November 22, 2015

Tales From The Borderlands (Review of Game)

"I am become death, destroyer of rebels."

Release Date: November 2014

Developer/Publisher: Telltale

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation Vita, Windows.

Genre: Point-and-Click Adventure

Thoughts & Impressions:

And so, yet again, Telltale Games proves me wrong. I honestly thought this was going to be a middling product and a quick cash-in on the Borderlands franchise. If this was how things were intended to look, then Telltale is the master of illusions.

Tales from the Borderlands stars two characters post-Borderlands 2, Rhys and Fiona, searching for one of the many vaults across the universe, both for their own nefarious purposes.
Episode 1: First one out the gates...and Telltale already hit a home run! Tales from the Borderlands quickly dissuades any doubts you may have by cutting straight to the chase and establishing characters early on.

Filled with a few grin-inducing twists and hilarious moments from zany characters, this first instalment will keep you reined until the end.

Also, for fans of Borderlands 2, watch out for one of the vault hunters in this episode. His appearance is of actual significance and fans of the character will love the time he gets on-screen.

Episode 2: While not exactly thundering out the gates like last time, Episode 2 still managed to maintain the steady forward momentum and provide us with even more hilarious moments. (Watch out for a surprisingly "ripped" character and the awkwardness that ensues.)

A famous Borderlands character is featured significantly in this instalment, his dry wit remaining stellar and hilarious. Dark comedy abound, the "story-within-a-story" framing device continues to work magic for the plot, keeping us gripped on the rather thin tale.

The bond between the characters is somewhat strengthened here, but not as much as one would hope. The episode ends on a rather jarring cliffhanger, with the character arcs left maddeningly underdeveloped.

Still, for what it is, Episode 2 works as a plot-pusher, and I for one am looking forward to whatever Episode 3 brings. Let's just hope that it doesn't take more than a decade. (*COUGH* HALF LIFE 3 *COUGH*) 

Sorry. These temperature changes are not doing wonders for my gesundheit...

Episode 3: One word: Hilarious. The characters develop in beautiful ways in the third instalment, finding themselves in awkward situations and learning to overcome personal fears through increasingly crazy circumstances.

My complaints about Episode Two are made null and void here, with new characters brought into the fold and existing ones going through major developments. The writing shines as your characters make big decisions and live to reap the consequences.

The comedy is especially good in this instalment, with the jokes serving to enrich and develop the characters. The discovery of the "Gortys" brings an extra layer of funny and charming to the series.

All in all, if the previous two episodes didn't sell you on Tales From the Borderlands, then this one will. It's great from start to finish, and you won't regret your time with it.

Episode 4: While still hilarious, Episode 4 hits a rather noticeable roadbump. The story is much slower than the previous instalment, the characters don't go through nearly as much changes, and the cliffhanger...

Okay, the cliffhanger is actually pretty good, I'll have to admit.

Episode 4 also takes on the hefty task of killing off a certain character, and does so in a manner that tugs at your heartstrings...but doesn't quite get a firm grasp. The lack of foreshadowing leading up to the death makes it difficult to care about the moment, no matter how well written it might be.

This may be because the character is not actually dead and might show up again in the last episode, but if this is the end of the road...then it could've been done better.

Now, complaints aside, I have to admit that Episode 4 was still good for all intents and purposes. I enjoyed every single moment of the storyline, the jokes were still hilarious, and the characters always interesting, even if they didn't go through much development this time around.

Let's hope that Episode 5 gives us the explosive conclusion we've all been waiting for. 

Episode 5: My hopes were well-placed. Ending the series with style and intelligence, as well as a good dose of humour, Tales from the Borderlands comes to a brilliant close, even if the very end may be a ill-advised cliffhanger. (Yes, I assume we're getting a sequel.)

While not as emotional as Episode 4, Episode 5 still packs a punch in certain scenes, even allowing the player to kill off a series staple if they so desire. The "packing" of the metaphorical "punch" is even more literal later in the episode, with an extended fight scene containing much parodying of action movies and kung-fu films.

As I said, the episode ends on a cliffhanger, but that doesn't detract from the emotional closure given at the end of the series. The chemistry between the characters is brought to a satisfying (if slightly sappy) ending.

It may not have been a masterpiece, but Tales from the Borderlands sure was a fun ride from beginning to end. Oh, and the reveal about the mysterious character will make you smile. Seriously.

Go play the game, mon! You won't regret it, my mon!  

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