(Review) Tales from the Borderlands

I played through the original Borderlands game a while back and remember having fun with it with three other buds online. That aside, the game didn’t really thrill me as much as it did (basically) everyone else. I’m not sure why the things that bothered me, bothered me as much as they did, but they did. Sometimes you just don’t like something as much as you thought you would. Tales from the Borderlands did not disappoint. If anything, it actually got me to purchase the other Borderlands titles after I finished it… seriously. Why was it so good? Let me break it down for you.

Telltale kept the humor from the Borderland franchise to a T basically. It is rather impressive and very entertaining.

At first Tales from the Borderlands had too much humor for me. It was so goofball stupid in its lunacy that it felt lame. That wore off as my dissatisfaction for the original Borderlands game wore off of me in a “don’t judge a movie by the book” sort of way. The over-the-top antics were hitting just right and the first time I really lost it was all of the “bro”ing happening on top of the ever faithful Loader Bot. (No I won’t explain, just go buy the game.) The friendships forged in this adventure went deeper than I expected and the humor only helped deepen those bonds where, in the end, even girls could “bro”. The victories felt good, and the loses felt horrible as the story carried on to the end.

I haven’t experienced this much friendship in the Tales games before and it was a nice difference. It really helped the story move along and feel more like a sitcom at times rather than a drama.

The best surprise for me in Tales from the Borderlands was the choice system. Unlike the other games that I’ve completed in the franchise, there was never really a point in the story where I felt like the game played over a choice I made. It was super frustrating in the Batman game and I’m glad that didn’t make a return. Also, all of the choices felt like they had a few options that didn’t feel like kicking myself in the nuts. There were tough choices to be sure, but none of them felt like I had to pick getting punched in the face or kicked in the shin. The humor made sure that the game, while life and limb were on the line, never got too serious as the nature of the Borderlands games tend to go. I would say the choices felt more like, “Would you like some pizza or spicy teriyaki?” Well… I like both, but I guess I’ll side with pizza today. The depth to the story was there, but describing it like that makes the game sound shallow and it wasn’t. The point of the choices seemed to be to add more fun to the game instead of imposing a plot twist. I liked it quite a bit.

Yes, QTE’s do make a return as one would expect and since it’s the main mode of combat, it’s the right call. There was a lot more Q spam this go around, but at least I wasn’t surprised by much on which button to press like another game I’m reviewing. The random button call outs mess me up something fierce.

*Author’s Note* I have to admit that the reviews from the Telltale franchise seem to be getting smaller. At this point I don’t really see that trend getting any different. The games are all basically my personal flavor of “visual novel”. It may not be your traditional version of that recipe, but it’s mine now. The main difference tends to only be plot and that’s basically it. I don’t mind, but for those out there reading these and thinking, this game had way more going for it, it feels like I’ve written about those mechanics already and don’t feel like repeating myself… so I’m not going to. I enjoyed the crap out of Tales from the Borderlands; isn’t that enough for you? Go buy it already.

It’s something when a game that you play makes you want to go back to a franchise that you didn’t appreciate and that is exactly what Tales from the Borderlands did for me. Sales have come and gone for the second and third installments, but I passed them by until I finished this game. The adventure was fun and quirky the whole way through. Once I was able to shake off my distaste of the original Borderlands, the fun and adventure was able to wash over me and the whole experience was a good one. This is a great example of an excellent Telltale Games’… game. While I may not get as much anticipation for the Game of Thrones version, my excitement tends to grow for more from Telltale.

Further Reading on Tales from the Borderlands: Facebook / Official Page / Steam / Twitter

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