Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a narrative-driven third-person action-adventure title based on the eponymous team of space-faring misfits, led by the well-intentioned but hilariously underprepared Peter Quill, also known as Star-Lord, and having more in common with the comics than their cinematic counterparts. Developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix, the story opens roughly twelve years after a galactic war leaves the solar system in shambles. Players fill the boots of Peter Quill as the team finds itself broke, desperate, and looking for payment.
Despite having a plethora of options available to motor-impaired players, there are a few reasons why it remains only partially accessible. From the outset, players are able to choose custom difficulty apart from the available presets, and selecting custom allows one to adjust things like automatic quick-time event completion and holding or toggling the Guardians’ abilities menu, but individual inputs cannot be adjusted in any capacity, so you’re stuck with the default in a combat scenario. In a bizarre design choice, there is a completely separate difficulty menu available from the pause screen once the story begins, which allows for things like damage received and damage dealt to be adjusted, along with how many hits Peter can absorb while his health gauge is at zero. These are all great features, but in certain parts of the game, particularly those involving shield-bearing enemies, or bosses, they don’t seem to make a noticeable difference because evasion is such a big facet of the combat. Even when his damage tolerance is at the highest setting available along with shield regeneration, he still doesn’t seem to absorb much. Groot’s healing ability helps to remedy this, but it is received far too late into the campaign to overlook this barrier.
Peter has the ability to call a team huddle when a meter fills, and selecting the right phrase will boost the team’s shields and give you infinite ability use for a short time, while choosing incorrectly will only buff Peter’s. However, the most confounding part about these features is why you cannot adjust them before the story begins. Pointing this out as a barrier may seem superfluous, but whatever adjustments are made in this menu only seem to take effect after reaching a checkpoint, meaning that if you make adjustments during a boss encounter and die without reaching the battle’s next checkpoint, you must pause and readjust each time you retry. Star-Lord’s blasters possess elemental ammo, which is unlocked by progressing through the story, and sometimes players must face an enemy whilst not having the appropriate ammo. The Guardians’ abilities and the slow motion you are granted while choosing a target is a welcome addition, and using Peter’s blasters has wonderful snap-targeting, but since movement is critical and may prove difficult for motor-impaired players, it’s not impossible, but tenacity is key, Rocket’s bombs do lots of physical damage, Groot tangles up foes, Gamora does moderate physical damage to multiple targets, and Drax does a heavy stun that enables Star-Lord to exploit vulnerability when a target’s stun bar fills, similar to 2018’s God of War. The Guardians’ abilities are also useful during puzzles, as Rocket can be used to open doors as a hacker, Gamora can help Peter reach high places and cut through wires and vines, Drax can punch through walls and lift heavy objects, and Groot can create bridges and platforms from his roots. Puzzles don’t have time-limits, but most dialogue choices do, making them difficult due to having to react quickly.
I regret to report that Guardians makes a few key missteps in the visual category mainly due to the fact that there are no colorblind options, which is a rather important omission given how colorful and vibrant each world you visit during the adventure is. However, the barriers don’t stop there, the player is encouraged to use Star-Lord’s visor to highlight interactive objects, however using the visor saturates the environment in red, and interactive objects are shown in yellow as well as the objective indicator, which for unknown reasons is only visible when the visor is active, this is unfortunate since any player whose impairment affects their ability to perceive those colors won’t be able to use it. Furthermore, the objective indicator’s transparency is adjustable but nothing can be done about its physical size, and the same can be said about many of the HUD elements such as the icons that indicate enemy weaknesses which are far too small and color-coded. Finally, subtitles are presented well with adjustable sizes via presets, letter spacing options speaker-tags and background opacity, however all of these wonderful options are hindered by a strange glitch which occasionally causes subtitles not to appear during important moments which brings me to one of the most important points I’ll discuss as a part of auditory accessibility.
Omitting the subtitle bug, Guardians is a thoroughly accessible experience for the deaf and hard of hearing. Though most of the game is playable from start to finish without the ability to hear, and the subtitles even take environmental and background noise into account along with the music. The aforementioned subtitle bug occurs fairly often and tends to happen during pivotal moments. If a player is deaf or hard of hearing and the bug occurs, it may very well result in missing something crucial or selecting the wrong option during one of the many timed dialogue trees.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy has a myriad accessibility options at a player’s disposal. And while some may not be as effective as one would hope, it’s still a very respectable effort, with a wonderfully comedic and heartfelt story at its core. This game will likely go unnoticed by many since pop-culture is currently so over-saturated with everything superhero, but if you’ve got patience to overcome a few obstacles, it’s a blast to play and proves single-player games are still very much alive.
This article has been transferred from DAGERSystem (now AbilityPoints). Scores, formatting, and writing style may differ from original CIPT content.