With Episode 2, Under Pressure, falling entirely into the “filler episode” bin, Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy Episode 3, More Than a Feeling, bears the weight of the payoff. It’s the arch stone of the season, the middle episode that not only needs to address the slowness of the preceding, while also whetting your appetite for what’s to come. Coming in at a rather svelte hour and a half, More Than a Feeling manages to walk the same personal edge that Under Pressure did with its focus on Rocket’s past, while also doing enough to keep the main conflict, keeping the Eternity Forge out of the hands of Hala and the Kree.
Having found the Temple of the Forge, Episode 3 starts in the middle of a memory. It’s one of Gamora’s, and tells the story of the last moments she spent with her sister Nebula. The scene provides a different look at Nebula, one that reveals many of the emotions hidden beneath her cybernetic exterior, as well as our first glimpse of what it was like to have Thanos as a father. Thanos rolls into the scene and immediately begins chewing scenery like he hasn’t eaten in a millenia. He a large imposing presence next to the lithe figures of Gamora and Nebula, and while he speaks to them as though they were his children, there is clearly no love for either of his “daughters.” The Mad God is smart and manipulative, maneuvering Nebula around her sister masterfully, setting up the betrayal as something necessary.
The rest of the episode deals with Mantis, an empath involved with the Eternity Forge, and part of the Guardians in both the movies and comics, and the group’s journey to either use or destroy said item. In true Telltale fashion, the choice is presented by the group, and defended on both sides by different Guardians. Billed in the literature sent along as incredibly important to set up the rest of the season, this was one of the first times I was truly torn between two actions. On one hand, Mantis explains that using the Forge can return anyone to life, whether their body is present or not. As you can imagine, this is huge to both Rocket, whose loss we explored last episode, and Drax, who lost his family to Thanos, not to mention Peter’s stake in this, as his mom and her death have been dangled in front of him as a means of getting him to chase the forge.
While the choice does deal with life and death, and what someone returning from the Great Beyond could mean, it was a nice change of pace having a decision to make that didn’t directly lead to an immediate side characters death. I would say that was something that was assured given the fact that it's a Marvel property, but given Telltale’s current run with Batman, a character just being important doesn’t quite have the level of security it used to.
That’s not to say a member of the Guardians is just going to die all willie-nillie, but having them respect your choices means a ton. Gamora straight out calls Peter on ignoring her advice, while Rocket makes no bones about voicing his displeasure regarding the Forge’s possible destruction. It’s an easy way to keep the stakes high when there’s no imminent danger, and with the team dynamic at play, it doesn’t feel as forced as in other games. It also helps carry the episode to a conclusion that brings Hala back in, giving more urgency to their confrontation, though the ending I chose leaves me wondering just where, exactly, this fight is headed.
Beyond that, there’s not much else to say without getting involved in the nuances of the story. There are a couple of interesting reactions to Mantis, including a choice you get to make on how she gets introduced into the group. I tried to meta game the choice, which, as it often does, lead to an awkward conversation with Drax (awkwards from Peter’s point of view, not mine). There’s an issue with intent when it comes to dialogue choices, as they portion you can pick from doesn’t always turn out the way you want it too, but that only shows up a couple of times, with the only specific one that comes right to mind occurring during a small argument with Rocket.
As it stands, More Than a Feeling was an overall better episode than Under Pressure. It feels like a second half, with episode 2 having gotten all the exposition out of the way, finding and using the Eternity Forge gave Episode 3 all the oomph it needed. With 2 episodes left, I remain invested in seeing what’s in store for the Guardians and what happens to bring the Galaxy back to status quo.
Reviewer and Editor for Darkstation by day, probably not the best superhero by night. I mean, look at that costume. EEK!