Twist on the papa Genre

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Star-Lord and Drax from the Guardians of the Galaxy video game watch the edge of the universe from Knowhere.

Star-Lord and Drax are chatting on the edge of the universe.
Screenshot: Edios Montreal / Square-Enix

Everywhere you go in AAA games lately there are dads. They make the games, they make these games about their fears and their hopes – of God of the war To The last of us, of Underworld To Resident Evil Village, the complex emotional tribulations of fatherhood and father figures are pervasive. Even the Guardians of the Galaxy can’t escape this trend, but their last game offers some interesting jukes and jives in his own review of it.

Say that guardians of the galaxy is a family story is not entirely original these days, especially not in the long shadow of james gunn work with characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His perspective has shaped and influenced every iteration of the team we’ve seen in the comics, cartoons and now, in Eidos Montreal. guardians of the galaxy, released late last month — video games too. The retro ’80s soundtrack, the dirty punk-rock sci-fi aesthetic, the general premise of a gang of sarcastic lone wolf assholes coming together to find a sense of kinship as they save the day, much of the DNA that permeated Gunn’s Guardians movies can be found in this game. But unlike the recent Avengers video game, which had to turn to an unlikely new star to distract from the fact that his assembled heroes felt like their movie counterparts with the numbers dropped, Guardians gives all of its CPU – Star-Lord, Rocket, Drax, Gamora and Groot – a unique identity linked by this ephemeral video game trend in the “Dad Game” trope.

Image of the article titled Guardians of the Galaxy's Twist on the Dad Game Boom is surprisingly warm

Screenshot: Edios Montreal / Square-Enix

Image of the article titled Guardians of the Galaxy's Twist on the Dad Game Boom is surprisingly warm

This is in part because this idea is ingrained in the Guardians and their stories in source material. Gamora naturally has a long icy relationship with his adoptive father, the Mad Titan Thanos. The game’s Drax, just like the comics and movies, is still haunted by the death of his wife and child at the hands of the villain. Rocket and Groot have a kind of brotherly vibe that when the duo bump into the band (mostly Rocket, being the one who can actually constantly express their abrasive and often petty thoughts, in understandable language), it’s like two kids. bite their thumbs at real adults in the room. Then, of course, there’s Peter Quill himself, who is a walking plague of parental grief. On the paternal side here, like the comics, he is a child of the King of Spartax who abandoned him a long time ago with his mother Meredith. She is also a tragic figure in the life of this feather, as she is killed on her 13th birthday by a Chitauri raid squad, as part of a larger intergalactic war between the Kree and the alien race that forms the backdrop Guardiansgalaxy in general entering the game.

But the Dad Games and Daddy Issues, while overlapping in content, aren’t quite the same thing – the latter is more about issues with our own parents, rather than whether our heroes, or us ourselves, we are ready to become parents in turn. Or Guardians play with the old concept, so, is to introduce an intriguing new wrinkle in the form of a young Kree girl named Nikki (a loose approximation of Nicolette Gold from the comic strip). In the beginning Guardians, the team incurs the wrath of the Nova Corps for illegally entering a quarantined area of ​​space filled with relics of the ancient Chitauri / Kree war.

Pierre in particular draws the wrath of the Centurion leading their arrest, Ko-rel, who turns out – in Star-Lord fashion – is in fact a former lover. The two fought together and fell for each other 12 years before the war. Which further complicates matters when, while trying to negotiate the Guardian’s very high fine with the Nova Corps, Peter crosses paths with Nikki, Ko-rel’s daughter … who is around 12 years old. Several times after his first encounters with Nikki, Peter and the player themselves are asked to “do the math” in Guardians‘Limited dialogue choice mechanics. Even then, the choice isn’t really one: Peter can accept that Nikki is absolutely his child, or deny it and then essentially be told by all of his friends that Nikki is absolutely his child.

Image of the article titled Guardians of the Galaxy's Twist on the Dad Game Boom is surprisingly warm

Screenshot: Edios Montreal / Square-Enix

But as soon as Peter is asked to consider the fact that he’s been, unwittingly, an absent father, the Guardians throw another curve at his protagonist, asking if he’s ready to become a singular parent for his “new” daughter. Shortly after the Guardians rush off to attempt a mission to get the credits and pay their Nova fine, they return to Ko-rel’s cruiser to find chaos in their wake. A strange being who has been unwittingly unleashed by a small Peter and Rocket gemstone found in the Quarantine Zone kills Ko-rel in front of Nikki. In her grief, she is shaped by the Great Unifier of the Universal Church of Truth, Raker, to become the new Matriarch of religious worship: a vessel that manipulates the energy of faith of brainwashed converts drawn to “The Promise.” », A false reality claiming to offer the return of deceased loved ones. Guardians It quickly becomes both a race to save the galaxy from brainwashing in the cult of Raker, and a race for Peter to save his new daughter and help her cope with his grief over Ko-rel’s death. .

So far, so Papa Game. But at the same time Guardians Makes Peter think about his fears of becoming a father, a late-game twist puts the idea on his head. Eventually you learn that the Gem was, of course, the Soul Stone, and the entity that killed Ko-rel – and now owns Nikki – is none other than Magus, the evil shadow of Adam Warlock. As Peter finds himself cast in Nikki’s own version of “The Promise,” a shard of Ko-rel’s soul trapped in stone reaches out and tells Peter the truth: Nikki is not his biological daughter. , but a Kree war orphan whom Kor-rel adopted because she was persecuted on her homeworld for not being a pure Kree. But it’s not presented as a tricked-in trap, or that all of a sudden the joke is that Peter has been going through the events of the game up to this point for seemingly nothing. The struggles he had dealt with during Guardians before that, help him to grow and mature as a person, leader and friend of the family unit forged by the Guardians themselves. He sees the parallels in fatherhood that he has experienced, discussed, and understood as he helps people like Gamora and Drax deal with their own traumatic relationships as parents and children.

Image of the article titled Guardians of the Galaxy's Twist on the Dad Game Boom is surprisingly warm

Screenshot: Edios Montreal / Square-Enix

It is a unit which, through the game’s ending, is presented with a sincere and loving connection between its members, a found family that is enhanced by the healing each of them undergoes over the course of the events of the game. did not need to be Nikki’s father to go this route, but the potential of it serving as a catalyst for that growth, rather than being treated as a burden to bear and overcome, is what makes his journey through the game so surprisingly serious and worth encouraging. That Peter went through these connections regardless of his fatherly status is important to his arc as a person throughout the game. By its climax – when Nikki is kissed on the Guardians team, not as a daughter of Peter, but as an ally and hero in his own right – he offers guardians of the galaxy with a refreshing twist on a story genre that has risen to prominence in the main story-based games of the moment. In doing so, it helps Guardians who, in his first reveal, did little to impress that he would be able to step out of the shadow of his cinematic predecessor, to stand as a worthy and intriguing twist of Marvel’s cosmic supergroup. .


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