I didn’t need to have to do that, however they gave me no selection
I used to be actually excited to get to do the New Tales from the Borderlands assessment for Destructoid. Telltale’s Tales from the Borderlands is an all-time favourite of mine that I’ve performed by way of a number of occasions, and whereas I used to be disenchanted to see that Gearbox’s tackle Tales wouldn’t proceed Rhys, Fiona, and Sasha’s story, I used to be optimistic that the sequel could be an satisfying expertise. How incorrect I used to be.
As I made my approach by way of every subsequent episode, I regretted taking over this assessment an increasing number of. Now I’m tasked with detailing what a torturous expertise this was, and to be the bearer of unhealthy information. And sure incur some wrath from those that need to defend this sizzling mess.
I actually don’t even know the place to start out.
New Tales from the Borderlands (PC, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Swap, Xbox One, Xbox Sequence X|S)
Developer: Gearbox Software program
Launched: October 21, 2022
Does this even depend as a narrative?
The pacing of this sport is so, so sluggish. Narratively talking, it takes without end to do all the things. Most of this sport options the characters standing in the identical constructing and speaking — even one of many large battle sequences had the characters stopping and speaking each different second. Within the remaining episodes, the place the story is meant to be at its most climactic and enthralling, it could have been slogged down by the snail pacing if what was occurring made any sense in any respect.
A serious plot level hinges on a montage of the characters sitting round and killing time. Within the remaining episode, one of many primary characters actually says they’re wandering round and doing nothing particularly. I don’t know who informed the writers that I wished to do chores and take care of an insurance coverage declare in a Borderlands sport with none type of comedic twist, however they have been sorely, sorely mistaken.
When it got here to the precise pace of the strains delivered, or the pauses between strains, it additionally felt like all the things was shifting in slo-mo. I don’t know if it was an issue with the engine not loading issues quick sufficient, however I felt like I used to be trudging by way of molasses the entire time.
Not one of the characters have arcs in any respect. Persona-wise, they don’t change or have any type of introspection (till some over-the-top scenes towards the tip). The relationships aren’t developed in any significant or attention-grabbing approach. One of many aspect characters had a considerably attention-grabbing little semblance of an arc, however they use him so sparingly that it loses most of its influence. Some characters are launched within the first episode after which by no means present up once more besides within the finale of the entire story. Threads are launched and deserted, or introduced up in a approach that will counsel some sort of significance that was by no means arrange beforehand.
The ultimate episodes attempt to pull off some emotional character moments, however after they haven’t been explored or arrange nicely within the first few episodes, they really feel melodramatic and hole. Plus the tone is tremendous awkward and bizarre within the scenes themselves, so that they don’t even work out of context, both. It actually seems like somebody gave a 15-year-old the reins of one of many largest collection in gaming and hoped for the very best.
The journey would decelerate to clarify to me issues that had simply occurred, or would maintain beating me over the top with the identical level repeatedly. That’s a daring transfer when the story doesn’t even have its personal inner logic. In a single scene, a personality conveniently fails to acknowledge the constructing the place he has labored for years, owned by the girl who mainly took him in as her son, which finally ends up screwing everybody over. Critically?
The character motivations don’t make any sense to me, both. I don’t need to spoil something, however the concept of who these characters are in a world as violent and horrible because the Borderlands universe is inherently humorous. In execution, they’re the driest, most uninteresting characters I’ve seen in a sport in a very long time. They by no means have one large objective that they’re working towards collectively, and the person character motivations by no means get much less obscure than, “save the world” or “begin a profitable enterprise.”
The primary three episodes, although boring as all hell, are a minimum of… sort of… one thing? They don’t actually add something to the characters or construct upon the narrative in any approach or have any sense of trigger and impact when it got here to the storytelling, however they a minimum of weren’t incoherent. Issues actually went off the rails with the ultimate two episodes, nevertheless.
Is it kink-shaming if it’s shameless within the first place?
It pains me to even have to speak about this, however the folks have to know. Episode 4 of New Tales from the Borderlands is stuffed with bizarre kink/fetish shit. I’m no prude, and if there’s a spot to make “edgy” intercourse jokes, Borderlands is the place to do it. However oh my god, nothing about it was humorous, or cheeky, or satisfying in any approach. It was simply awkward and gross and made me deeply, deeply uncomfortable.
That episode alone evoked pee stuff, milking, pressure feeding, restraints and domination, public humiliation, a robotic absolutely simply having a chronic orgasm in entrance of everybody, and an anal rape joke about stated robotic getting STDs. That doesn’t embody different situations like allusions to necrophilia, and one of many primary characters brazenly stating she needs to have intercourse along with her surrogate son on a number of events. What the fuck? What the precise fuck?
There isn’t any Borderlands in my Borderlands sport
One of many biggest tragedies, although, is that New Tales from the Borderlands doesn’t even really feel like a Borderlands sport in any respect. It’s set within the Borderlands universe, it options characters from Borderlands, and there’s some violence such as you would see in Borderlands, however that’s about the place the similarities finish. The ultimate episodes particularly devolve into some ridiculous sci-fi/fantasy stuff you’d solely see in some D-tier anime, however not in a Borderlands sport.
I even have to speak about musical intros, as a result of the licensed music in Tales from the Borderlands is nothing wanting iconic. These songs have swagger, and a sure gritty groundedness that matches into the world very well. The songs in New Tales? Not a lot.
The songs have been both too bland, too on the nostril, or didn’t sound like actual songs in any respect. I frequently return and hearken to a playlist of all of the songs from the OG Tales, however I’ve a sense that gained’t be the case this time round.
I feel it’s fairly secure to say that Borderlands is greatest identified for its humorousness. Not each bit in each sport within the collection goes to land, certain, however Borderlands has at all times maintained a goofy, enjoyable spirit, whereas fairly persistently making us all chuckle on the very least. Relating to New Tales from the Borderlands, although, I can depend the variety of occasions I laughed on one hand. It’s simply not a humorous sport.
It isn’t a narrative that works on any degree in any way. Apparently, this sport was presupposed to be about standing as much as large firms? Or one thing? I assume the villain of the sport is technically a CEO, however the story is simply too incompetent to say something in any respect, not to mention something in regards to the internal workings of attempting to dismantle capitalism. The found-family, therapeutic damaged relationships angle doesn’t work both when your characters don’t have any chemistry. Telling me they care about one another doesn’t make me consider it.
The story actually was so laughably unhealthy I might really feel myself going by way of all of the phases of grief as I performed. Though perhaps I haven’t accepted it but. I wouldn’t be fairly as harsh if the narrative wasn’t all it had, however it by some means has much less gameplay than the unique Telltale video games.
What in regards to the gameplay?
“Okay, so the story was horrible, however perhaps the gameplay was alright?” I hear you asking. Nicely, I hope you want disappointment, as a result of that’s all this sport persistently offers me.
New Tales from the Borderlands barely even qualifies as a sport — you’ll usually spend minutes at a time with none type of interplay in any respect. Perhaps in the event that they hadn’t used the “Tales from the Borderlands” it might have existed as its personal factor, however it’s clearly pulling from the success of the primary sport. What’s baffling to me, then, is why they wouldn’t considerably keep on with the Telltale formulation.
The unique Telltale video games had a variety of point-and-click components, which have been pulled again to a minimal in New Tales from the Borderlands. Sections the place you truly get to stroll round and work together with the atmosphere are few and much between, they usually don’t add a lot besides to the runtime.
The basic dialogue selections are nonetheless there, however they have been additionally fewer and additional between than I might have favored. On uncommon events they provided an attention-grabbing tidbit, however for essentially the most half I discovered them to be fairly same-y and bland. I attempted to choose essentially the most out-there choices to see if they’d give me any extra perception into the characters, however to no avail.
Excluding the literal climax, these large selections with penalties lasting the entire remainder of the sport additionally seemed to be lacking. Gearbox made a giant deal about desirous to be much less apparent about once you’re making a large choice for the sake of immersion.
Certain, in concept, I might have been extra immersed if the story was nicely written and the alternatives have been compelling. However hiding large selections from the participant and never clearly coding how these selections have been paying off made New Tales from the Borderlands really feel actually on rails, even when my playthrough would have regarded fully completely different to another person’s. Even the slightest little bit of transparency, like one thing so simple as a narrative tree on the finish of every episode a la Detroit: Develop into Human would have been to their profit right here.
Everybody’s favourite, the short time occasions, actually take middle stage on this one — particularly once you issue within the new mini-game. The characters begin making a giant deal about these little collectible figurines you will discover, and once you battle with them, it simply throws a bunch of QTEs at you and calls it a day. They have been additionally really easy I feel I acquired hit as soon as in one in all these fights in your complete collection. The preventing sport reference is cute the primary time, however it overstays its welcome actually quick.
In conclusion: I want I hadn’t performed it.
I’ve a number of positives: this sport appears to be like actually good. It undoubtedly wanted extra of a cell-shaded look if it have been to precisely seize the Borderlands model, however with exception of some uninteresting settings, the animation, character artwork, and environments regarded good. It’s about what you’d anticipate to see as the following evolution of Telltale’s model. I additionally didn’t encounter any bugs throughout my playthrough, a minimum of that I seen, so on the very least it’s playable and has some degree of polish. Hooray.
I’m certain there might be folks on the market who’ve a greater time with this than I did (something higher than pure distress will do), but when the final consensus is that this sport is common or above, I might be baffled. There are such a lot of different issues I might discuss right here, however actually, ultimately I used to be mad that this sport wasted a lot of my time. It’s definitely not well worth the $40, that’s for certain. If I didn’t have to complete it for this assessment, I might have probably dipped out after the primary hour.
I want I might say I nailed New Tales of from the Borderlands with a nasty rating as a result of I used to be holding it to the next commonplace as a result of it was developed by Gearbox, and that it had lots to dwell as much as by following the unique Tales. These issues could also be true, however this sport is a soulless slog no matter who made it or what collection it’s part of.
If you happen to’re asking my opinion, don’t play New Tales of from the Borderlands. Or perhaps pool your cash along with your mates and do it in like an ironic, The Room-style playthrough. Fortunately this sport gained’t detract from my enjoyment of the unique Tales, however it’s an actual disgrace to consider how this might have constructed on that first sport. In contrast to its predecessor, I don’t suppose New Tales from the Borderlands is a title I’ll ever be returning to.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]