audience, to begin scanning the horizon (so to speak) for clues as to what kind of endgame we’re looking at. In the end, Episode 3 – More Than a Feeling has a lot in common with Episode 2 – Under Pressure; its pacing issues exist for exactly the right reasons, and while some of the drama is a load of forced, hacky crap, its heart is almost always in the right place.

My Favorite Assassin Sisters:

Remember how Episode 2 delved pretty heavily into Rocket’s backstory and ultimately brought it into the foreground? Well, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series: Episode 3 – More Than a Feeling does the same for the Milano’s other resident emotional cripple, Gamora; her relationship with adopted sister Nebula is one of the backbones of the many-headed beast that is this series, and this episode gives it the time and attention it deserves.

Specifically, it takes us back to a critical moment in their past in order to contextualize Gamora’s behavior over the course of the last two episodes. Specifically, an assassination mission that each has vivid, painful memories of, for reasons you won’t fully comprehend until near the end of the episode. Just in case you actually needed a reminder of how utterly awful Thanos was, you get a whopper of one here, which doubles as extra reason to be glad the Mad Titan snuffed it two episodes ago. Again, the progression of the main story arc comes screeching to a halt over the course of the introductory chapters, but the insights that this plot device affords the player are necessary to make the broad dramatic strokes work. And they generally do.


Fate of a MacGuffin:

This flashback and its resulting drama are smartly woven into the fabric of the main story arc of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, which is of course, the case of the life-giving Eternity Forge. Peter Quill (alias Star-Lord) and Gamora have followed a strange signal to an even stranger temple that houses… the thing that transmitted the signal. While Telltale is developing a reputation for boldness with established canon, the resurrection of Meredith Quill is a story beat that just wouldn’t work. At least, not as of this writing. (Anything is possible!) I won’t spoil the identity of the individual who led Star-Lord and his merry gang to relive their deepest, darkest memories, but a more-than-cursory glance at the title of this episode may clue you in – especially if you’re a fan of the series as a whole.

The rest of Episode 3 – More Than a Feeling deals with the revelation of the Eternity Forge’s true power, and more importantly, the "ethical dilemma" presented by it. Considering the circumstances most of our heroes are living under (or, more accurately, plagued by), I can certainly grasp the temptation of such a power. However, once the mechanics of the Eternity Forge are explicitly revealed, I was pretty horrified by the stances of some of the Guardians. It’s very much a "One Ring of Power" dilemma, which should make the choice crystal clear to anyone who still has an intact moral compass. And given the mental state of certain Guardians, that will prove challenging for Quill regardless of his personal beliefs. While the results of both choices (as illustrated in this episode) will almost certainly impact your starting point in the next episode, I have no reason to believe the whole thing won’t be a total wash by the end of Episode 5.

What I can actually confirm it all comes down to is which Guardians resent you right now and which ones do not. While their responses to PQ's decisions are true to their characters, I still think this kind of drama amounts to a bunch of unnecessary, bothersome padding. And this episode is full of it -- particularly when it comes to dealing with the ever-unpleasant Rocket Raccoon, who at this point, has basically devolved into a furry version of Carla Tortelli from Cheers. Luckily, these moments are balanced out by the musical number du jour, a delightful "action sequence" appropriately set to Three Dog Night's cover of Daniel Moore's "Shambala."


Conclusion:

Regardless of your choices, the final shot of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series: Episode 3 – More Than a Feeling make it plain and simple: sh*t is about to get real. Now, what that implies for the rest of this season (or series, if this is all we’re destined to get) is anybody’s guess, but I honestly wouldn’t mind if the final two episodes deal partly with the emotional baggage of Drax and Groot, if indeed, the concept actually applies to the latter.

On its current trajectory, Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series looks like it’ll be a relatively safe bet. Not a landmark like the incomparable Tales from the Borderlands, certainly not a waste of time like Game of Thrones, but comfortably inhabiting the middle ground occupied by the likes of Back to the Future. I'm not sure what we can expect next from this series, but I'm excited to see if it can successfully wrap everything up in two episodes.


-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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