For better or worse Telltale’s adventure game formula has touched a variety of I.P’s. Batman, Game of Thrones, Borderlands, The Wold Among Us (Fables) and of course The Walking Dead. Initially the concept of turning your favorite series into an adventure game was a welcome change to bad movie tie-ins, rushed to meet obscure deadlines. With this being the biggest outing to date yet though, have Telltale got it in themselves to make the leap to true AAA-gaming royalty with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series – Episode One?

Announced late in 2016 Episode One of Telltales’s Guardians of the Galaxy is finally here, just in time for the release of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. Playing it is a fun experience, one that retains the humor and feeling of the feature film. Sadly though, for all the strong writing on s hampered by the same old issues that have impacted every other Telltale game.

Like in other Telltale adventure games, choice matters. Choosing who you side with during a heated conversation could change the outcome and even fates of characters in future chapters and while there is plenty of choice in the first episode, it’s hard to see a dramatic change occurring in subsequent episodes given the I.P. While not a part of the MCU the influence is obvious, licensed music is used cleverly and sets the mood for various set pieces. No cast members from the movie franchise are here to do voice work but the voices never feels odd or out-of-place.

The story see’s the Guardians aiding a distress call and the initial roll out of the  plot is quite surprising and welcome, taking chances that the movies would require a lot of build to take. What hampers the pacing of the story is the tediousness of the game play. requiring you to find items to solve puzzles and even when knowing where the item is, it’s still required to go through some tedious steps to advance certain portions of the plot.

What hasn’t changed from prior Telltale games is the poor performance in the engine. Slight pauses still occur during heavily animated cut scenes and game play as well. This takes you out of the moment. This is a direct result of using the same engine stemming from the original Walking Dead season 1. As Telltale releases more games they have become less puzzle heavy and more based on choices and action. This hurts the overall feeling of the game as the engine is clearly not made for such a focus.

It’s disappointing that Telltale chose to use the same old engine from last gen with tweaks instead of making a new one to take advantage of these new console’s power. It’s something fans of their games have voices for the past few years and is likely not to change.

Overall I can’t say I enjoyed episode 1. The flaws in the engine and overuse of tired Telltale game tropes severely impacted the humor and story and was so noticeable it frustrated me . I will play episode 2 when it releases but mainly because if my interest in the Guardians franchise itself and not the success of this game. Here’s hoping Telltale surprises me.