The Wonderful Details of Choices, and Crafting Your Own Story.
I think we can all agree that this game's time has come to an end. There probably won't be a second season, and the immense amount of hard work put into this game is being overlooked by many. But, I'm going to focus on the positives here. The dedication, passion, and amount of work the Guardians Team has put into this game is phenomenal. I'm talking about every part of the team. Writers, Directors, Editors, Artists, Voice Actors... everyone.
To show my support of this team and the game, I'm going to list off the incredible amount of things the team has done to create many diverging paths, points, and personal story threads. Not all of them are essential to the story or change it in significant ways, but they're extra options that were included to personalise your experience, and I am grateful for it.
The team didn't NEED to put in this many choices, but they did. Here we go...
- You can be impressed or disappointed in Rocket's huge gun. You get multiple opportunities to voice your opinion on the matter, and can change your mind if you feel the need to do so.
- You get the option to order drinks for a number of people. Your team, the whole house, or keep it all to yourself....
- A single dialogue option with a Kree soldier adds a line later on when he reappears. It's a tiny detail, but it was added. --- "Oh, great... It's the racist."
- You have an option to oppose Rocket or Gamora's plan concerning Thanos' body in dialogue, and can even change your mind on the matter when finally choosing in the bridge. --> Lead to Episode 2 Difference -- Also changes characters' reactions in Next Time on segment
- Depending on your relationship with Drax/Rocket at the bar, you get different dialogue options for Drax, and may have the option to apologise to Rocket, or not if your relationship is completely negative.
- The choice of Thanos' body changes who wakes Peter from his trance. This wasn't needed, but is an appreciated detail to add.
- The deal with the body on the Nova Corps side can go two ways. Either your friend can pull some strings to get you the money, or you walk out with no future bounty.
- The battle scene with Hala is different depending on who you called. A small section that could have been uniform, but it was not.
- Dialogue options with Gamora on Hala's ship can change depending on your Thanos choice.
- The path to get to the Bridge is also different depending on who you brought.
- Rocket's announcement to when he blows the windows open and his remarks to Peter change based on his relationship with him. And those are just two lines that change. The effect is appreciated.
- Regardless of previous knowledge of Guardians, you still get the option to go with Yondu voluntarily or against your will. This changes reactions in the Next Time on segment.
- Failing the first QTE changes a dialogue option. Not needed, but a very welcome detail.
- Also, more dialogue options are different based on the Bar Scene/Partner Choice of the previous episode.
- Options to introduce the Guardians as something other than "Family" to Yondu, despite the story leaning heavily on the familial aspect.
- You can promise to Rocket that you'll do his favour, but this does not set it in stone. You can change it later.
- Rocket can be removed from the hub the moment you get back to the ship if you do not agree to his favour.
- Dialogue to Gamora when talking about Nebula's escape can change Rocket's demeanor to you based on whether or not you went back on your promise.
- An entire point-and-click subplot dedicated to the candy thief.
- Various options to console Drax and lead him to learn from another Guardian. These scenes can be missed if you do not look for them, or can even be locked out if you angered one of them, locking you out of an area of the ship.
- The beginning moments of the chase of Nebula can be different on the Nova Corps or Collector side, depending on whether or not you traveled there first. That's 4 possible permutations to an end goal. [capturing Nebula]
- The beginning moments of finding Rocket can be different depending on when you traveled there.
- Regardless of it being a flashback, you still get choices on how the events play out, and what that character chose.
- You get options to help Rocket bury his lover, or not get involved. It doesn't have much of an effect, but it's still there for the player to decide.
- How you get the cipher from Nebula can change depending on how harsh you treat her. Same end goal, different route.
- Interestingly enough, the choice in whether or not Rocket should hold on to his memories changes how he takes down the Kree soldier in the engine room. The outcome is the same, but the method of execution is different. An appreciated detail.
- Dialogue choices in Gamora's flashback are registered, and used for another flashback later on.
- Gamora's direction of being stabbed is different depending on whether of not you give Nebula the device. It even changes a singular line later on. A tiny detail, but work was put into it.
- One dialogue option when talking to Mantis changes how she adresses Peter for the rest of the episode.
- You get the option to choose a Guardian for Mantis to empathise with. This has no effect on the story apart from some dialogue changes in the hub that follows. Small details, but they were still added...
- One dialogue option after Mantis' speech can restart an entire dialogue tree. It didn't need to lead to that, but for comedic purposes it's greatly appreciated.
- You can talk to the Bartender in the bar hub and even get options on which drink to have. A very easy detail to miss and it was by many (as he's located just off screen from Drax), but it's still a detail that was added in and kept.
- You can quell Rocket's feelings in different ways. Either make him mad, or punch him and he apologises. Making him mad adds an insignificant choice later on where he apologises, and you can accept his apology. Telltale didn't need to add this choice later, but they did. Very appreciated.
- Having Nebula on the team can even change the montage on the ship. They could have just stuck with clips of the Guardians themselves, but have it change an entire subplot is nice. (Drax vs. Nebula arm wrestle / Groot Basketball)
- Having Nebula on the team changes how you acquire the squished lens, as Rocket gets all prepped to grab it, but Nebula gets her own time to shine. They could have stuck with Rocket in both paths, but nope. Effort was put into that.
- I've noticed that the choice of the Fate of the Forge changes the lighting of the Temple. It's a minor change, but it's still something.
- The opening fight scene and dialogue is slightly different based on the previous Forge and Nebula choices. There's even this ominous comment Hala can say to Mantis (as she holds her up by the throat) in the Empowered path. "In all of your tales and prophecies, did you happen to see this?"
- You have a choice to fulfill your mother's wishes, or get her the help and comfort she needs. (Camping or Hospital). Kind of a deep choice to make.
- There are multiple things each member can say to Peter in the first room of the cave each time you interact with them.
- Being mean to the space worm means instant denial of friendship. Being nice means you get to name it. That name gets repeated throughout the episode, and was a very fun detail. You can even bring it into Episode 5 if you choose.
- Having Nebula injured changes some dialogue options with Gamora, Groot takes her through the caves, and it even adds a full death scene for her later on with even more choices implemented into that! (Honour her wishes, get her to come clean with Gamora). Even though her fate is inevitable, you still have input on the situation.
- You still get to shape your Guardians in this episode, where you can finally play Drax as a Father. Is he harsh? Loving? Worried for his daughter going out on the hunt?
- Throughout the engine puzzle inside the worm, you get opportunities to use the Communicator. It adds explanation to characters' feelings, and fills you in on current events (disposing of stuff on the ship). There's quite a bit of dialogue for that, so kudos to the cast.
- You can rename Drax's blades to the name of an old TV show, song, or band if you bring them up. I'm not sure if they ever get mentioned in the episode, but it's an interesting detail that was kept. It's a cool little secret dialogue branch!
- You have the option to keep or dispose of each and every special item in Peter's room (even the photo of his mother). Telltale didn't need to add all those options, but they did because why not. They even added the option to remove the Tape Deck -- the most iconic piece of Peter himself. The best part is that how much you dispose of can overrule your choice of keeping the Tape Deck. That's some cool consequence right there.
- Also, Telltale added the option to choose which side of the worm to exit. They could have gone with one route, but no. They gave you the option. ...Great.
- Drax's death prompting the leave of quite a few Guardians, and causing disarray. Tensions are high. It's interesting how sacrificing oneself isn't all as noble as it is in the movies, and denying one's sacrifice can be just as bad (especially if it's that person's way of life). Gamora hates the idea of Drax doing such a thing, stating that she can't handle all this death, she doesn't want anyone to die. Drax despises that you deny him a "warrior's death", something he strives for as his own end goal. Losing someone can fracture a group, and that's cool.
- Even in the end, you had the option to react in pity, surprise, or hostility in each of the Guardians' departure. Why? Why not?
- Right off the bat, you get two choice paths intersecting: The Forge choice, and the Sacrifice Drax choice, with either Rocket or Gamora at your side, and Bal-Dinn coming to you for help or not. Mantis' reaction and reason for wanting to stop Hala is different depending on if the Forge is still active or not.
- For each emotion you choose in the mind space, you get different lines of dialogue related to each emotion that the Guardians have said thus far in your playthrough. Even some of them are choice dependent lines, tailored to you.
- You can get completely different scenes from the Sacrifice Drax choice, where you either have to convince Drax he has a purpose (after Space Worm battle) + convince Gamora to rejoin the Guardians, or convince both Rocket and Drax (After denial of sacrifice) to rejoin the Guardians. You can even leave the lab with Rocket by blowing it up, or talking him down.
- You have the order of assigning roles for the Guardians on how you'll attack the Kree mothership. Apart from Rocket and Peter, each Guardian can fullfil each role, and they all complete it differently (creating a distraction, "hacking" the computer, retrieving the helmet and defending the hacker). Different dialogue occurs for each situation.
- Before you depart on your final mission, you have a build-a-speech scene! Who doesn't like that?!
- A few instances of how Hala attacks the Guardians on the bridge is different depending on her current state. Minor, but it's just good details.
- Much like the Nebula Death scene of last episode, now the Alive Nebula players get their share of the cake. They get an exclusive scene added on to the end of the Hala fight. There's also choices implemented into this scene, and here you can either let Nebula fall to her death or save her and keep her alive, cybernetics and all.
- You get big different options on how to end the climax of the game in each scenario. In the Empowered Forge path, you can either wipe out the Kree for good, or let them live and let Bal-Dinn lead them on a new path of life. In the Destroyed Forge path, you can either let Hala die as her memory fades and degrades, or comfort her in her final moments.
- You can recruit Mantis to the team during a talk in the bar. Doesn't do anything, but as I've said before... options are appreciated.
- The big changes don't stop yet! In the Empowered path, you have the option of reviving one of the team's friends or family (Meredith, Kamaria, Lylla, or Nebula [if she's dead]) or not, if you so choose. In the Destroyed path, Mantis gives you the option of talking to your mother -- for real -- one last time. If you accept, you have a heartwarming moment of goodbye, and are able to choose the closing song of the episode. (the default option on the Empowered path is 'Why Can't I Touch It?')
- To top it all off, the surprising after-credits scene is different depending on where Thanos is at the time, and of certain choices made along the way. There are 4 in total, but I'm not sure what activates each of them. (Assassin retrieves Thanos from Nova Corps, Collector's Museum, or the Training Room, or no Assassin is present at Nova Corps.)
...and that's it. At least, most of it.
So, there you have it. Major thanks to the Guardians Team, and I hope you continue to make wonderful projects like this in the future.
This team has the passion to create a bunch of scenes and choices that don't have a large effect on the "main story", but still has an effect on the player's view of the game itself, and how their story plays out. Lots of small content, lots of small consequences, but a lot of it was made for the enjoyment of the player.
Remember: In the end, you will have created your Guardians adventure, and it could be pretty hard for someone to get the exact same experience you did. There's just so much content in this series, and that's precisely why I love it.
Edit: Okay. I'm done. I did it. I finally got around to revising the incomplete Episode 4 block and adding in the major/minor choices of Episode 5. I still stand by my opinions on this game, and still love to gush about it. It's not perfect, but don't get on my case for loving it...
Here's to a second season! (right?)