This review contains spoilers for Episode One, Two, and Three of TellTale’s Guardians of the Galaxy. There will be minor spoilers for Episode Four.
While Who Needs You is largely successful in its emotional moments, there are some irritating and unearned moments of tension between team-members that make the set-up for the final episode a bit clumsy.
TellTale’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Episode 4 – Who Needs You
Developer: TellTale Games
Price: $24.99 for the Season Pass
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC, Mac, Android, iOS
MonsterVine was provided with a PS4 code for review.
So when I last left our intrepid Guardians, Hala had absorbed the Infinity Forge after I destroyed it. Naturally, seeing her dead son reappear then dissolve (all while screaming) put her in a bit of a nasty mood, so using her newfound powers, Hala decides to attack the team. Things go south, and the Guardians plummet to the bottom of the temple, leading into an episode of emotion and (sometimes unearned) tension.
Starting with positives, the major death in this episode actually surprised me. I hadn’t expected a major character, a Guardian, nonetheless, to bite the dust. Even as the character faded away, I was sure there’d be some way in which they would suddenly spring back to life. The decisions and dialogue that come as the character dies is some of the best in the episode, sealing the development between two of the Guardians in a satisfying way that was pleasantly neat and tidy. Overall, kudos to TellTale for being willing to off a major character in the series.
Though it may be a personal thing, I’ve found Star-Lord’s flashback sequences to be the most emotional parts of the series so far; the flashback in Who Needs You is no exception. Having to watch Peter’s mom come to terms with cancer is painful, especially as she tries to act like nothing’s wrong for Peter’s sake. Having been in a situation like this years ago, I have to give TellTale credit for nailing the storm of emotions that comes with watching your parent struggle with such a disease. Deciding whether you want to have “one last memory” with your mom, or if you want her to go get treatment was heart-wrenching, and had me stumped longer than most choices. The dialogue choices in these sequences feel real in that none of them will change Peter’s future, as they instead focus on how Peter can come to terms with this terrible event. It’s heavy-hitting stuff, and I’m glad TellTale is so willing to embrace the difficulty that comes with that type of situation.
And seeing Drax’s past? Nothing short of brutal. While his flashback was shorter than any other team member’s, seeing Drax bond with his daughter first-hand really cemented how much the character has been through. The pride Drax emits when showing his daughter how to become a warrior was as wholesome as it gets, and it made that last decision in the flashback so much harder to pick.
The ending of the episode brought the team to a boiling point, leading to them splitting off in groups that are primarily determined by your choices. Only Gamora stood with me in the end, as Drax and Rocket left, and I told Groot to go with Rocket since I felt he needed the gentle wooden giant’s support more than I did. The difficult choices leading up to the end of the episode felt like they payed off, as I felt like I had messed up when team members started taking off. While I stood by my choices, as much as I wanted Groot to stick with me, it was still tough to watch my teammates leave because of me. Sure, my choices ensured that they’re still alive, but they certainly weren’t happy with me. That’s the essence of leadership though, I suppose.
Now for the more problematic sections of the episode. Primarily, Rocket’s completely unearned hostility towards Star-Lord. For the entire series I’ve gone out of my way to help Rocket and, when reasonable, to side with him in arguments. I’ve aggravated him once or twice when he suggests things that are overly hostile, but I thought my track record with him was pretty solid. Suddenly, Rocket absolutely despises Peter. The entire episode was full of Rocket repeatedly stating how much he hates Peter, and how everybody else should too. Even when I rescued him from being eaten by killer worms, he chastised me for not going with him, then he stormed off. When he left in the end, I didn’t really feel as bad as I did with Drax or Mantis, as Rocket had been set on leaving since before there was any real tension.
Some of the voice acting in this episode was really off as well. Star-Lord and Rocket’s “shut up” argument has some really brutal delivery, making it more awkward than nerve-wracking. On the other hand, the engine ran better in this episode than in any one before it. Is this a fluke? Probably. But it’s a pleasant fluke nonetheless.
The Final Word
Who Needs You has some strong emotional moments, followed by frustratingly unearned tension in the group. I’m excited to see how things play out in the finale, and I’m primarily hoping for Rocket to come to his senses before the series ends.
MonsterVine Rating: 4 out of 5 – Good