So, it turns out that Guardians of the Galaxy is very, very good! Don’t let Square Enix’s previous Marvel game, the online mess that is Avengers, scare you away from checking out this new, single-player adventure starring the galaxy’s most dysfunctional found family. Not only is it a blast to play, featuring a great story with genuinely funny jokes, but it also includes some of the coolest, weirdest, and most colorful sci-fi designs I’ve seen in a game in a long time.
You ain’t visiting boring desert planets in Guardians of the Galaxy. Instead, every planet and alien in this game looks like it was ripped off the cover of some old ‘70s-era sci-fi paperback or metal album.
Bland, cookie-cutter alien planets and extraterrestrials are very common these days, in games and movies. A certain look has become popular, one heavily inspired by influential properties like Star Trek and Star Wars. Whenever I run into these uninspired designs, I’m disappointed. Science fiction is a chance to go wild, to create things that don’t exist, and populate a universe with bizarre planets and truly distinctive aliens. Yet, outside of a few exceptions like No Man’s Sky, most games and films stick to the same familiar territory of grey-like aliens, standard monsters, and generic robots that we have all seen before. I want to grab the creators behind many of these projects and remind them that old, low-budget sci-fi flicks and TV shows look that way because they had no other choice. Today, thanks to technology and bigger budgets, you can do more than stick some green paint and horns on an actor.
This currently popular, less imaginative sci-fi look was mostly what I expected to find in Guardians of the Galaxy. Oh, how wonderfully wrong my expectations were.
Nearly every single mission and chapter in this game includes brightly colored planets, odd creatures, or other strange sights and discoveries I don’t want to spoil for folks. Even in the final few hours of the game, it kept tossing in fresh and creative enemies to fight or taking me to new, exotic planets and space stations. Many of the alien planets and beings I photographed in-game feel inspired by the cosmic Marvel comics of old, and reminded me of the similarly colorful and wild look of Thor Ragnarok or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Guardians of the Galaxy, out now on all major platforms, is crammed full of stuff that will make you do a double-take; creatures that will make you go “Wait, is that its head or its body or both?” and planets that will likely stop you in your tracks as you pull out the in-game photo mode to snap a scenic pic of it all. I know I did that a lot. In fact, by the end of the game, I had well over 100 screenshots of planets and aliens that I had encountered during the campaign.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to sit here and torture you with a 100+ photo slideshow, like some evil aunt who just got back from her fifth trip to the Grand Canyon and has so many “great” pictures to show you. Instead, I’ve included some of my favorite images below in a smaller slideshow.
(And remember this is just some of the cool stuff I saw! I don’t want to spoil it all for those wanting to check out the game.)