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Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series: Episode 4 - Who Needs You
Score: 65%
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Introduction:

Marvelís Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series: Episode 4 Ė Who Needs You has its share of good moments, but that doesnít save it from being a "Greatest Hits" of the worst elements of Telltaleís particular storytelling style. Itís been a long time since theyíve put out an episode this contrived and manipulative; I had hoped theyíd gotten past that kind of stuff, but it seems they unfortunately havenít. Episode 4 Ė Who Needs You fancies itself a game-changing episode, but itís far more likely a game-breaking one. Iím going to try and avoid particular story details until my review of the season finale, as it will be the determining factor that ultimately makes or breaks this series.

Down in a Hole:

I chose to destroy the Eternity Forge without any hesitation: itís clearly, objectively the morally correct choice. An object that gives life to the dead at the cost of the living? Yeah, sorry: itís got to go. But empower or destroy, Hala the Accuserís arrival on cue was a major surprise to the unobservant and nobody else. The melee that ensued for me resulted in all the Guardians falling into a deep chasm. With Peterís jet boots on the fritz and a critically-wounded Nebula in tow, they have to put their heated emotions in check and work together to get out.

Iíve marveled at how Marvelís Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series has been able to bring its main storyline to a halt in the service of character development without inflicting any serious, lasting damage. Hereís where the buck stops: as far as the overarching plot goes, Episode 4 Ė Who Needs You spins its tires for just under two hours and goes absolutely nowhere. While itís fun to watch Star-Lord and company traipse around an underground labyrinth full of (mostly) hostile rock worms and explosive, unstable crystals, itís no more than meaningless filler.


A Very Special Episode:

Drax the Destroyer is a wonderful curiosity. Heís capable of serving up both comic relief and legitimately emotional moments. Heís a treasure of a character, and for me, easily one of the highlights of both films. We get to spend some time in his past, much in the same way that we were able to with Rocket and Gamora in the last couple of episodes. Knowing as much as we do about Draxís backstory, youíd think that this episodeís flashback would be a haymaker to the gut. Surprisingly, what we get is a subtle, quietly tender sequence between Drax and his daughter Kamaria, as he prepares her for an upcoming rite of passage. Itís the standout sequence of this episode, and how could it not be?

Draxís story aside, Marvelís Guardians of the Galaxy: Episode 4 Ė Who Needs You is a big mess. Its closing act in particular left me aghast, and not for the reasons the writers intended. Iíll attempt to explain why without getting into spoiler territory. I understand the writersí impulse to create drama, as well as the most common toolset of tropes and devices used in that particular endeavor. However, certain types of developments and events have to be earned through careful plotting, solid characterization, and smartly-written dialogue. My experience saw two such moments, but neither of them were even close to warranted or justified. The writers applied such an unnatural degree of force in their attempt to get the story to a very specific point, and something critical broke as a result. By the time the credits rolled, I felt like Iíd stepped into someone elseís playthrough.


Conclusion:

Releases like Marvelís Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series: Episode 4 Ė Who Needs You make me reconsider my evaluation of previous episodes, as well as the practice of splitting these games into episodes instead of releasing them all at once. You see, while I definitely enjoyed the first three, they all inevitably lead here; considering my newfound concerns regarding this series, I really donít know if I can recommend it anymore. It depends on what the season finale has in store for us, as well as how youíve decided to buy this series. If youíve been buying the episodes as theyíve been releasing, I would recommend you hold off. If, however, youíve invested in the Season Pass, you donít really have anything to lose but some time and possibly some emotional investment.

Honestly, I donít see any way to right the ship after this episode. In fact, I only see two possible options: either the writers employ a whopper of a red herring (or worse, a deus ex machina) or they fully commit to the trainwreck theyíve initiated. Neither option appeals to me, so youíll have to excuse me for not being particularly excited about the finale. Iíve been surprised before, so Iíll cross my fingers. At this point, though, Iím not holding my breath.


-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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