Guardians of the Galaxy goes a long way towards making you easier early on in your adventure, but there is still a lot to do when it comes to fighting as the Star-Lord and the rest of the Guardians. Now that I’ve played through the entire game, here’s everything you need to know about how combat works in Guardians of the Galaxy, from getting the most out of the Guardians in combat, and the benefits to focus on.
Whether you’re facing deadly gelatinous cubes or looking to take on the ferocious beasts of Seknarf Nine, you’ll quickly get used to holding the bumper down to activate Guardians mode when your teammates are with you. While Star-Lord is a skilled fighter, even superheroes don’t leave their team behind in the name of a solo victory. Guardian Mode is Star-Lords’ way of directing the other Guardians and, in turn, getting the most out of their skills. Some previous fights can be defeated alone, but neglecting the Guardian mode will only lead to defeat in tougher battles, as Star-Lord is quickly overwhelmed – especially since the Guardians’ remaining vanilla attacks, if left to their own devices, do little damage .
Each guardian has 4 special abilities, each of which works on a cooldown. Depending on the scenario, Star-Lord is accompanied by one or two others, but most of the time all four join him in battle. Therefore, Guardians of the Galaxy requires a balance between attacking yourself and using Guardians Mode to get the most out of your allies’ special abilities. Working as a team is essential, so use Entangle – Groot’s crowd control ability – to immobilize a large group of enemies before unleashing Rocket Raccoon’s Cluster Flark Bomb, which does massive damage to everyone in the area of impact. Then you can finish the job with the iconic Peter Quill blasters and choose the rest.
As you become more adept at fighting and handing out attack orders, you can experiment with combos to become a more efficient killing machine. This will build up your team’s momentum gauge, which is a bit like Devil May Cry’s stylish ranking system. The more combos you string together, the greater the increase. Similarly, realizing your team’s full potential will help build momentum faster. On the other hand, you keep rattling off the same attack over and over and it takes off.
Maximize the momentum and you have a short window of time to launch a call-to-action attack. These special attacks are concerned much Damage, but can only be used on certain, tougher enemies and only for a limited time. So if you need to get the upper hand over a particularly tricky villain, add some variety to your moves and you may be rewarded. They are ranked from Fantastic to Amazing based on your performance, and earn bonus XP that you use to unlock new skills for your Guardians.
Some enemies even have a stagger bar under their health – fill it with certain attacks and special abilities to stun them, and then all attacks – including those they are resistant to – are boosted significantly for a few seconds. If you’re having a hard time staggering an enemy yourself, take advantage of Drax’s muscles. Its basic Destroy ability deals heavy stagger damage. Or if you want to build momentum, combine Drax’s fighting style with Star-Lord’s “Charged Shot” to deal physical and graduation damage at the same time.
As satisfying as it is to annihilate enemies with Star-Lord’s signature elemental weapons, it can be worth getting up close and personal with melee attacks. Smashing a Nova Corp grunt with a solid one-two combo, while risky, will drop more health shots than usual and can only be worth it if your opponent is prone to hand-to-hand combat. Just remember to mix it up too, and the combination of Star-Lords’ sprinting ability to avoid attack before quickly approaching a jet-boosted melee finisher will always bring a smile to your face.
When the odds are against you and the momentum is through the ground, use Star-Lord’s Huddle to give the team a boost. This powerful weapon can turn the tide in battle – sometimes it just takes a few words of encouragement. As with Momentum, you build the huddle bar by working as a team and developing special skills. As soon as it is full, pressing both bumpers a. called Time out, At this point the guards huddle together for an encouraging conversation. But this is where things get interesting: the current mood of the team dictates the actions required. So, if they’re too cocky, get their attention back to the fight. Are you afraid you won’t make it? Build their confidence and motivate them. You will be given clues about your team’s mood before you pick the answer, and while choosing the “wrong” mood isn’t the end of the world – you’re only empowering Star-Lord, not the entire team – it certainly won don’t get you off a hole.
Preparing for upcoming battles is just as important as the battles themselves, and this is where the perk system comes in. These upgrades are exclusive to Star-Lord and can be unlocked either at the workbench in the Milano or at certain locations during the adventure. However, they are not cheap and require two types of craft components. Fortunately, these are scattered around each level, sometimes hidden and sometimes open. There’s even a benefit – Components Localizer – that makes it easier to find these valuable resources.
Other perks include Air Glide – which activates Star-Lord’s jet boats for a limited time so it can fly past enemies with ease – and Perfect Dodge, which temporarily slows down time when dodging an enemy attack at the last second. Even better, there is no limit to the number of perks you can have at the same time, provided you have the resources to unlock them. One perk worth unlocking early is the Tactical Scan. Activated by pressing the right stick, it scans nearby enemies to reveal their weaknesses so you can change your tactics accordingly. For example, some enemies are prone to elemental attacks, and knowing which one to equip makes life a lot easier.
Element Shots are an alternative fire mode to the already deadly duel blasters from Star-Lord. There are four in total, the first unlocked with Ice Shot. It’s perfect for freezing fast moving enemies so you can get up close and crush them with a melee attack. But you can’t freeze all of them, and using Element Shots will degrade your Element display over time. After that, you’ll either have to wait for it to regenerate or pick up ammunition dropped by slain enemies.
Jesse Gomez is a video producer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.