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New Tales From The Borderlands Review – Forgettable Story, Unforgettable Characters

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One in all 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 delicate tackle the humor coursing by means of the franchise’s veins. It turned one in all my favourite Borderlands video games, with an excellent story and memorable characters. 

I’m comfortable 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 according to the sequence’ latter entries. It additionally includes a forged simply as memorable – I already need extra of them. Sadly, although, your entire package deal 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 number 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. 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 purpose 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 just some 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 attempting to pitch Anu’s system to buyers. After which, my main 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 facet beats and steps alongside the way in which are distracting and loosely hooked up greater than anything.

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 comfortable to have skilled what this squad of characters went by means of. I simply want your entire 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 approach, and a few late-game revelations add extra depth to her persona 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 lady who’s put apart subtlety in favor of outright telling individuals, “we should always bone.” She feels probably the most like a basic Borderlands character – with a handful of fart jokes, too (admittedly, one in all these made me chuckle so much).

LOU13 was my favourite, although. His deadpan humor and his journey to interrupt free from the parameters of his assassination programming stored me smiling your entire approach by means of. 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 right down to Gearbox’s glorious 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 an enormous 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 like Telltale, excelled in that regard. 

 

Largely gone are the Telltale “this particular person will keep in mind” notifications. In idea, 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 realizing how they have an effect on the story. In observe, although, I missed them. With out these tip-offs, save for a number of random ones that happen with out clarification, I felt like I had misplaced a contact of company. Positive, I used to be selecting 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 straightforward to inform if Octavio, for instance, didn’t like what Anu stated. However how my actions exactly modified the broader narrative remained a thriller. I had guesses all through, however I’m wondering if Determination X led to Consequence Y.

I additionally wasn’t impressed by what I used to be doing once I wasn’t deciding on dialogue decisions. Gameplay boils right down to swiping left, proper, up, or down, or urgent a button, mashing it repeatedly, or holding it down. Sometimes, you possibly can stroll round a small space to search out cash or speak with locals, however these didn’t do a lot for me. The sort of journey gameplay was the usual years in the past on the top of Telltale’s growth, nevertheless it feels previous now, and I wished extra selection. 

Occasional minigames, equivalent 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 screen, helped in that regard, however I nonetheless wished extra.

 

Vaultlanders, a minigame that seems a number of instances in every episode, is a enjoyable minifigure-based combating 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, nevertheless it issues little. I by no means struggled to defeat an enemy and by no means frightened 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 might be skipped solely, however I used to be desirous to discover a objective for its inclusion within the sport and performed by means of every one. Sadly, I didn’t discover a objective, and these rapidly turned pace-breaking annoyances I needed to cope with once 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 comfortable to have skilled it. There’s good in there, nevertheless it’s generally muddled by dated mechanics that really feel extra compulsory as a result of Telltale did them within the earlier sport moderately than one thing essential to its enjoyment. The forged is superb, 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 take pleasure in this, however given it’s been almost eight years since that first one, I wished extra of an evolution.



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