Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series hasn't really been great. In fact, it'd be more accurate to say it barely manages to clear the bar of "good". Each episode has been a disappointing slog of interesting but half-baked ideas tied together by a dull story and annoying soundtrack. The last episode at least showed some minor improvement, but at this point, it seems like too little too late for the actual season. Will Don't Stop Believin' at least end the season on a solid note, or will this be as much of a bore as the rest?
The last episode ended on a bit of a depressing note, with either Drax deciding to sacrifice himself to save the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy or Groot being badly injured by Drax's lack of a sacrifice. Following this, the group promptly disbands, not willing to stick together any longer. Not really sure what to do, Star-Lord attempts to just sort of disappear into the bottom of a bottle for the rest of his life. Things don't quite go as planned, as a chance to stop Hala the Accuser presents itself and Star-Lord makes one last desperate attempt to reassemble the Guardians and defeat Hala.
The idea is good, but the execution is just dull. By the end of the episode, I came to some realizations: I didn't care about Hala, I didn't care about any of the Guardians, and I didn't care about what happened to any of the planets featured in the game. The game totally failed to invest me in this group of characters and as a result I finished up the final episode just generally feeling like I wasted my time. The only saving grace of the story is the jokes, which continue to be funny. More than once I found myself laughing at some weird situation or Star-Lord's old mustache that no one wants to mention again.
Much like the other episodes, you get to explore a Guardian's past to learn what shaped them. It's a bit different this time, as instead, you'll see how the Guardians formed through the eyes of Groot. This means you don't actually learn any of Groot's history, which could be seen as a disappointment. Also, much like Drax's segment from the last episode, this segment is barely long enough to be memorable in any way. You'll maybe spend ten minutes tops as Groot, and get nothing worth seeing for those ten.
There's a total lack of any investigation scenes this episode and the fights clock in at a grand total of one. The final battle with Hala is appropriately fun and well choreographed, much like every other fight scene in the season, but it's rather fast. For a villain that the game has spent the entire season building up as some kind of invincible bad ass, the actual fight against her is unsatisfying in how quickly it's over and barely feels consistent with how the powers she has displayed up until this point.
The near total silence in the episode is also extremely noticeable. No, not from the characters themselves, they continue to voice their opinions and be well acted. Rather, it's from the almost complete lack of any licensed music this time around. It's like Telltale figured out the lack of songs was annoying, but instead of adding new songs had instead decided to just cut them all out. The only song that appears in the entire episode is Heart's Crazy On You, which is well enough used here. Also for some reason, Telltale decided the credit theme should be The Buzzcock's Why Can't I Touch It, a song I specifically noted that I was already sick of back in Episode 2.
There's also some weird glitches and camera shots littered throughout this episode. It's not as bad as slowdown or choices not being recorded, but at least twice I did see characters who I could have sworn died a few scenes ago wandering in the background. One scene saw Star-Lord standing on a table making a speech to Mantis and Groot, then the camera changes and he's suddenly not on the table. Another had a Star-Lord talking to Gamora before the camera changed and they suddenly switched which side they were standing on. It's like scenes were set with no one bothering to check the last scene to see if it was consistent, and it kept throwing me off.
The previous episode proved to be the best for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series and I thought that maybe it was a sign that the finale would at least be interesting enough to make the season not feel like a total loss. Instead, Don't Stop Believin' somehow manages to do the inverse and be the worst episode in the series. Ending the season with about the same emotional note as I'd get from watching a plastic bag blow in the wind, it's hard to consider anything of worth coming from here outside of a few decent jokes. It's not Game of Thrones bad, but by God did it come close.
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series - Episode 5: Don't Stop Believin' was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a copy purchased by the reviewer. The game is also available on PC via Steam and GOG (Affiliate link), Xbox One, iOS, and Android devices.
The worst episode in a struggling season by far, Don't Stop Believin' proved that I should have just stopped believing in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series long ago.
- A Couple of Funny Jokes
- You Get to Play as Groot
- Story Fails to Bring Interesting Conclusion
- Only a Single Fight Scene
- Almost No Soundtrack
- No Investigations
- Weird Glitches