There’s an argument to be made that 2014’s Tales from the Borderlands is definitely the most effective recreation within the Borderlands collection. Now, maintain on. Don’t go typing up your indignant feedback simply but. Hear us out.
Generally you simply need a capital V capital G Video Recreation that’s about working and leaping and capturing and looting and the right Borderlands video games are a secure choice to choose up and play on that entrance. However it’s laborious 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 received higher, the dialogue received 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 collection: it’s humorous, with an fascinating story, likeable characters, and at occasions it’s genuinely shifting. No person was as shocked 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 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 recreation 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 know the story, New Tales has three playable characters that you simply’ll management at varied 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 wherein 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 difficult physics issues, and the following she doesn’t understand how a door deal with works. And that’s the punchline. LOL.
Fran and Octavio are equally troubled. Fran’s complete persona is predicated round her speaking about frozen yogurt, creepily providing to provide individuals mouth-to-mouth once they clearly don’t want it, and punching individuals actual laborious. That’s it. Octavio simply does the stupidest factor possible in each state of affairs to tug the story out a little bit 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 aspect characters are a combined bag. There’s a robotic murderer going via an ethical quandary about how they make their residing and so they’re most likely essentially the most well-rounded and fascinating character within the recreation. There’s a girl who shouts so much. There’s a speaking gun that claims “Bang!” each time it shoots. A lot of the aspect 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 in the event you suppose 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 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 now and then between inane comedy routines there’s a narrative to be instructed. It entails a magic rock that has the ability 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 progress feels earned or deserved. After which as a closing insult, once we received to the ending we had been instructed that one of many essential characters had died, off display screen, with no clarification in any way for the way or why. It was like Poochie flying off to his residence planet and dying in a crash in that episode of The Simpsons. Utter nonsense.
All the pieces about New Tales appears like a poor model of the unique, even all the way down to the music. The primary recreation featured a licensed soundtrack that was at occasions expertly employed. Right here, there’s licensed music nevertheless 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 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 selections. There’s minigames, too, for issues like hacking and fixing issues, however these are borderline inconceivable to fail so we’re undecided why they exist. There’s quick-time occasions to maintain the motion scenes however these are equally forgiving, and even assist you to hit the incorrect button after which simply strive 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 battle the sharks, we see Octavio commentating on how the battle goes whereas button prompts pop up on display screen. It goes on for method 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 battle with the sharks or if this complete bit is a few form of subversive commentary on the futility of fast time occasions that simply doesn’t land, however regardless of the cause for it, let your ol’ buddies at Push Sq. provide you with a fiver’s price of free recommendation: when you’ve got a shark battle, you present the shark battle. Everybody needs to see the shark battle. It is a f****** shark battle!
We are able to scarcely recall an event the place we had been extra disillusioned 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 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 dangerous that it ruins the unique, too.