(Minor spoilers below!)
Telltale Games have brought us yet another brilliant episodic adventure, and this time we venture back to Pandora, after the events of Borderlands 2, and we’re thrown into a world where Handsome Jack is dead, and people are thriving to take his place. With episode 1 based on the emergence of a Vault Key and the issues it causes. Two unlikely people with a hate for each other come to make a truce while chasing down money that could change their lives. Over the course of 5 episodes we’ll learn what really happened from a recollection with the Hyperion employee Rhys and the con artist Fiona. I can only hope that they make this game as addictive as its predecessors (The Wolf Among Us, The Walking Dead), with the same cartoon art style graphics that came from borderlands and the unmistakable humour, while mixing the narrative story that telltale are well known for. This should prove to be a great series!
The characters themselves almost immediately find a way into your heart, as you quickly bond with them. The voice acting is fantastic and the actors themselves (Troy Baker, Chris Hardwick, Laura Bailey) seemed to fit the role of their characters very well with such great emotion depicted on screen. I greatly enjoyed how half of the first episode mainly focused on learning and getting to know the characters back-story and how they’ve ended up meeting and on Pandora. It’s also very interesting to see how each character gets to act; Rhys with his cocky, business attitude, and Fiona whose interest for only herself and her sister while making quick cash.
Something that was so unique to this game was the constant swapping between Rhys’ and Fiona’s story. The tale itself appears to be one long recollection story, showing how it was perceived by both main characters, allowing the player to see how Rhys’ choices affect Fiona and vice versa.
Naturally from a Borderlands game you expect the decisions to be a lot more quirky and turn out either very well or very wrong, and TotB doesn’t disappoint! With some new features from Rhys (thanks to his robotic eye and arm) that have an impact on how everything plays out, while also allowing you to learn more about your environment with a ‘scan’ feature. This really widens the gameplay, especially when you get to have modified choices such as when you get to choose how to build your own ‘loader bot’ in a certain scene within episode 1, that impacts how it goes about killing many, MANY psycho’s.
The game leaps into action and within seconds it’s full of betrayal, violence, and revenge, all because you don’t get a promotion, and therefore decide to steal your bosses deal. Like ‘The Wolf Among Us’, TotB throws the player into combat and mechanics of their game style, allowing you to adapt very quickly to the style of the game while also realising that your word will have a huge impact on how the story plays out.
This episode has once again left me complaining that I have to wait another month or 2, just to experience the next episode. Although this is definitely a good thing. If a game like this can leave you craving more then it’s definitely doing its job. It was great to see the improved animation within the game as well. It feels as though with every single game, Telltale strives to make the controls feel smoother and the movement of characters and graphic cut-scenes even better, while keeping a consistency in the episode length (2 – 2.5 hours) and constant appeal / intrigue!
Borderlands fans might feel as though this game is entitled to them and therefore it should have been styled as a co-op due to the duo characters and how the narrative within the game works. But TotB is so well designed and detailed game, that even though its information and background comes from the borderlands world, it’s too complex to just be seen as a mesh of two game creators and instead they’ve brought out a solid mix of both game types that’s full of humour and replayability.
Tales of the Borderlands has combined an amazing game and some amazing narrative game-play. Episode 1 has already provided a ton of laughs, lots of amusing deaths and character attachment, with some even better animation than before, with a fast-paced storyline shown from two different perspectives. You will enjoy every moment!
If you only want to try out the first episode to test how you feel for the game it’s available for only £3.99.