Just when I think Telltale Games couldn’t tug at my emotions anymore than it did with Walking Dead Season One, I’m again holding my breath and wiping tears from my eyes. Tales From The Borderlands not only tugged at my heart strings, but it also kicked me in my funny bone more than a few times, having me laugh out loud and thoroughly enjoying this series like a favorite TV show. Tales From The Borderlands is good, really damn good. Not only is it funny, but it has such a balance between comedy and action that has me feeling once again that Telltale Games is the king of story telling and it will be impossible for me to discuss Game of The Year without adding Tales From The Borderlands into the conversation.
Story & Characters
As I mentioned, Tales From The Borderlands is both funny and action packed and the balance between the two was done extremely well by Telltale Games. I especially loved the introductions to each episode as it presented the game in artistic fashion with great music and memorable scenes. Tales From The Borderlands is a fantastic memorable story about two stories coming together; very seamlessly I might add. Telltale Games did a great job having these two stories come together as you, the player jump between the two main characters.
First is the story of Rhys whom was done dirty by his employer, the Hyperion Corporation. He seeks revenge by attempting to humiliate Vazquez, his pain in the butt boss that is after a vault key. Vault keys open up vaults which are extremely rare and worth a fortune. While trying to get to the vault key first, Rhys and friend Vaughn come in contact with Fiona and her sister Sasha, whom specialize as a con artists and are selling a fake vault key. Once the secret is out that the precious vault key everyone was after is indeed fake, that’s where the story of Rhys, Fiona, and friends begins as they team up to recover from their mistakes and seek a true vault key in the process. Along the way, they come across dangerous and compromising situations and that is where you come in as the player, to help decide how these situations play out.
Tales From The Borderlands has very likable characters and the dynamics between them are what I enjoyed the most about this game. Rhys is a funny guy in an awkward kind of way, and has little to no experience with adventure and danger. Fiona on the other hand is the more cool, calm, and collected one who was born for it. As these two team up with the help of their friends and robot companions, the dynamics between all of the characters blend very well and make for some humorous conversations. By the end of episode one, I was already attached to the main characters and laughing at their interactions. I especially loved how robots in the story, Loader Bot and Gortys, had me laughing at their adorable dialogue as well. They weren’t just robots, they were true characters that showed emotions and I really loved that about them. As with any Telltale episodic game, the story is always a highlight in determining how good the game is and I must say that Tales From The Borderlands may be my favorite story and have my favorite characters of all the Telltale series’. This is coming from a huge Walking Dead Season One and Clementine fan girl so believe me when I say that this story and these characters are very worthy of your time.
Tales From The Borderlands is a point and click graphic adventure. Much like other Telltale games such as The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, you point and click whom you want to talk to and how you want to go about certain situations. You also pick between choices in dialogue and actions, such as choosing which attack to use on an enemy. Fiona, one of the lead characters eventually is able to pick which style of attack she would like to take and that is where you come in. As for Rhys, you do choose his way of attacks as well as control his hacking into computers, something he is great at. As you play both characters, you will be able to make decisions on how they form or break their relationships with the other characters as well as choosing how the group makes their plans together as a whole.
I took the loyal-friend approach with my characters, choosing to save those in need of it and never sacrificing any of them unless it was absolutely necessary for the greater good. I was happy with my decisions even though it did lead me to sympathize and feel emotions towards these characters. I genuinely felt sad when some misfortune happened to any of them because of the friendships and bonds I had created between them.
Unlike The Walking Dead, where conversations are a must during down times, Tales From The Borderlands gives you the option to have a conversation or just move on completely onto the next scene. I really appreciated this, given the speed of the game’s action and comedy. It kept the game at a strong pace. There were no tedious “missions” such as running through an answer machine or finding wood for a fire. All of the actions I was forced to do were relevant and never felt like a waste of time. The fact that it kept the story moving and didn’t cease for a side “must-do,” had me thinking that Telltale Games have really hit their stride with pacing and have become better than ever at it. The gameplay in this game has definitely took Telltale Games in a speedy direction and I love it.
If you have played a Telltale series before such as The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, you’ll remember the art style used there and a lot of that style transfers to Tales From The Borderlands; only it is done much better. At times, those previous games looked a little rough around the edges and I felt like the outlines of the characters were “off” at times. The backgrounds also aren’t very detailed, especially in Game of Thrones where the backgrounds look “painted on” and blurry. However, with Tales From The Borderlands, the backgrounds, characters, and settings are all highly detailed. The colors are vibrant and the game over all is very pretty to look at. This game truly feels like a step up and looks next (this) generation. Not only is it nice to look at but it also performs well. I didn’t see any hesitations in the visuals, or anything that looked and played bad to make a mental note of.
As for the sound, I absolutely loved the music used in the Tales From The Borderlands, especially in the introductions of each episode. Some songs I recognized and they instantly put me in a good mood. I felt song choice was done really well and for that alone, I give the music used a big thumbs up. Sound effects are on point as well, even when fading in and out of scenes. Sound effects didn’t linger too long or sound buggy.
Quickly into the first episode of Tales From The Borderlands, I knew this was going to be something special. Considering I was never a fan of the Borderlands games, I went into this game without any knowledge of the games characters or story. So, whether Tales From The Borderlands is true to Borderlands is something I cannot answer for you. What I can tell you is that I enjoyed the heck out of this game and with confidence can say that it is my favorite of the Telltale series’ and that says a lot, trust me. I have waved the flag for Telltale Games in the past, loving each one I have played and without a doubt, Tales From The Borderlands takes the cake as my favorite one. It’s got style, charisma, like able characters, comedy, and action all bottled up into one lovable story and the hardest part about this review was finding something I didn’t like.