There’s an argument to be made that 2014’s Tales from the Borderlands is definitely the very best recreation within the Borderlands sequence. Now, maintain on. Don’t go typing up your indignant feedback simply but. Hear us out.
Typically you simply need a capital V capital G Video Recreation that’s about working and leaping and taking pictures and looting and the right Borderlands video games are a secure possibility to choose up and play on that entrance. However it’s onerous to disregard that the franchise has a considerably inversely proportional relationship between the tightness of the gameplay and high quality of the writing: because the taking pictures obtained higher, the dialogue obtained worse and the jokes grew extra irritating.
Inside their respective genres, considering what they got down to do, Tales might be essentially the most profitable recreation within the sequence: it’s humorous, with an attention-grabbing story, likeable characters, and at instances it’s genuinely shifting. No person was as stunned as us about that. A Telltale Borderlands recreation? Insanity! However it labored.
Quick-forward eight years and right here we’re with New Tales From The Borderlands, much less a sequel to the Telltale unique and extra of an alternate actuality model of the identical concept. What would have occurred in 2014 if as an alternative of partnering with Telltale of their prime to make a extra story-focused recreation within the Borderlands franchise, Gearbox simply made it themselves? Properly, that is the end result. And it’s garbage.
Happening after Borderlands 3 however with out actually requiring any information of any earlier Borderlands video games to grasp the story, New Tales has three playable characters that you simply’ll management at numerous factors all through the ten hour journey.
There’s Anu, a wise however anxious scientist who’s a pacifist inexplicably working for a weapons producer. There’s Fran, a frozen yogurt vendor in a hoverchair who has anger administration points. And there’s Octavio, a hipster moron who’s launched to us in a cutscene during which he rebukes a pizza vendor for his or her “problematic” exaggerated-a Italian-a accent-a. It’s as cringe inducing because it sounds.
The three heroes aren’t a lot characters as they’re merely vessels for the following insipid gag. Anu, for instance, is the intelligent one within the gang proper up till she must be an fool for a joke to land. One minute she’s fixing sophisticated physics issues, and the following she doesn’t know the way a door deal with works. And that’s the punchline. LOL.
Fran and Octavio are equally troubled. Fran’s complete persona relies round her speaking about frozen yogurt, creepily providing to present folks mouth-to-mouth after they clearly don’t want it, and punching folks actual onerous. That’s it. Octavio simply does the stupidest factor possible in each scenario to tug the story out a bit longer. At one level he forgets what the place he works at — the place he is spent half the sport, by the best way — seems like. They get about ten minutes out of that zinger.
The facet characters are a combined bag. There’s a robotic murderer going by way of an ethical quandary about how they make their dwelling they usually’re most likely essentially the most well-rounded and attention-grabbing character within the recreation. There’s a girl who shouts so much. There’s a speaking gun that claims “Bang!” each time it shoots. Many of the facet characters both disappear for half the sport after which flip up for the final chapter or just go nowhere.
Rhys from the unique Tales from the Borderlands has a small position within the first chapter and if you happen to assume what they did with him in Borderlands 3 was a slap within the face to followers of the Telltale recreation then this isn’t going to make you’re feeling any higher. Not content material with ruining their very own characters, New Tales from the Borderlands retroactively ruins the unique Tales from the Borderlands by turning its protagonist into simply one other Borderlands gag™. So thanks for that.
Each from time to time between inane comedy routines there’s a narrative to be instructed. It includes a magic rock that has the ability to assist humanity however there’s baddies who wish to use it for their very own nefarious ends. It’s a slight, low stakes narrative and even at solely ten hours it feels drawn out, with lengthy, boring sections the place nothing remotely attention-grabbing occurs to push the story ahead.
By the ultimate chapter we simply didn’t care any extra. Not one of the progress feels earned or deserved. After which as a last insult, once we obtained to the ending we had been instructed that one of many fundamental characters had died, off display, with no rationalization by any means for a way or why. It was like Poochie flying off to his dwelling planet and dying in a crash in that episode of The Simpsons. Utter nonsense.
The whole lot about New Tales seems like a poor model of the unique, even right down to the music. The primary recreation featured a licensed soundtrack that was at instances expertly employed. Right here, there’s licensed music however it’s thrown collectively seemingly at random. There’s a tacky montage scene of the gang attending to know one another backed by a low key, virtually dream-pop observe, and later a quiet, extra reflective scene backed by a jaunty, extra upbeat piece.
Gameplay-wise, you’ll primarily be strolling about and fixing quite simple puzzles, speaking to folks, and making selections. There’s minigames, too, for issues like hacking and fixing issues, however these are borderline inconceivable to fail so we’re unsure why they exist. There’s quick-time occasions to maintain the motion scenes however these are equally forgiving, and even can help you hit the unsuitable button after which simply attempt once more till you get it proper.
One such fast time occasion — which we’ve to say as a result of it’s so absurd — includes a personality preventing sharks. However as an alternative of seeing them battle the sharks, we see Octavio commentating on how the battle goes whereas button prompts pop up on display. It goes on for means too lengthy and it’s so wildly unfunny that we do not know if it’s even supposed to be a joke.
We’re unsure if the developer simply couldn’t be bothered to animate the battle with the sharks or if this complete bit is a few type of subversive commentary on the futility of fast time occasions that simply doesn’t land, however regardless of the purpose for it, let your ol’ friends at Push Sq. offer you a fiver’s value of free recommendation: when you have a shark battle, you present the shark battle. Everybody needs to see the shark battle. It is a f****** shark battle!
We will scarcely recall an event the place we had been extra dissatisfied by a sequel than New Tales from the Borderlands. We wished to like this. We might have accepted liking it. However we hate this recreation. It is a ten-hour narrative journey that feels 4 instances so long as it must be, with dreadful characters, and appalling, relentlessly unfunny jokes. It is a spectacular misfire, its solely success to talk of being the uncommon instance of a sequel so unhealthy that it ruins the unique, too.
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