After hearing that Telltale Games have gotten the rights from Borderlands creators Gearbox Software to create a game based on the popular franchise, I was, to say the least a bit skeptical as the series is not really known for its story telling abilities. But rather for its fast paced first person co-op action. Even after watching the trailer I still was not convinced that Telltale Games would be able to pull off, but after playing the first episode and subsequently buying the season pass. I can say with absolute certainty that next to The Walking Dead and Wolf Amongst Us that Tales from the Borderlands is one of my favorite new Telltale franchises. If you have played any of the previous Telltale games the actual gameplay component of Tales from the Borderlands would be really familiar to you.
From the quick time events down to the navigation of the Borderlands world using both Rhys and Fiona. The main difference is that Rhys possesses a cybernetic eye that when used gives extra information regarding your surroundings, and in some cases can be used to progress further in the game. The on-screen prompts and navigation has been changed to fit the overall Borderlands theme, and in this case, it is actually an improvement over previous Telltale Games titles as now the onscreen prompts are far more visible. Overall not much has changed in that regard, but if it is not broke why fix it? There are two things that make Tales from the Borderlands stand out. The first being the overall feel and theme of the Borderlands universe. Telltale gets it right straight off the bat from the big things like the art style, music to the little things that make the Borderlands world such an intriguing place to visit.
The second thing they get absolutely right is the Borderlands humor, so much so that you might be fooled into thinking you are actually playing a Gearbox game and not a Telltale Game. And yes even the poop train and meat bicycle makes an appearance during the course of episode one, if you haven’t played any of the Borderlands games then you would have no clue as to what I am talking about. But if you have it will be sure to put a smile on your face as it is referenced multiple times in some of the funniest scenes in a video game this year. Honorable mention also goes to the voice acting cast of the game, who does a brilliant job at capturing the voices that go with the zaniest cast of characters to ever grace the same video game screen. The story of Tales from the Borderlands gets told from the perspective of the two protagonists: Rhys and Fiona. Rhys is an employee at Hyperion’s administrative division.
Who is trying to climb to the top of the corporate ladder, as the death of Handsome Jack in Borderlands 2 left a massive void in the company structure. But on his way to the top, he gets snubbed by his rival Vasquez and he gets demoted to that of a head janitor in the company. While being demoted by Vasquez he overhears his plans regarding a vault key that was found on Pandora. And that is when he decided to go down to Pandora with his friend Vaughn to get back at Vasquez and take the vault key back and regain the position that has been taken from him by Vasquez. And that is where inevitably things star going south in a very funny way. Down on Pandora, we meet Fiona she is the complete opposite of Rhys. She is looking for that “one last big score” with her sister Sasha and Felix who raised them since they were children. For her down on Pandora it is less about climbing the corporate ladder than it is making enough and surviving long enough to spend your money.
Without spoiling too much sufficed to say her one last big score involves Rhys from Hyperion and the vault key, as the story takes a turn for the worst and hilarity ensues. The story gets told from both Fiona and Rhys perspective as you get a chance to play with both of them during the course of the first episode. The entire story plays off like a Hollywood crime caper, sometimes a bit predictable but always thoroughly enjoyable. There were two or three plot twists I definitely did not see coming left of center field that really surprised me. Overall it is a solid first episode and entry into the Borderlands franchise if you are a fan of the series I can highly recommend it, as the first episode laid a nice solid foundation for the rest of the series. And even if you are not a fan of Borderlands it is still a highly enjoyable Telltale game.