Certainly one of my greatest gripes with the mainline Borderlands sequence is its humor. I’ve had some good laughs whereas enjoying, however Borderlands’ jokes land extra like a shotgun blast the place some hit and others don’t. That’s okay in bursts, however shotgun blast after shotgun blast can get exhausting. Telltale Video games’ tackle this universe, Tales From The Borderlands, remedied this by offering a extra nuanced and refined tackle the humor coursing by means of the franchise’s veins. It grew to become certainly one of my favourite Borderlands video games, with an awesome story and memorable characters.
I’m completely satisfied to report Gearbox’s tackle that formulation in New Tales From The Borderlands retains that very same humorousness with a vastly improved visible type extra in keeping with the sequence’ latter entries. It additionally contains a forged simply as memorable – I already need extra of them. Sadly, although, the whole bundle is let down by a lackluster overarching narrative missing cohesion, and I’m left wishing Gearbox gave these characters a greater story to exist inside.
New Tales From The Borderlands options a couple of acquainted faces and names with Tales From The Borderlands’ Rhys, now CEO of gun-manufacturer Atlas, and different mega-corporations like Maliwan and Tediore. A lot of the sport takes place on Promethea, which Borderlands 3 gamers ought to acknowledge.
Altruistic however internally egocentric scientist Anu groups up together with her adopted street-smart brother Octavio, his assassination bot LOU13, and Fran’s Frogurt proprietor Fran. Collectively, they intention to guard Promethea from a Tediore invasion, safe a hidden vault treasure and, finally, try to create and alter the world with an anti-gun system. The story units this up fairly properly within the first episode of this five-part story, and I used to be excited to see the place it went. However only a few hours later, I used to be left confused.
With out spoiling something, the story bounces between seemingly random subplots that really feel unimportant to the first battle. At one level, I’m determined to dodge a Tediore invasion. Then, an hour later, I’m on a Shark Tank-like sport present making an attempt to pitch Anu’s system to traders. After which, my main concern is seemingly to open a enterprise amidst the rubble of the Tediore invasion that’s nonetheless ongoing. I needed extra of the save-the-world narrative the primary episode arrange, however the facet beats and steps alongside the way in which are distracting and loosely hooked up greater than the rest.
The story does wrap itself up properly, with a candy second of a bow on prime, and by the point the credit rolled, I used to be completely satisfied to have skilled what this squad of characters went by means of. I simply want the whole sport featured the cohesion I felt within the first and last episodes.
Story apart, New Tales From The Borderlands options 4 of my new favourite characters on this universe. Anu is humorous and quirky in a basic scientist-getting-in-the-way-of-herself method, and a few late-game revelations add extra depth to her character that I respect. Octavio performs it cool, and I had enjoyable shaping the form of “cool” he’s with my decisions. Fran is a sexually-confident middle-aged girl who’s put apart subtlety in favor of outright telling folks, “we must always bone.” She feels probably the most like a basic Borderlands character – with a handful of fart jokes, too (admittedly, certainly one of these made me chortle so much).
LOU13 was my favourite, although. His deadpan humor and his journey to interrupt free from the parameters of his assassination programming saved me smiling the whole method by means of. Every character shined in their very own methods when remoted, however collectively, my favourite conversations in the entire sport befell, letting every riff on the others in distinctive methods.
In fact, the success of those moments got here all the way down to Gearbox’s wonderful character writing and the alternatives the sport introduced me with at each trivial and pivotal moments within the narrative. I may set Fran up with an enormous energy play of a comment when arrested by Tediore troops, or I may simply have her reply questions by making fart noises. I loved crafting my tackle every of those characters and Gearbox, very like Telltale, excelled in that regard.
Principally gone are the Telltale “this individual will keep in mind” notifications. In concept, this can be a good contact, because it removes that gamified ingredient from the formulation and permits the participant to reside with their decisions with out realizing how they have an effect on the story. In follow, although, I missed them. With out these tip-offs, save for a couple of random ones that happen with out rationalization, I felt like I had misplaced a contact of company. Positive, I used to be selecting the alternatives I needed, however I struggled to piece collectively how my actions affected the grander narrative. The moment reactions have been there; it was simple to inform if Octavio, for instance, didn’t like what Anu mentioned. However how my actions exactly modified the broader narrative remained a thriller. I had guesses all through, however I ponder if Choice X led to Consequence Y.
I additionally wasn’t impressed by what I used to be doing after I wasn’t choosing dialogue decisions. Gameplay boils all the way down to swiping left, proper, up, or down, or urgent a button, mashing it repeatedly, or holding it down. Sometimes, you’ll be able to stroll round a small space to seek out cash or discuss with locals, however these didn’t do a lot for me. Such a journey gameplay was the usual years in the past on the top of Telltale’s improvement, however it feels outdated now, and I needed extra selection.
Occasional minigames, comparable to a parody of a turn-based JRPG, or one other the place I needed to hack into a pc by eradicating NSFW spam on a display, helped in that regard, however I nonetheless needed extra.
Vaultlanders, a minigame that seems a number of instances in every episode, is a enjoyable minifigure-based preventing sport however just for the primary few instances. There are Vaultlander figures to gather in every episode, and every has its personal stats and skills, however it issues little. I by no means struggled to defeat an enemy and by no means nervous about my skills or stats. That’s as a result of enjoying includes mindlessly spamming the assault button and infrequently dodging by swiping a course when the enemy assaults. Like all the opposite minigames, this one may be skipped totally, however I used to be wanting to discover a objective for its inclusion within the sport and performed by means of each. Sadly, I didn’t discover a objective, and these shortly grew to become pace-breaking annoyances I needed to cope with after I simply needed to get again to the story.
Nonetheless, by the point my 10-hour journey in New Tales From The Borderlands ended, I used to be completely satisfied to have skilled it. There’s good in there, however it’s typically muddled by dated mechanics that really feel extra compulsory as a result of Telltale did them within the earlier sport quite than one thing essential to its enjoyment. The forged is great, and as a character-driven expertise, this sport excels. I simply wished Gearbox propped them up with a narrative as sturdy as their particular person arcs.
In the end, New Tales From The Borderlands appears like extra of the identical and followers of the primary are more likely to take pleasure in this, however given it’s been almost eight years since that first one, I needed extra of an evolution.