Tales from the Borderlands
Developer: TellTale Games, Gearbox Studios
Publisher: TellTale Games, 2K Interactive (Take-Two Interactive)
Genre(s): Action, Adventure
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on Playstation, Xbox, PC and Mobile)
Age Rating: PEGI 18
Release Date: 24/03/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Tales from the Borderlands is a classic TellTale Games title set within the world of the titular looter shooter trilogy.
Of course, I knew about this series, and had dabbled for a few minutes in one of the titles when they came to PlayStation Plus some time ago. However, I had never truly played one of them. Yet, I was instantly drawn to this title when it became available. The graphics, the style of the game and its episodic nature spoke to me.
Going into this title with no prior knowledge of the Borderlands series was interesting, but also helped me to review it as the standalone feature that it is. Since completing the game, I understand it was set after the events of Borderlands Two. With many of the non-playable characters coming from the core trilogy.
A Classic TellTale Experience
From the word go you get a good grasp of the sense of humour running through the game. As a full-time office monkey myself, I could relate to so much of the corporate culture bashing that was going on. I could also recognize a lot of the slimy types that seem so prevalent in such situations.
The point and click style of gameplay was easy to navigate, and the gameplay beneath it equally simple to pick up. The different choices you had for each conversational exchange were simple to read, easy to understand and their influence on the situation relatively easy to deduce. However, what seems like the right decision in the moment can sometimes come back to bite you. It certainly did me in the later chapters.
The art style never failed to impress me, and in each chapter, there were moments that I got lost in the world around me. This made me even more appreciative of the periods in the game that allowed open exploration. I wandered around for quite some time just looking and examining everything I could. It definitely made me think about picking up the looter-shooter titles the series was spun from.
Rich Characters Who Grab You from the Start
I was instantly grabbed by the characters in Tales from the Borderlands. The different identities are clear from the outset, and the bonds between them understandable and clear to envision. Even as more characters were added, you could feel the relationships develop and see ahead of time the direction they were going to head in.
I found this really helped with the choices I made during the game. Allowing me to build these relationships the way I saw them in my mind. Solid, unshakeable bonds between brothers (or sisters), and a bickering dog-cat style relationship between others.
I realized all along that my actions would impact the story farther down the road, and while some of my decisions turned out to be less than ideal, most were made with a clear objective in my head.
The more I played Tales from the Borderlands the deeper I found my connection with the characters. The storytelling combined with the impact of your choices to make all of the characters relatable in their own way. Impressive and convincing story arcs existed for all of them, including villains such as August, who, by the end of things, had a very well defined and understandable character. Far different from that given at the start of the game.
Spot on Casting for all Actors Involved
The casting for Tales from the Borderlands was fantastic from the start. From the always fantastic Patrick Warburton as the villainous Vasquez to Troy Baker as the somewhat bumbling main character, Rhys. For those that don’t know, Baker was also the voice of everybody’s favourite stepdad Joel, from the Last of Us series.
The entire main cast, which also included Laura Bailey, Chris Hardwick and Erin Yvette were incredible in their roles. The life they brought to their characters was nothing short of mesmerizing.
Praise should also be given to Raison Varner who voiced the Loader Bot character. Somehow managing to bring an incredible level of humour and wit into his mechanical role.
landline Satirical Game of Life
What I loved most about this game was how it was essentially a satire of corporate life. Yes, you have spaceships and gunfights, mercenaries and freaks, but ultimately, this is a game about climbing the corporate ladder, selling your dignity and humanity as you go.
Rhys wants to do the climbing and through a series of misadventures, learns there is more to life than just corporate domination. He learns about friendship, loyalty and the difference between the right decision and the choice that is best for business.
I think the way the story was grounded in such an understandable reality made everything that more believable, despite the often-insane situations the team found themselves in.
Decisions Made in Game Count for the Final Mission
The branching narrative of the game means you have to make many different decisions when it comes to character exchanges. Many of these will come at pivotal moments in the story and impact the direction of your relationship with that character.
This really comes into play as you head into the final chapter. Assembling your very own team of operatives. Depending on how you treated each character along the way, only certain ones will be willing to join your party. This was a nice touch and does add a modicum of replayability to the title.
That said, I would be unlikely to play through the game again just for the chance to select a different team member.
A Great Game for All
It doesn’t matter if you have played the previous games or if this is your first taste of Pandoran life, Tales from the Borderlands is a great game. The storytelling and pacing will have you hooked through each chapter. There is no need to rush your playthrough. Take time to explore in the areas that allow it. Read and gorge yourself on the lore. It’s worth it in the long run.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can get your copy of Tales from the Borderlands from the Nintendo eShop today.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.