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So, here I am. This will be the 400th game review. I was wondering what I should tackle. I was considering a review of either Splatoon or Tearaway Unfolded, but I think for the 400th review, I wanted to tackle one of my top five favorite games of 2015, Tales from the Borderlands. Let’s dive into one of Telltale Games’ best efforts, and see why it’s so amazing.
The story is set after Borderlands 2, where you play as two separate individuals. The first character you meet is Rhys, voiced by Troy Baker, an employee at Hyperion, and Fiona, voiced by Laura Bailey, a thief and con artist. The two characters that the story follows end up meeting after a con job goes belly-up, and shenanigans ensue. After attempting to get the item back depending on what choices you make, Rhys, Fiona, and their comrades Vaughn, voiced by Chris Hardwick, and Sasha, voiced by Erin Yvette, end up in an undercover base, and find something that could lead them to a Vault Key. Too bad that vault key comes with Rhys having to share his cybernetics with what is considered to be the biggest jerk in the Borderlands universe, Handsome Jack, voiced by Dameon Clarke. The story is just aces. I always loved the universe the franchise was set in, but the game’s stories never were that interesting to me. Borderlands 2 had a better story, but it still had a lot of the same problems as the first game where the universe and characters were more interesting than the main story. This time, the main story is put up-front, and I loved the characters and their interactions between one another. It was like a great heist film, with characters that got in way over their heads. It’s also humorous, and it shows the best that Telltales could offer in terms of narrative in gaming.
If you have been around the gaming scene for the past few years, then you should familiar with how Tales from the Borderlands is designed. It’s an adventure game that leans on story, conversational choices, and a bit of combat from here and there. You play as two separate characters with their own abilities. For example, Rhys can use his cybernetics to do some nifty hacking, and Fiona has a special little pistol that can shoot elemental bullets. The overall journey will take you about 10 or so hours. As if a worthwhile story with likable characters isn’t enough, you of course have the conversation trees that will lead to different results that are actually part of the story. So, if you love the story, but want to see different interactions/results of what you say to each character, then you will get a lot out of this one game.
Graphically, the game looks great. It combines the franchise’s colorful comic book art-style and, well, uses it here. That shouldn’t be a surprise. Sure, some of the quirks of the animation in Telltale Games are in this title like wonky animation and bug-eyed looks at times, but overall, it looks a lot better than the original Telltales The Walking Dead. The music is some of the best that I have ever heard from this generation of games. It has a jazzy alternative rock kind of feel that reminds me of something that would be in something like a Tarantino flick. The voice acting is top-notch, but that shouldn’t be a surprise since you have people like Nolan North, Troy Baker, Phil Lamarr, Patrick Warburton, Chris Hardwick, Dameon Clarke, and Laura Bailey.
Unfortunately, I have a few complaints. Even on the PlayStation 4, I still ran into some slowdown, and some of the animation, like seeing Zero run up a large monster is not the smoothest. However, the biggest problem for me is the ending. They had a great ending all set up, and then out of nowhere, they sort of ruin it. I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t played it, but it was underwhelming for me.
Still, even with those complaints, I love Tales from the Borderlands. I think it’s Telltale Games’ best game so far. If you want to purchase this game right now, you can do one of two things. You can get the season pass, and get the entire series digitally. Or, you can wait for the physical copy to come out for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.
Well, it has been nine years and 400 reviews. I think overall, it’s been a really good trip. Thanks for reading my work, and see you next time!
This game gets a 9 out of 10.