We continue to wonder how Telltale deliver such brilliant experiences within such a compact episode, well they’ve pulled it off again. Episode 2 of Tales from the Borderlands is a perfect mix of action-packed quick-time moments, character development and the dry humour and back and forth the Borderlands series is known for. The introduction of the “devil on your shoulder” with Handsome Jack was a brilliant new dynamic added into this episode and really made for some interesting encounters. All of this is topped off with the classic cliffhanger that Telltale are known for.
I want to start off by commending Telltale on their ability to seamlessly interweave the stories of Rhys and Fiona and make the actions you choose with one character deeply affect and change the other characters story. I think what we’re seeing from Telltale is a skyward trajectory in how successful they will continue to be with these games. Having played the also incredibly successful “Walking Dead” episodic adventure by this talented team, they have made significant improvements and changes to how the adventures play out and how you are the deciding factor behind the story in these worlds.
With that being said, let’s take a mostly spoiler-free look at how the second episode improved and expanded on the characters and relationships from the first. Picking up exactly where the last episode left off, we’re back in Atlas’ bunker, but instead of starting off with what peaked everyone’s curiosity, meeting Handsome Jack, we’re tasked as Fiona to figure out just what the heck this place is. Right from the get-go, we are hit with a gruesome revelation after “hacking” a retinal scanner, while Rhys is off talking to his new “frenemy” (their words, not mine!).
This episode is centred around the hilarious and somewhat cringe-worthy hologram/ghost of Handsome Jack that only Rhys can seem to see. It is mentioned somewhere, if you can catch it, that Hyperion may well know about Rhys’ ability to communicate with Jack even after the events of Borderlands 2. There was so many ways Telltale could have gone with this dynamic and they absolutely nailed it! The interactions with other people while Jack was stood right next to Rhys were some of the funniest moments I’ve ever experienced in a video game and had me laughing out loud consistently.
Handsome Jack was a divider between the comical story of Rhys, as he finds himself in even more outrageous situations than the first episode and miraculously finds his way out of them, and Fiona’s more emotional, thought provoking side coming to terms with the whole Felix situation, all the while learning about his true motive. That being said, Fiona’s half of the episode definitely contributed to most of the action scenes, with additional gunfights and enthralling escapes.
Telltale did a fantastic job of bringing back old and existing characters too, seeing the likes of Scooter who plays a significant role in aiding Fiona and Sasha, Athena, who does literally the opposite, trying to capture or kill the duo, as well as some extra additions such as Janey Springs and returns of August and of course, Vasquez.
After leaving a game excited just to get into the next one, Telltale have to be doing something right, but at the end of the day, they are also building on the legacy of the Borderlands series that already has such a loyal player base. This episode may go great lengths in helping 2K to push out copies of the Handsome Collection later this month with the reminder of how great the humour of this game is, as well as a little of the shoot and loot that the Borderlands fans have grown to love. Telltale really are pushing the boundaries in terms of interactive entertainment and have full backing from me, with the improvement since their first games, this company and this game series are one to watch for the future and I for one, cannot wait to experience the madness in the next installment!
Overall Score – 9/10
If you’re a fan of the Borderlands series, you simply must experience this game series!
+ Great Borderlands humour
+ Characters you grow to love, not just placeholders
+ More action than the first episode
+ Fantastic Cliffhanger
– Not enough story progression
– Only 2 hours long, shorter than most episodes from Telltale Games