|System: PC, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One|
|Dev: Telltale Games|
|Pub: Telltale Games|
|Release: June 23, 2015|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Violence, Blood and Gore, Suggestive Themes, Strong Language|
Tales from the Borderlands also connects very deeply to Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre Sequel. Once again you get lots of cameos from playable characters and NPCs. You also get this feeling that Tales from the Borderlands is building up to something rather big and interesting, perhaps something having to do with Borderlands 3. Of course, this is all fan theory and speculation at this point, but I think that’s what Telltale wants. They have perfectly crafted the game to get you talking about what deeper secrets might lie in the Borderlands meta plot.
There are some points of Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 3 that feel a bit retconned. Characters that were at your throat in previous episodes suddenly turn around and want to help you. Characters that literally betrayed you in the past, guns pointed toward your head, turn out to have had your best interests in mind all along. The problem is, these plot points don’t feel real. It’s hard to imagine a supposed ally is an ally when they were so fervently attacking you in a previous episode. While the humor is always on point, the continuity really makes you go, “Eh, I don’t buy it” at times.
Luckily, there’s just something about the Borderlands universe that makes it easy to overlook, like a plot inconsistency in a Saturday morning cartoon. Borderlands is crazy and wacky and people stab each other in the back for no reason like all the time. Maybe this is just the crazy Pandoran way.
This episode features two very different play experiences depending on whether or not you chose to trust Jack or Fiona in the previous chapter. In fact, it’s one of the biggest true branching pathways that Telltale has made yet. If you were to go back and play any Telltale episode twice, you should play this one.
The game still does a great job of providing interesting set pieces for you. Early on, if you chose the Jack storyline, you get to remotely control a drone in a sort of shooting gallery which was actually quite well done for being a secondary style of gameplay. Your results in the shooting gallery then effect the story, which is pretty neat.
You also get introduced to new powers and abilities that both Rhys and Fiona have. For example, Fiona gets the ability to see short distances into the future, sort of. This ability feels a lot like a Borderlands special action. Considering Fiona’s story is now mostly about learning to be a proper Vault hunter, you have to wonder if we will get to control her in Borderlands 3.
But all the story, set pieces, and gameplay aside, the best part of this episode is Handsome Jack. The exchanges he has with Rhys are priceless. He even starts taking over Rhys’s scanner, so the encyclopedia entries you get are written in his voice. He even chastises you for scanning everything, looking at everything, and touching everything, the things you are supposed to do in an adventure game, and I loved every second of it. Jack’s hilarious love-to-hate-him villainy is everywhere in this episode, and I frequently found myself wanting to fast forward through other events just so I could hear Jack talk again.
All of the things that Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 3 has going for it boil down to one thing: self-awareness. TFTB knows it’s a game, knows it’s a Telltale game, knows it’s a Borderlands game, and knows that you are a gamer. With that knowledge, it successfully manages to make light of all the tropes and stereotypes we have taken for granted in the gaming world. It’s probably the funniest game on the market right now and I only want to play more. I can’t wait for Episode 4 to come out where, if my inclinations are correct, the adventure will continue into space.
Angelo M. D’Argenio
Senior Contributing Writer
Date: June 23, 2015