Content Warning: This article contains story spoilers for Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy video game.
The cosmic side of the Marvel universe is vast, and with the release of Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy, Square Enix has given gamers only a glimpse of it. Throughout the campaign, not only do the Guardians themselves evolve as characters, but they meet many other characters along the way.
From intergalactic mercenaries to a psychic dog from Russia; there are so many characters in the game, with some being better than others. And to note, this is ranking actual characters with significant roles, so alien monsters and cameos will not be counted.
Updated on November 28th, 2022 by Melody MacReady:
The Guardians Of The Galaxy have returned to the spotlight yet against thanks to James Gunn’s special on Disney+ titled The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special. It’s also been one year since the release of Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy, the surprise hit from Square Enix and Marvel Games.
Now is a good time to look back at Square Enix’s take on the cosmic side of the Marvel universe and reflect on all the many characters that they brought to life. From members of the Guardians to the villains to even side characters, Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy excelled with its characters, even the least memorable ones.
17/17 Captain Glory
After swindling Lady Hellbender, she sends multiple villains to take down the Guardians Of The Galaxy. One of these is a mercenary who calls himself Captain Glory, which results in a boss fight reminiscent of a battle from one of the Star Fox games. Even the way he taunts the Guardians through comms is similar to Star Fox.
Unfortunately, this is the one and only time Glory appears except for a file on him found at Nova Corps headquarters. He’s a cocky and arrogant villain who views himself as the galaxy’s greatest warrior, but all that occurs is that the Guardians fight his ship with the Milano and kill him rather quickly.
16/17 The Blood Brothers
Another threat sent by Lady Hellbender, the Blood Brothers are twin extraterrestrial warriors who ambush Star-Lord on Knowhere. They are gifted with indestructible nanotech armor that remains equipped as long as they are close together.
Though they provide a more unique boss fight, have a fun dynamic, and are designed well, their role in the story is rather short. After one boss fight, the Blood Brothers never return again in the story, which is a little disappointing considering their history with Thanos.
15/17 Grand Unifier Raker
One of the hardest enemies to fight in Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy; Grand Unifier Raker is a religious zealot who descended into ferality after the death of his son. Now he seeks to use the Soul Stone and the entity known as Magus to reshape the galaxy, thinking it will bring people back from the dead.
Raker’s plight is tragic, and he proves to be an effectively powerful villain. However, Raker’s cruel and downright evil actions throughout the game ruin the attempt to make him sympathetic. Still, in the end, he is a strong villain that makes the player excited to bring him down.
Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy has a lot of villains, and Magus is the secondary villain of the story, a dark entity created from Adam Warlock which was stored inside the Soul Stone until Star-Lord accidentally released it. Where Magus shines is in his twisted attempts to corrupt people including the Guardians through false promises.
Despite a visually stunning design, the boss fight against Magus is nothing that special. Defeat waves of enemies seen prior in his realm and complete a few quick-time events. Also, Magus speaks completely in rhyme, which the Guardians do make fun of, but it still gets annoying.
13/17 Kammy The Space Llama
At first, Kammy comes off as a comedic relief sidekick that joins the Guardians on their journey to save the galaxy. For the most part, she remains that companion who gets in everybody’s way, but the player loves her nonetheless since she’s too adorable to be frustrated with.
She ends up being more helpful than Star-Lord thought she would be, especially during Chapter 10 when Drax is affected by Magus’ corruption. By the end, Kammy ends up being just as valuable of a member as Groot or Rocket.
12/17 Centurion Ko-Rel
Peter Quill gets around the galaxy and often makes an enemy out of a past lover. One of these ex-lovers is Centurion Ko-Rel of the Nova Corps and at first, she comes off as the typical estranged lover who will rekindle her love for Peter throughout the campaign.
That is actually not the case: she does not end up hating Star-Lord, but her role becomes something drastically different once the Church Of Universal Truth and the Soul Stone get involved. She ends up being an important piece of the story in more ways than one for both Star-Lord and her daughter.
11/17 Meredith Quill
Much like in the films, Peter Quill’s mother is an important part of his origin story. In this version, Meredith Quill is healthy and is trying her best to raise the son of an intergalactic king on Earth. She’s warm-hearted, has a bright smile, loves her Rock music that plays throughout the game, and very much loves Peter.
The flashback sequences with Meredith Quill can brighten anyone’s day. She’s even the one that gives Peter his signature Element Guns. That is, until the final scene where Peter watches Chitauri soldiers murder her while he is taken as a prisoner.
10/17 Lady Hellbender
Lady Hellbender is a more recently introduced character in Marvel comics, which helps give Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy more variety in its cast. She is a mighty warrior who provides a home for monsters on her planet of Seknarf Nine.
From the moment she appears, Lady Hellbender proves to be a powerful foe but a warrior of honor. At first, she’s a villain, but she does not wish to see the Galaxy be destroyed by the Church Of Universal Truth. In the climax, she proves to be one of the Guardians’ most helpful allies.
Who doesn’t want a telepathic dog as a companion? Cosmo is an old friend of Peter Quill’s who manages the station known as Knowhere, keeping both civilians and criminals in check so that the floating celestial head isn’t filled to the brim with chaos and anarchy.
Not only is he a strong leader and powerful psychic capable of bringing down all the Guardians and the Blood Brothers with ease, but he is also a noble and caring friend who ends up being a big help to the Guardians. And the best bonus is his litter of puppies which makes every encounter better.
Of all the Guardians, Groot gets the least amount of character development, since the whole game is from Star-Lord’s perspective and Rocket is the only one that can understand the tree monster. That being said, Groot is still the lovable oaf that he’s always been in both the comics and films.
He comes off as an adorable goof, but Groot is actually a lot smarter than he appears to be, as he’s ancient Flora Colossi and the last of his kind. Throughout Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy, he remains selfless and keeps a level head even during the most tension-filled moments for the team.
Due to his harsh past, Rocket has a bit of an attitude that ends up creating a lot of tension with Star-Lord. Like in the films, there are plenty of moments that fans will love Rocket, but also just as many where players will want to blast the raccoon with Star-Lord’s Element Guns out of frustration.
However, as the story progresses, Rocket evolves as a character and becomes more and more of a team player who genuinely cares for the Guardians despite their disagreements; Rocket actually goes through quite the character arc when it comes to dealing with his fears. Of course, he also has a ridiculous amount of weapons and technology that’s enough to blow a hole in a planet.
Sadly, Mantis is never a part of the team allowing for squad commands, but she does become an important character in the story. On the surface, she is depicted as a cute but ditzy therapeutic friend of Gamora’s, but she’s actually an oracle who has seen and memorized many possible futures.
As a result, she’s not always 100% in the present, thus giving her an adorable and unique view on things. She’s not much of a fighter, but she does wield ovipositor-like weapons, and her psychic abilities allow her to take out people as powerful as Drax.
Since Dave Bautista’s portrayal of Drax is so beloved and iconic, it could have been so easy to simply imitate that take on the character. Instead, Drax in Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy uses the film version as a base but still puts a unique stamp on the character in both writing and performance.
Not only does he feature some of the best outfits in Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy, but he has a story arc that might even get some gamers to shed a tear or two. He still has the too-literal mentality and gets in over his head, but he remains a loyal warrior and one of the best members of the team that even has a tear-jerking moment in the story.
4/17 Adam Warlock
This iconic Marvel character ends up being essential to stopping Grand Unifier Raker. Adam Warlock was a healer until Raker used his powers for his own selfish needs and unleashed Magus. Now the messiah figure has to work with the Guardians to stop his darker half and the evil Unifier.
Warlock is very formal and speaks in an almost Shakespearian way while alliterating every sentence, a drastic contrast from the Guardians. At first, he comes off as arrogant and obnoxious, but he grows to become a trusted member of the Guardians and an ally.
3/17 Nicholette Gold
Ko-Rel’s daughter is first presented as a genius but underappreciated cadet of the Nova Corps. However, things take a dark turn when it is revealed that she was corrupted by the Magus to be the Matriarch of the Church Of Universal Truth. As a result, Nicholette (or Nikki) goes through an emotional journey. The Magus caused the death of Ko-Rel and as a result, uses her grief to corrupt her.
Nikki is stuck in a fantasy where she can bring her mother back from the dead, and it’s up to Star-Lord to break that fantasy, no matter how great it may seem. It’s easy to feel sorry for Nikki, as she is more of a victim than she is an antagonist. But her ending when she breaks free and is given Captain Marvel-esque powers from the Soul Stone is great to see.
Gamora is much different than her film counterpart. One of the more commendable changes is that Gamora is not a forced love interest just because she’s the only female member of the team. Instead, she’s depicted as a fellow member of the team, nothing else.
However, she is scarred emotionally from being the Deadliest Woman In The Universe. She’s trying to make up for some of the dark things she was forced to do while also trying to make a new family with the Guardians. Gamora has one of the other more tear-jerking scenes where trauma from her past makes her snap while fighting the Church, with Kimberly Sue-Murray giving a stellar performance.
Since Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy does take place completely from Peter Quill’s perspective and the choices that players make as Peter affect the entire game, it’s difficult to put Star-Lord anywhere else. Star-Lord is also the only playable character and so the player will have more connection to him than anyone.
Star-Lord goes through his own personal arc as he evolves from a swindling rogue to a true cosmic superhero, a leader, and a father figure for his new family. Jon McLaren never tries to imitate Chris Pratt, and it ends up being for the better, as he makes his Star-Lord unique in every way while making him a funny yet emotionally complex hero.