Certainly one of my largest 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 via the franchise’s veins. It turned certainly one of my favourite Borderlands video games, with a fantastic story and memorable characters.
I’m blissful 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 step with the sequence’ latter entries. It additionally encompasses a forged simply as memorable – I already need extra of them. Sadly, although, your complete 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 just a few acquainted faces and names with Tales From The Borderlands’ Rhys, now CEO of gun-manufacturer Atlas, and different mega-corporations like Maliwan and Tediore. Many of the sport takes place on Promethea, which Borderlands 3 gamers ought to acknowledge.
Altruistic however internally egocentric scientist Anu groups up along with her adopted street-smart brother Octavio, his assassination bot LOU13, and Fran’s Frogurt proprietor Fran. Collectively, they goal to guard Promethea from a Tediore invasion, safe a hidden vault treasure and, in the end, try and 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 major concern is seemingly to open a enterprise amidst the rubble of the Tediore invasion that’s nonetheless ongoing. I wished extra of the save-the-world narrative the primary episode arrange, however the aspect beats and steps alongside the best way 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 high, and by the point the credit rolled, I used to be blissful to have skilled what this squad of characters went via. I simply want your complete sport featured the cohesion I felt within the first and remaining 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 traditional scientist-getting-in-the-way-of-herself means, and a few late-game revelations add extra depth to her persona that I admire. Octavio performs it cool, and I had enjoyable shaping the sort 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 individuals, “we should always bone.” She feels probably the most like a traditional Borderlands character – with a handful of fart jokes, too (admittedly, certainly one of these made me snigger rather a lot).
LOU13 was my favourite, although. His deadpan humor and his journey to interrupt free from the parameters of his assassination programming saved me smiling your complete means via. Every character shined in their very own methods when remoted, however collectively, my favourite conversations in the entire sport passed off, 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 offered me with at each trivial and pivotal moments within the narrative. I might set Fran up with a giant energy play of a comment when arrested by Tediore troops, or I might simply have her reply questions by making fart noises. I loved crafting my tackle every of those characters and Gearbox, very similar to Telltale, excelled in that regard.
Principally gone are the Telltale “this particular person will keep in mind” notifications. In principle, it is a good contact, because it removes that gamified ingredient from the formulation and permits the participant to stay with their decisions with out figuring out how they have an effect on the story. In apply, although, I missed them. With out these tip-offs, save for just a few random ones that happen with out rationalization, I felt like I had misplaced a contact of company. Positive, I used to be choosing the alternatives I wished, 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 Determination X led to Consequence Y.
I additionally wasn’t impressed by what I used to be doing after I wasn’t deciding on 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. Often, you may stroll round a small space to search 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 peak of Telltale’s growth, but it surely feels previous now, and I wished extra selection.
Occasional minigames, resembling 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 screen, helped in that regard, however I nonetheless wished extra.
Vaultlanders, a minigame that seems a number of occasions in every episode, is a enjoyable minifigure-based combating sport however just for the primary few occasions. There are Vaultlander figures to gather in every episode, and every has its personal stats and talents, but it surely issues little. I by no means struggled to defeat an enemy and by no means anxious about my talents or stats. That’s as a result of enjoying includes mindlessly spamming the assault button and infrequently dodging by swiping a route when the enemy assaults. Like all the opposite minigames, this one will be skipped totally, however I used to be desperate to discover a objective for its inclusion within the sport and performed via every one. Sadly, I didn’t discover a objective, and these shortly turned pace-breaking annoyances I needed to cope with after I simply wished 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 blissful to have skilled it. There’s good in there, but it surely’s typically muddled by dated mechanics that really feel extra compulsory as a result of Telltale did them within the earlier sport slightly 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 robust as their particular person arcs.
In the end, New Tales From The Borderlands seems like extra of the identical and followers of the primary are prone to get pleasure from this, however given it’s been almost eight years since that first one, I wished extra of an evolution.