Good stories can be hard to come by, so it is a more than welcome addition when the well known and loved universe of Pandora from Borderlands gets a unique story driven offshoot. Telltale Games takes this dangerous and ragged world and brings to it unlikely characters and story. Though heavily based on decisions and passive actions there is still plenty of mayhem and death.
Tales from the Borderlands is an episodic point-and-click graphic adventure comedy. You are given the idea that your actions impact the later story. This type of game is somewhat intriguing but I did soon get the feeling the consequence aspect may not be necessarily as elaborate as perhaps I had expected.
Apart from the typical point, clicking and basic exploration, Tales from the Borderlands features various fast paced action sequences that really put the pressure on to possibly make or break a given scenario.While the main focus is exploration and the ever stressful conversation decisions, the sporadic action sequences break what can be a monotonous experience. The action sections usually consist of quick-time-events and occasionally the actual aiming and shooting at enemies. So despite being a more interactive dialogue type game, there is still that over-the-top insane pandemonium that the Borderlands series is known for.
There are two main protagonists, Rhys and Fiona. You go back and forth playing between the two and slowly discover the two sides of this particular story. Rhys, an employee of Hyperion, is just trying to work his way up the corporate ladder, which in order to do, he needs to “acquire” an elusive and highly sought after Vault Key. To his dismay, one dubious decision leads to the next and Rhys soon finds himself caught up in more than he bargained for. As a result,you are drawn into a whole lot of bizarre and entertaining encounters.
Fiona soon jumps in with her side of events on Pandora. This con-artist and her partner in crime sister Sasha, just looking to make that final score, also find themselves in deep trouble as things go from bad to worse and the very unlikely partnership that ensues between these characters is one that is chaotically fun and gregarious.
As the story plays out several other important characters are introduced who are mostly well fleshed out. Some characters however are just more lovable than others, notably the adorable Loader Bot,that you pretty much can’t help but have an instant connection with.
The game makes many references to the original games and even throws in a few cameos of well-knownBorderlands characters. The most notable of these, the infamous Handsome Jack, who plays a pivotal role in this game.
The one thing that I was a bit disappointed in is the level of impact decisions had. While throughout the game there is decent array of decisions to make, the impactis generally on a minor scale and in some instances it has almost no impact.There were a couple instances where I made a choice, it played out, and then the game snapped back to “what actually happened” i.e. the other possible decision. This kind of thing made the decision process a bit superfluous. While the extra scene may have been quite comical, knowing it wasn’t a real option, made me feel I might as well not have made the decision.It wasn’t less pleasant but I would have like to see these‘consequential’ actions have a slighter bigger impact.
The art style in Borderlands has always been a fantastic one, taking the comic book cell shading approach. Telltale Games have successfully upheld the art style and translated all characters and environments well. The music is also masterfully implemented to provide those intense feelings and moments. The voice acting was a nice finishing touch as I never once felt taken out of a scene by a lack of emotion or conviction in any conversation.
One small technical issue I came across was poor gamepad support on the PC. For reasons unknown, it simply didn’t work. After adjusting some obscure setting, it finally become functional but not perfectly as it continued to glitch out here and there.
Tales from the Borderlands is definitely amusing and certainly captures the humor and general fun tone the Borderlandsseries is known for. The story itself takes many twists and turns, though some predictable, overall it was a story that contained a bit of everything and the characters carried it well. The game adequately incorporates a decent arrayof aspects to offer an enjoyable and interesting point-and-click adventure game.
Being a fan of the Borderlands series it was certainly nice to revisit a familiar world from a very different perspective. Those who may have never picked up aBorderlands game need not worry asTales from the Borderlands does carry its own quite well. There, however, will be some references and instances that may be lost on you and some things could be spoiled but it is a well put together series so it is not really too much of an issue. Any fan of the genre should give it a serious go and for the Borderlands fans out there, well its Pandora like you have never experienced it before.
Released: November 2015
Platforms:PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Gaming
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: 2K Games