So the first chapter of our time with Rhys and Fiona comes to a close. Altogether it was a well done first season in my opinion, always able to build suspense when was needed and give you a good laugh throughout. The ending (of which I will not spoil) has led us to believe that a season 2 should be on the way and with such a cliffhanger, Telltale will have fans on the edge of their seat ready to see where Rhys and Fiona’s adventure takes them next. So let’s talk about what went right for Telltale and whether or not Tales from the Borderlands successfully followed their winning formula.
We’ll start off with how the game looked. I thought that, although quite simple, the art style was very refreshing and it perfectly portrayed what a Borderlands game should look like. I don’t think there is a lot to say about improvements as Telltale stuck to what Gearbox have started with and they truly ran the gambit with the environments and backdrops available to them. In terms of audio, while this game was nothing special, it definitely was adequate and I was never left feeling disappointed at the scene that was being built.
The characters in this game were pretty great. Rhys, Fiona, Vaughn and Sasha were the main protagonists throughout the game, battling (in a non-traditional fashion) a variety of enemies from vault hunters to CEO’s! Of course, there were cameo performances by characters like Scooter, Athena, Mordecai and Brick, as well as a whole new cast of really interesting new NPC’s that made the world feel so alive. The main thing I got out of this game is more back story for the characters we all know and love. It was incredibly interesting to hear more about what happened after the events of Borderlands 2 and seeing what happens to individuals you would regularly encounter in the main games. I don’t know whether Tales from the Borderlands is 100% true canon, but if it is, there are going to be some disappointed fans going into Borderlands 3 after the loss of certain characters and I’m not sure I like that this was a main feature in an “optional” game in the series.
The story was good, but nothing outstanding. It felt like a classic “pacifist” story where there wasn’t a whole lot of combat from the characters unless you chose it and that every encounter with enemies usually ended in an escape rather than a fight. That being said, a lot of these escape scenes allowed the humour of the Borderlands games to seep in, with each individual making, often sarcastic, comments about the encounter.
The references were also really good and something a true fan of the series would love. Everything from Handsome Jack’s evil schemes, to Helios station, to the smaller things like showing off the Conference Call shotgun in a display case and loot dropping from bosses that were defeated along the way made this game feel hugely like a mini-Borderlands and really helped to make it feel worth it to experience for me as a follower of the franchise.
Overall, the game made a lasting impression on how I look at the Borderlands games and really delivered on Telltale’s legacy of broadening the landscape of the universes they touch. Whether it be Borderlands 3 or Tales from the Borderlands Season 2, I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one and figure out what happens to a few of my favourite “vault hunters” in the series.
Final Verdict – 8.5/10
+Really good story
+More development on the Bordelands universe
+Classic humour from the series
-Story was slightly cliche
-Needs more loot!