Telltale is back with another emotionally charged journey with the Guardians of the Galaxy. The last two games have gone either very successful with emotion for us (Under Pressure) to a little more on the meh side (More Than a Feeling). The latest episode, Who Needs You, covers all that ground on its way to delivering a potentially devastating ending.
What’s It About?
With most of the mysteries out of the way, Who Needs You starts on a more action-packed route before quickly pumping the breaks. The Guardians sidestep the Hala threat almost immediately. This sets up a Drax-driven story break via Mantis and spends the rest of the time focusing on just how dysfunctional the group really is.
By the end, the story takes an arguably huge risk with how it handles sending the team in separate ways. That’s not quite a spoiler, as if you can follow any story trope, you can absolutely see this coming. But there’s a slow burn that sneaks up on you. You get the hint before you don’t quite believe they’ll go through with anything. And then they do, at least for now. The story can leave you feeling a little dazed.
Why Should I Care?
While Who Needs You ends with a noticeable bang, it takes quite a bit of time to get there. Slowing down the story isn’t a problem in general. In fact, it can end up being quite effective if used right, but I didn’t find that much here. The pacing felt a little erratic and most of the drama seemed so hell-bent on taking things to an extreme that it was hard to connect with it. So when the story slowed down to show off this spat or that one, there wasn’t much to get on board with. The simplest line of dialogue, or even marginally sensible communication, could have easily avoided so much tension but still allowed it to exist. The story felt overly committed to the drama bit.
The action even fell victim to odd pacing. There a couple moments that got you back into the shoes, however briefly, of all the Guardians. Sweeping moments that had you bouncing from one to the next in order to fend off this enemy of that enemy. But due to a technical nature of Telltale games, it didn’t flow very well. The combat immediately suffered and felt stiff and unnatural. Luckily, the moments are over relatively quickly, but they certainly were throwing a wrench in the experience.
It’s a shame because when the game was on it, man, it was on it. There are some strong individual moments for Peter and Drax that felt honest. They weren’t contradictory as many of the Gamora and Rocket moments were throughout the episode; those just always felt like no-win situations. The working moments, though, felt like you could connect with the characters on much deeper levels. Peter’s flashback moment with his mom shed light into his ability to care for others; I would have loved to see more. Drax’s flashback gives a tender yet strong look into his familial situation. If you’re going to slow the game down, slow down for some more of that. And when you start creeping towards the end of the episode with the music blaring and everything seemingly going to all hell, a nail in the heart. It was that weird mix of fun and sadness that can work so well for the Guardians.
What Makes It Worth My Time and Money?
Who Needs You is certainly a struggle when it comes down to this. Like its immediate predecessor, it’s not a long episode, which accentuates its pacing issues even more, so you won’t need to spend too much time struggling in any given part. But the moments where it works the most are absolutely the reason why this series exists. Ultimately, there’s just enough to those moments that it can help you get past the rest. The ending absolutely saved this episode for me. Let’s see how that momentum carries into the final episode, which we should see by the end of the year.
Check out our reviews of this season’s other episodes of Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy!