Tales from the Borderlands (PC) Review

By Ian Soltes 03.11.2015 1

Review for Tales from the Borderlands on PC

There has always been a long-lasting stigma surrounding the visual novel outside of Japan. The few releases that do see worldwide releases are Japanese dating sims, which are looked down upon by most, regardless of whether they are any good or not. The few releases that do make it to Western shores often lack replayability or credibility. Yet Telltale Games decided to combine their frenzied brand of comedic FPS into a five-episode story. The result is an interesting combination of a wild and humorous adventure.

Tales from the Borderlands stars Rhys, former middle-manager of Hyperion, and the smooth-talking swindler Fiona, along with their myriad friends as they try to survive Pandora and the multitude of dangers it offers. These threats range from bandit armies, crazy businessmen, demolition derbies, and general all-around craziness. As a piece of story-telling, the game is outright amazing with plenty of great moments, some very funny - if often gross - jokes, with it all coming together to form a solid mix. While plenty of this five-episode can't be discussed without spoilers, what can, such as an early moment where Rhys ends up hacking a loader bot to allow it to utilize both its weapons at the same time and ends up with some amazingly over-the-top gunplay, is simply a treat.

The big issue with these episodes is the gameplay. The game relies heavily on pre-scripted moments and quick-time events to the point where the game is almost literally nothing but quick-time events, even in conversations where the response time is often limited. This is a massive hindrance, as it means good responses are addled by the player not having the time to think through what they might actually want to say and instead just going with the first option, which may not be what they wanted to say. This is further compounded by the fact that the game makes it very clear that the choices the player makes will have an impact down the line with 'X will remember that' often popping up in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. However, it's only rarely that the direct impact of an earlier action is seemingly shown. In one early section it's entirely possible to befriend one of the characters from Borderlands 2, and the screen will state that they have become the player's friend; however, they soon vanish from the story all-together the friendship seemingly holding no effect on the story at large.

Screenshot for Tales from the Borderlands on PC

Despite the simple gameplay, the story itself is priceless and a good reminder of just why this game series has remained as popular as it is. Despite its focus on multiplayer (or scripted events in this case), the franchise has always managed to tell a compelling and humorous story. Rhys and Fiona are two great leads; they both hold some pretty bad flaws but also hold some strong positives as well and work well off one another when it comes to the games narrative. Their occasional snide remarks and pot-shots at each other combined with their growing friendship and attempts to survive the insane world they live in make it an enjoyable story on the whole.

The game even manages to have some rather emotional moments as well, which is surprising considering that Borderlands has never been that big on emotional story-telling. Some moments can be outright tragic, and others outright awesome, and some just laugh-worthy, but they all provide a great mix and are capable of creating strong feelings.

Screenshot for Tales from the Borderlands on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

If the measure of a game was purely its story Tales from the Borderlands would be an unquestioned dominator. The problem is that its gameplay is almost non-existent, with some of it feeling more obligatory than purposeful. Making some of the dialogue options timed also really hurts the game as it pushes the player to act rashly and in a manner they wouldn't normally do if they had just a few more seconds to ponder their preferred choice. However, the story more than holds its own. People looking for more action in their games may be disappointed, but those who simply want an active and pleasant adventure story and are fine with the setting will thoroughly enjoy their time spent.

Developer

Telltale

Publisher

Telltale

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I feel I should comment further on this. This game is a great EXPERIENCE, with its solid and fun story, but it's lacking as a GAME. Hence the 'visual novel' bit. Because it is one. As a visual novel it's quite enjoyable, but as a game it's... well... a visual novel.

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