Over the past few years, TellTale has tried its hand at making video games that are almost entirely driven by the decisions that the player make, such as The Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us, and they recently released their third dialogue focused episodic adventure, Tales From The Borderlands. Tales is a fantastic game based in the universe of the Borderlands series, a sci-fi shooter by Gearbox. By exploring the world of this quirky, sometimes comedic series and recreating it as a dialogue-heavy adventure game, TellTale has created a story that can be loved by TellTale fans as well as Borderlands fans.
Drawing away from the normal attitude of a Borderlands game that includes emptying endless clips and a shoot first, ask questions later attitude, Tales strips away the firepower and forces players to use their wit to solve situations. Having to talk my way out of tense situations, trying to gain the trust of strangers in order to make the deal of a lifetime, the whole experience was so different than the other Borderlands games.
The first episode of Tales From The Borderlands is a quirky and exciting addition to the already extensive universe, and shares the same qualities of the rest of the series. The most interesting part of any Borderlands game is the character stories. While playing through Borderlands 2, you find yourself wanting to know more about each character with each new piece of story, Handsome Jack and Angel, Moxxi and her husbands, they make the games interesting. Tales is no different in this respect, making players feel invested in its two main characters.
Although I wasn’t much of a fan of Borderlands, I could still enjoy the game for what it was, and that is part of what makes the game great. Throughout the 2 and a half hours of gameplay, Rhys and Fiona became two of the most interesting main characters in any of TellTales games so far.
I really liked the way that Rhys’s story progressed in my playthrough.When he is first introduced, Rhys is a Hyperion goon who will do anything to get his promotion and wanted to be just like Handsome Jack. But as the game progresses, I got to choose how Rhys would react to situations and ultimately control what kind of person he turned out to be. Having the ability to alter your character in such a way that it can cross the lines between good and evil is attempted by many games, but none do it as well as the TellTales games, and Tales is proof of that. The best way to describe Rhys’s character would be ‘The lovable Asshole who tries to do good and always messes up’. No matter what plan he comes up with, it never seems to work out.
For example: He was trying to make a deal to get the vault key before Vasquez? Whoops, looks like ZerO has other plans…
When Fiona first joins the adventure, she is a scam artist living on Pandora doing anything necessary to survive, even if it means pick pocketing a dead body. As the game continues we learn her backstory and how she has been on this path from a young age. As Fiona, I got to explore her home town and meet the remaining characters from our adventure. Having come up with a ‘chance of a lifetime’ scam to fool a Hyperion goon into buying their fake vault key for a formidable fee. That goon eventually turns out to be Rhyse and so their journeys intertwine.
So, my favourite character so far in the episode. I’m pretty sure that others will agree when I say that the loaderbot is amazing. With its quirky personality and its constant references to pop culture, what’s not to love? This Bot is Loaded with puns and comic relief.
Although the story is great, the game itself does have some technical flaws that cause it to rank lower than the other TellTale games in my oppinion.
The first problem was the cursor. When in game, the cursor is both tiny and transparent, making it very difficult to locate when trying to make a decision quickly. Another problem with the cursor is that after having to press a key (to dodge, move around etc.), the cursor would disappear until another key was pressed. This threw me off when I first started playing, especially after having to button mash Q and E for a few seconds.
The combat in the game was a bit buggy, more specifically the dodging mechanics as I had to press the arrow keys 3-5 times before the character I was controling even acknowledged the command to move in that direction. As you could guess, this caused my character to die multiple times, especially in the drag race section of the game where you had to press a key in what seemed like half a second or else your chracter dies and you have to restart that section. This, was an annoying issue and completely ruined the pace of the game for me.
Also, the game did encounter framerate drops sometimes, and looping dialogue. But this was a rare occurance and didn’t have much of a negative affect on the gameplay overall.
Overall, the game is brilliant, and I can deffinitly say that in my oppinion, the fusion of TellTales story telling and Borderlands lore and artstyle is a perfect match and I can’t wait to see what the next episodes bring.