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Review: Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series - Episode Two: Under Pressure (Xbox One)By ringlord71 At 16.06.2017 01:39

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The second episode of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy continues directly after the events of the first episode, with the main cast of Peter "Star-Lord" Quill, the vengeful daughter of Thanos, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon and Groot, as well as the humorous destroyer, Drax. This time around, however, the narrative features two streams: the present where the Guardians, now equipped with the Eternity Forge, try to figure out what the inscriptions on it say in order to figure out what to do next. The other stream centres on Rocket's past involving a pivotal moment, which helps shapes the character that he is in the present.

Rocket's little trip down memory lane is caused by the Eternity Forge, and it's here that his character is fleshed out a little more. The diversion features a great narrative that is equally heart-breaking and emotional, as the sequence peels back the outer shell that Rocket has up around the Guardians. It goes a long way into understanding just why Rocket Raccoon is a tough little egg to crack, and why he always has his guard up and rough around the edges, and the conclusion of his story adds a completely new dimension to him as a character moving forward, with an added appreciation for all that he has achieved.

Unfortunately, the present-day story seems to drag out a little, as each chapter slowly moves the story forward. In direct contrast to the fast-moving first episode where major story points took place at each chapter, this time around the narrative takes a while to get going. This is due to the complete lack of story progression, as the characters spend four of the chapters trying to figure out how to read the inscriptions on the Eternity Forge, before the final chapter finally picks up the pace and builds towards the third episode. In saying that, the story itself is still intriguing, and the ending is good enough to continue the wanting for more.

The best part about this episode is the dialogue between Peter and Rocket, as their relationship seems to make amends after their heated first episode. Each of the dialogue options between the two felt like they carried enormous weight, with another fight just waiting to happen upon selecting the wrong option. This heightens the moments between these two, as Peter attempts to better understand Rocket and get to know the real him, without causing yet another outburst.

On the downside, however, is the lack of a real moral dilemma between the choice options that make their way into this episode. Similarly to the first episode, the major option-branches lacks the weighting that Peter and Rocket's dialogue seem to carry, with one choice always outweighing the other, thus mitigating the selection dilemma. There is no hard call to make, therefore making each of these answers easy to figure out. Judging by the statistics of the rest of the players at the games conclusion, it further justifies this point.

The rest of the cast just seem to be there in the episode, without posing as a real centrepiece. Gamora seems to be the "villain" of sorts in this piece, as she just tries to disagree with Peter at every turn, much like how Rocket was in the first episode. While this is not bad, it does become annoying when nearly every decision turns into an argument. Groot's role is limited to just being a stand-in until the final chapter, where he finally has a purpose in the story, while Drax is similarly placed, apart from his funny lines of literal thinking.

While the sixth chapter is where this episode finally begins to get good in the narrative, it is also full of graphical glitches and sound bugs that detract greatly from an otherwise good ending. Quill's posture animations seems to skip frames more often in this part of the game, while the sound-bytes seem to cut out in mid-sound, as opposed to the conclusion of each sound. On top of this, some of the recorded dialogue takes on an echo that is not heard in the preceding five chapters, while the sound levels between the lines seem to constantly adjust at an inconsistent rate. It seemed as if the final chapter was rushed out the gate in order to meet the release date of the episode, which is unfortunate as the story in this sequence really kicked the episode up a notch.

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Final Score
If [i]Under Pressure[/i] was meant to serve as a platform to build up the third episode, then it surely succeeded at that. However, it only really managed to gain traction towards the final act, but that section also featured some of the worst bugs to the graphics and sound files in the game. While the rest of the episode did not really seem to move the plot anywhere, Rocket's backstory sequence is a major highlight of the story, and it is worth experiencing in order to add another dimension to him as a character. The intrigue in the overall story arc is there, and the next episode cannot come soon enough, as it looks to finally pick up speed. However, if the glitches are anything to go by, maybe it should not come too soon.



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