28/03/2021

๐Ÿ‘’ Tales From the Borderlands | Review | Xbox Series X | 8/10 | "A Feisty-Heisty Tale" ๐Ÿ‘’

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I was quite looking forward to covering Tales From the Borderlands as it was only a few weeks ago that I got hips deep into Borderlands 3 (https://www.gamesfreezer.co.uk/2021/01/borderlands-3-review-x-box-series-x-my.html) and also picked up the soundtrack on vinyl (Sanctuary 3 is an absolute blinder) so the thought of more Borderlands action was very much right up my Strasse.

In terms of my personal history with Telltale Games, whilst I had played – and enjoyed – the original The Walking Dead game, The Wolf Among Us didn’t grab me and, as much as I am a fan of Batman, Batman: The Telltale Series felt a bit odd to me as I was just making the choices that I assumed the character of Batman would make because I’m so familiar with the character. It eventually wore me down and I ended up wishing it was just an animated show that I could casually watch as opposed to have any influence over.

The fun with 2015’s Tales From the Borderlands, however, is that whilst it is set in the established Borderlands world and features familiar characters and places, the main characters are a new creation and so I felt like I could shape their actions and choices in a way that felt more freeing and flexible than in previous Telltale titles.

Switching between the main characters of Helios-based Hyperion office worker Rhys and Pandoran con-woman Fiona, you’ll shape their destinies as the opening episode’s seemingly simple back-alley swap of ten million dollars for a vault key goes awry and leads to…well, whatever you choose, really.

Whilst the light point-and-click elements, QTE’s and dialogue choices will be VERY familiar to anyone who has played a Telltale game before, I really got sucked into the feisty-heisty tale and fell for the endearing characters that I met through the narrative journey. 

Tales From the Borderlands is a rare game that genuinely had me running the emotional gamut from genuinely getting a little choked up to actual laugh out loud moments with all characters being well-voiced and fully rounded.

Tales From the Borderlands is easily the best Telltale game I’ve played because I was completely on board with the visual style, setting and characters. I also feel that the game eases you into the full setting and lore of the Borderlands series, meaning that newcomers won’t feel ostracised should they choose to dive in. Quite frankly, a good story is a good story.

With all that said, the engine really is showing its age with some less than stellar character animation and very light gameplay elements. Whilst the loading screens are almost completely eliminated on this Xbox Series X re-release and the game runs a lot more smoothly in general – there really was quite a difference when I ran an episode on my Xbox One S – this feels like a tweaked revamp as opposed to a vast leap, which is fine as I was here for a great story and that’s what I got.

"Right, I’m off to get a Loader Bot tattoo."

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