There’s an argument to be made that 2014’s Tales from the Borderlands is definitely the very best sport within the Borderlands collection. Now, maintain on. Don’t go typing up your indignant feedback simply but. Hear us out.
Typically you simply desire a capital V capital G Video Recreation that’s about operating and leaping and capturing and looting and the right Borderlands video games are a protected choice to select 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 capturing 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 probably the most profitable sport within the collection: it’s humorous, with an fascinating story, likeable characters, and at occasions it’s genuinely transferring. No person was as stunned as us about that. A Telltale Borderlands sport? 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 authentic 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 sport within the Borderlands franchise, Gearbox simply made it themselves? Effectively, that is the end result. And it’s garbage.
Going down 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 just’ll management at varied factors all through the ten hour journey.
There’s Anu, a sensible 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 by 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 total persona relies round her speaking about frozen yogurt, creepily providing to present individuals mouth-to-mouth after they clearly don’t want it, and punching individuals actual onerous. That’s it. Octavio simply does the stupidest factor possible in each state of affairs to tug the story out just a little longer. At one level he forgets what the place he works at — the place he is spent half the sport, by the way in which — appears to be like like. They get about ten minutes out of that zinger.
The facet characters are a blended bag. There’s a robotic murderer going via an ethical quandary about how they make their dwelling they usually’re most likely probably the most well-rounded and fascinating character within the sport. There’s a girl who shouts lots. There’s a speaking gun that claims “Bang!” each time it shoots. A lot 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 function within the first chapter and should you assume what they did with him in Borderlands 3 was a slap within the face to followers of the Telltale sport then this isn’t going to make you are 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 every so often between inane comedy routines there’s a narrative to be informed. It entails a magic rock that has the facility to assist humanity however there’s baddies who need 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 fascinating occurs to push the story ahead.
By the ultimate chapter we simply didn’t care any extra. Not one of the development feels earned or deserved. After which as a ultimate insult, once we obtained to the ending we have been informed that one of many predominant characters had died, off display, with no clarification in any way for the 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.
All the things about New Tales seems like a poor model of the unique, even right down to the music. The primary sport featured a licensed soundtrack that was at occasions expertly employed. Right here, there’s licensed music but it surely’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 monitor, 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 individuals, and making decisions. There’s minigames, too, for issues like hacking and fixing issues, however these are borderline unimaginable to fail so we’re undecided why they exist. There’s quick-time occasions to deal with the motion scenes however these are equally forgiving, and even help you hit the mistaken button after which simply attempt once more till you get it proper.
One such fast time occasion — which now we have to say as a result of it’s so absurd — entails a personality preventing sharks. However as an alternative of seeing them combat the sharks, we see Octavio commentating on how the combat 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 undecided if the developer simply couldn’t be bothered to animate the combat with the sharks or if this entire 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. provide you with a fiver’s value of free recommendation: in case you have a shark combat, you present the shark combat. Everybody desires to see the shark combat. It is a f****** shark combat!
We are able to scarcely recall an event the place we have been extra disillusioned by a sequel than New Tales from the Borderlands. We wished to like this. We would have accepted liking it. However we hate this sport. It is a ten-hour narrative journey that feels 4 occasions 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.