Review – Tales from the Borderlands – PS4

Tales from the Borderlands is a game from Telltale Games, well known for their episodic, story driven, choice heavy games. This game follows on directly from Borderlands 2, although you don’t have to have played it. In fact, I knew nothing about the Borderlands games before I played this one. I noticed one day that Episode 1 was free on the PS Store and decided to give it a go with no expectations. I did not expect to be completely drawn in the way I was. I absolutely loved it and couldn’t wait to play the rest. Since this was also my first Telltale experience, I waited for the Telltale Collection to go on sale and bought this along with the first two seasons of The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us and Game of Thrones. Maybe 6 months(?) after playing Episode 1, I have finally gotten around to playing the rest of the game and I have to say, I think it is a must play.

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I’ll start with the story. Even though I had never played a Borderlands game, it was easy to understand what was going on. I even surprised myself considering I’m not usually the biggest Sci-Fi/Space fan. We meet out main characters – Rhys and Fiona – in a bit of a bad situation. They have been kidnapped and we get to learn the story through them telling it to their captor. From the get go we get to decide how we would like to play them through the various dialog choices. Considering these characters aren’t typically likable types, they are so very likable. Personalities develop throughout the game as well as relationships and I really started to care for them.

Most of the game takes place on Pandora, a desert planet filled with psychos, cannibals and murderers. The silly situations, the sheer randomness and the dark humour all come together to make this game hilarious. It makes me smile when I think about it and that is what I like in a story. Not that is doesn’t come without its serious moments. Some were intense and at one point I nearly shed a tear, but I will always remember this game for the laugh out loud moments it gave me.

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Personally, I liked the first, fourth and fifth episodes the best. They seemed to have the most memorable moments for me. A lot of people say that the choices don’t make a difference in these games but I really disagree. Of course, the story goes down the same track no matter what you choose but YOUR story can be totally different to another persons. After reading up on other peoples experiences, there are multiple things that I didn’t know could happen or that others didn’t depending on what they did or didn’t do. I love this in a game. It makes you really want to think about your choices. However, most of the time they have to be instinct as you don’t have much time to choose. For me, the great thing about the dialog options is that there was almost always something that I wanted to say. I never felt forced to say something out of character or that I didn’t like. Massive credit to the writers.

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Th voice acting was great. There were some recognisable voices in the mix and they were all brilliant. A lot of the humour wouldn’t work without their tones and expressiveness so bravo to the team. The graphics are.. Telltale graphics. They are cartoons. They are never supposed to be photorealistic and have their own feel to them that I love. The animations aren’t always the best but they do manage to get the point across. One of my favourite things is Rhys’s shocked face. There are some gorgeous moments as well as some gruesome moments. I can’t really comment on the soundtrack as I didn’t really notice it but I have no idea how because from the discussions I have read it is highly praised.

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There is only one thing that I can complain about and that was the running of the game itself. It auto saves regularly and every time it does, the game skips a bit. The same when you switch characters. Only for a second. It doesn’t matter too much at first, you don’t really miss anything, but near the end it becomes at best annoying and at worst a nuisance.

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Overall, this game was right up my street. My advice? Save this one for a rainy day. Feeling grim? Whack this baby on, you won’t be sorry. If you are a fan of the Borderlands series, play it. There might be a few surprises for you. If you’re a fan of Telltale games, play it. Seriously, it’s a joy. Now, I’m just sad it’s over. I’ve got my fingers crossed for a sequel. In the meantime I’ll be trying out the other Telltale games so I’ll keep you posted!

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