This review contains spoilers for Episode One, Two, Three, and Four of TellTale’s Guardians of the Galaxy. There will be minor spoilers for Episode Five.
Don’t Stop Believin’ is a mostly strong finale that, despite some lazy visuals and the standard engine issues, nicely wraps up the first season of TellTale’s Guardians of the Galaxy while providing closure for each character’s arc.
TellTale’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Episode 5 – Don’t Stop Believin’
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.
After dissolving at the end of Episode 4, the Guardians are all in different states of mind. They mostly hate each other, leading to Star-Lord having maybe one companion standing by him. (Gamora in my playthrough). Just as Star-Lord is getting used to losing the group, a news report shows Hala killing people while calling the Guardians out. Groot and Mantis show up, and the group decides to round up the team to stop Hala’s murderous rampage. The resolution seems pretty quick (it felt like a few minutes passed from the split-up to Groot and Mantis returning), but at least it gets the episode going right off the bat.
Groot’s flashback at the beginning is nothing short of heartwarming. Seeing the Guardians come together while in prison (while Star-Lord sports a brutal mustache) helps back up the idea that no matter how much the Guardians get on each others’ nerves, they’re a family. Also, speaking as Groot and having only Rocket understand you is pretty funny, since all your answers just come out as “I Am Groot”. Seeing the team get to know each other in their own snarky way was rewarding nonetheless, and while I wish Groot got a big backstory like the other members, the flashback was sufficient.
Diving into Star-Lord’s mind is a neat concept, but this is where the episode felt lazy. When you think of entering a mind, you might imagine a pretty trippy or at least abstract environment. In Don’t Stop Believin’, Star-Lord’s mind is just grey, with dark gray platforms. It looks like it’s from the alpha for the game, so I couldn’t help but feel distracted by how bland and unimaginative the setting was.
“…speaking as Groot and having only Rocket understand you is pretty funny, since all your answers just come out as ‘I Am Groot’.”
Once you start chasing down your teammates, things get more interesting. Confronting Rocket and learning about his fears of being alone was rather moving, and somewhat redeemed him for his inconsistent behaviour in the previous episode. Finding Drax digging his own grave started as quite a morbid scene, but as soon as he lies down like a vampire, it became much lighter and funnier. I liked that he needed to have his “warrior’s spirit” renewed, and that antagonizing and fighting him was the best way to do it. It’s fitting that someone whose title is “the Destroyer” would be best reached through a brawl between friends.
Fighting Hala as all of the Guardians at once served as a nice parallel to Episode One’s battle with Thanos, and embodied the feeling of unity that the team had found once more in this episode. Speaking to Hala like her son after the battle was quite emotional as well, especially because it simultaneously served as closure for Star-Lord’s backstory. Seeing one last flashback between Peter and his mom hit me as hard as any of the other flashbacks did, and solidified these flashbacks as the most emotional parts of the series for me. And deciding whether or not I wanted to have one last conversation with her? Devastatingly difficult.
Finally, having the team come together to celebrate their victory at the bar provided another parallel to the first episode, giving this episode a satisfying feeling of symmetry. Ending with another adventure on the way felt fitting for the Guardians, especially after that post-credits teaser. Sure, I expected that character to appear in the way that they did, but it didn’t make it any less exciting. Hopefully the inevitable Season 2 can take advantage of them properly, as there’s plenty of material to go off of.
The usual issues are once again present in Don’t Stop Believin’, from frame-rate stutters to weird audio syncing at times. Something something get a new engine, you get the idea at this point.
The Final Word
Don’t Stop Believin’ wraps up the Guardians of the Galaxy’s first TellTale adventure sufficiently. There are some lazy settings and the hallmark issues that come with any TellTale title, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable episode in terms of story. Here’s hoping Season 2 ups the ante with the mystery character from the post-credit stinger.
MonsterVine Rating: 4 out of 5 – Good