After Telltale Games’s disappointing Game of Thrones release last week, I downloaded the first episode of Tales from the Borderlands with my expectations kept low. Borderlands is one of the most exciting video game franchises created last generation, and as a fan of the series, I was excited to hear that Telltale Games would be handling this four-episode spin-off story arc that takes place after the events of Borderlands 2.
But after their most recent release, my excitement was tempered with hesitation.
I booted up Tales from the Borderlands unsure of what I’d find. The opening scene took place, and then it all happened in a flash; guns, bandits, explosions, skags, guns, robots, Mad Max-esque vehicles, guns, murder, deceit, guns, and some crazy alien hillbilly named Shade that I kept finding reasons to slap in the face. Then the game ended and I realized that not only is Tales from the Borderlands a fantastic addition to the Borderlands franchise, but it may be Telltale Games’ best adventure yet.
There is so much to love about Tales from the Borderlands that it’s hard to pick a starting point.
Players unfamiliar with the Borderlands franchise will not feel left out when playing the game. Things are pretty self explanatory; vault hunters are treasure hunters who are looking for the vast stores of treasure rumored to be hidden somewhere on the planet of Pandora (imagine Mos Eisley from Star Wars, but spread across an entire planet); and Hyperion is the mega-rich cooperation that is seeking out that hidden treasure by any means necessary. There, now you’re all ready for adventure.
Of course, fans of Borderlands and Borderlands 2 will get more mileage out of the game and be able to appreciate the small references to things experienced in the previous games, but these are minute nods rather than gaping plot holes for the inexperienced.
Telltale Games didn’t miss a beat with Tales from the Borderlands; the game retains the same ridiculous hilarity that make the core games so memorable. To add to that, Telltale even broadened the interactive scenes to allow players to utilize some of the awesome technology that can be found throughout the Borderlands universe. For example, I could utilize the protagonist’s cybernetic eye to scan various props that I could then interact with, or I could use my communication unit to order in a robot outfitted with the weaponry of my choice.
I won’t go into too much detail about the story, or how things play out, but I’d recommend tackling this episode in one sitting as the story tends to weave in and out of the perspective of the two protagonists.
Telltale is known for creating some super intense moments in their games, but apart from one brief scene, Tales from the Borderlands felt pretty lighthearted. The choices I made didn’t feel like they had much weight to them, which is quite a departure from how I felt playing The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, where I was worried one wrong sentence would send a character to their doom.
My feelings were realized when I checked out the post-episode stats and saw stats like 85.5% and 91.9% of the other players chose the same thing I did. Typically the decisions are split relatively evenly, showing that the plot twists were very difficult decisions to make. But in Tales from the Borderlands, the decisions all felt like no-brainers.
Tales from the Borderlands is everything fans could possibly want out from a Telltale game set in the Borderlands universe. There were more than a few moments where I laughed out loud (something I rarely do when gaming), and even one point where I had to pause the game because I had to just take in the awesomeness of what I just witnessed.
And yes, it involved a healthy dose of dubstep.