If I had to choose one company that has mastered story telling through episodic gaming, it would be without a doubt Telltale Games. Known for its various adventure game series such as The Wolf Among Us, and its licensed properties like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series, Back to the Future: The Game, and Minecraft: Story Mode—Telltale Games have perfected the creation and delivery of episodic gaming content.
With Telltale Games’ latest retail release, Tales from the Borderlands, the collaboration with Gearbox and 2K has resulted in a five part episodic game series contained on one disc that is full of Borderlands‘ trademark humor. There is no need to worry, even if you aren’t familiar with the Borderlands universe. Tales from the Borderlands gives you an enjoyable experience that does not require any prior knowledge to play.
Come ‘Catch-A-Ride’ to the mayhem-filled, unforgiving world of Pandora, and prepare to be lured into danger by a Vault key and all it promises.
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC
Developer: Telltale Games under license from Gearbox Software and 2K
Publisher: Telltale Games
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Genre: Adventure game
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
An entertaining story that will have you laughing and crying
Tales from the Borderlands is about Rhys, a Hyperion company man who hopes to become the next Handsome Jack, and Fiona a Pandoran con artist who is out to score the biggest of all swindles. The unlikely duo are thrown into danger together on the heist of a lifetime to obtain an extremely hard-to-get Vault Key and the masses of riches that lay beyond. Fans of the Borderlands franchise will recognize fan favourite characters from the shooter series such as the Hyperion Loader Bot, Athena, Scooter, and Handsome Jack that make an appearance throughout the game.
The writing team at Telltale Games has struck gold with Tales from the Borderlands, as it is one of the funniest and entertaining adventure games around. The cast of characters in Tales from the Borderlands are exceptionally well written and superbly voice acted by their respective actors. Laura Bailey shines as the would-be Vault Hunter Fiona, and Troy Baker is simply wonderful as Hyperion company man turned mercenary Rhys. Both create an entertaining dynamic love-hate relationship, which goes from helping each other out of sticky situations to making sarcastic remarks at one another.
It’s amazing how Telltale Games manages to incorporate comedy along with tender and somber moments seamlessly into the game. One moment you’ll be laughing, while the next moment the interactions between Rhys and Fiona will bring a tear to your eye. Though Borderlands established characters making an appearance is nice to see, it’s Telltale Games’ unique creations Rhys and Fiona that really shine and rise to the occasion establishing themselves as the game’s two protagonists.
There’s more than one side to a story
Tales from the Borderlands follows the same successful formula as Telltale Games’ previous episodic series games. More so than any previous Telltale Games title, in Tales from the Borderlands it’s important to remember that there are two sides to every story. The decisions you make as both Rhys and Fiona help shape the world around you and push the narrative of Tales from the Borderlands in different directions.
This game is filled with quick time event powered action scenes, and dialogue choices that are some of the best in any Telltale game to date. From the high-octane destruction derby death bowl to the laser fingers gunfight, Tales from the Borderlands makes the best use of quick time events of any game in recent memory.
I also have to commend the team at Telltale Games on the amazing introductory credit sequences that open each episode of Tales from the Borderlands. With fantastically animated on-screen action, I looked forward to the opening introduction for each episode just as much as I did for the content of the episode itself.
Beautiful stylistic graphics
While the focus on Telltale games has always been about storytelling, the team over at Telltale Games has done an amazing job of keeping Tales from the Borderlands stylistically in line with the core entries in the Borderlands series. You’ll fall in love with the vibrant graphics, and you can’t help but notice the character’s realistic facial expressions. All go hand in hand to help convey a wide range of emotions that carry the game’s narrative.
However, there are some hiccups here and there that can’t be ignored. There are random frame-rate drops during the game that you’ll notice. Luckily, these hiccups are minor and in no way take away from the overall experience that Tales from the Borderlands provides. Overall, I believe that Tales from the Borderlands is one of the best-looking games that Telltales Games has produced.
I can honestly say that Tales from the Borderlands is one of the most charming games I’ve played this year. Complete with all of Telltale Games’ signature brand of episodic storytelling, it manages to weave all of the wild and wacky lore of the Borderlands universe that we have come to love into the story. It does this all without every feeling as if it could be too overwhelming for newcomers.
It’s easy to see that Tales from the Borderlands shines as one of Telltale’s most effective work in character development and storytelling to date. Even non-gamers will be drawn to Tales from the Borderlands; with its rich engaging story, fascinating characters, superbly written narrative, and the power it gives you to push the narrative in a new direction—it is a game that is well worth your time.
If you are a fan of Telltale games, then be sure to check out Paul’s review of Minecraft: Story Mode, and Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series. Let me know in the comments section below what you most like about Tales from the Borderlands.
+ Rich and engaging story
+ Ability to push the narrative in a different direction
+ Charismatic and well-acted cast of characters
+ Knowledge of Borderlands lore not needed to play
+Great value for the price
– Occasional frame-rate drops
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5
Overall Rating 4.2/5 (82%)
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