Tales from the Borderlands is an episodic narrative driven Point & Click set in the insane world of Pandora. This is a rather interesting game as the Borderlands series is not known for its stories and is Telltale’s first attempt to venture into video game IPs unlike their previous takes on famous TV shows like Game of Thrones or comics like The Walking Dead. We start off as a Hyperion employee named Rhys who is on his way to his boss’s office for a promotion only to find that his boss has been thrown out of an airlock and his nemesis has been made the new boss. Rhys has unfortunately been “promoted” to janitor and vows to get revenge. Luckily for him he managed to discover a multimillion deal and decided to steal it from under the new boss’s nose. In order to accomplish this Rhys and his best friend travel to Pandora and this is where our journey truly begins.
Upon landing they soon discover how strange and violent the people on that planet are and quickly get themselves into trouble. The unique thing to Telltale’s take on Borderlands is that you are not some gun sling badass and has never seen anything more violent than fake finger gun fights in the office. He is very out of his element on this planet and much of the humor comes from his reactions to all the crazy events that occur to him. His only real talent is hacking and even then he is not very good at it. After a while we are introduced to the second character that we will control throughout this game called Fiona who is a native Pandorian and a scam artist. Through a strange turn of events both characters soon meet and try to survive together. Fiona may be a much tougher person than Rhys though she is no fighter so they usually deal with danger by running, hiding or talking their way out of it.
You will on rare occasions be able to control your character and solve a simple puzzle but the game mostly has you sitting and watching with the occasional dialogue choice. It works in its favor as the parts where you control the character are by far the worst since your character walks way too slow and has you solve extremely simple puzzles that make you think “Why did they even bother to put this in?”. Like other Telltale games this title is heavily reliant on Quick Time Events and will frequently throw some your way to make sure you are still paying attention. While you have control of a character you can access an inventory system that show you what items you have on you but it is completely useless and never used making it an unneeded gimmick. A nice little detail is that you can open some certain crates or steal from certain people to get money which you can then use to buy masks or give your car some style in certain scenarios. Both are completely just cosmetic and are gone from the game before you can blink but it’s a rather nice touch.
The story is pretty funny but is also shockingly engaging, tragic and mysterious. You see the story is being told by your two characters as some unknown man kidnaps them and demands to know about what they have found in their travels. Who he is and what he wants is a real mystery for most of the game and he comes off as a really cool character. Cool characters is what this game has in spades, nearly everyone you meet is memorable in some way or another since everyone on Pandora seems to be balls to the wall insane. Old characters from the Borderlands series also make an appearance here and there like Scooter and a few of the Vault Hunters. Vault Hunters are exactly what the name says for those unfamiliar with the series. Even if you are not familiar with the Borderlands franchise the games barely have any stories to them so you will get the gist of it in no time. All you need to know is that Vaults are said to have great riches and everyone wants to enter one. Only thing you will really miss out on is the cameos of old character as you will likely have no idea who they are.
Graphics retain that comic book look of Borderlands and looks very true to its source material. Seeing the world of Pandora through the eyes of someone who can’t fight suddenly makes you realize what a horrible place that planet is. It helps you sympathize with the characters as well as capture a nice blend of thinking you are going to die and chuckling to yourself in disbelief as your character is saved by a stroke of luck or even pulls off something awesome in a few cases. As I mentioned before this title has a great blend of storytelling methods other than humor and has some shockingly powerful moments. It knows exactly when to be serious, how to present the illusion of choice and when to pull out the dubstep vs space ninja death race battles. The ending left it open for a season 2 though it didn’t feel like a cliff hanger was satisfied and was done in a far better way than their previous Game of Thrones game. Tales of a Borderlands is in my opinion Telltale’s finest work yet and I would highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys the genre even if they are not a fan of the source material.