Almost a year has gone by since Tales from the Borderlands first emerged onto our gaming consoles and what a joy it has been so far. What we’ve discovered up to this point is that this adventure with Rhys and Fiona could be the best of the Telltale Games series. With very few lowlights and a load of unforgettable highlights, can the series finish on a high by providing a solid finale in The Vault of the Traveler, befitting of the greatness that has gone before it?
Having made it back to Hyperion, Rhys and the gang were close to pulling off the plan to recover the final piece of Gortys, to unlock the vault, when Handsome Jack revealed his true intentions and threw a spanner in the works. In episode five we’ll get to find out whether Rhys can overcome the imminent danger to fulfil the job for Vallory, thus saving his bestest pal Vaughn in the process. Here’s hoping the identity of the mysterious kidnapper is revealed too.
While I can’t divulge the ins and outs for fear of spoiling it for the masses of people yet to play through this one, I can say that this episode is action packed from the start. QTEs are like marmite to some; however I feel like they’ve been taken up a notch here, where one major combat related section actually involved a series of combos as opposed to the usual singular button press. Personally, I thought it made the boss battle of sorts have that added intensity and importance.
Due to the steady character development across the series, the player can laugh with these characters and feel for them, experiencing the same or similar emotion because of the attachments made over the year. Take Loader Bot for example, it’s just a generic robot yet Telltale Games have given it a personality as strong as any other characters, whilst creating a unique bond between it and the humans. The characters have all evolved in some way; the main ones, Rhys and Fiona, are finally realising their potential with a little begrudged help from each other.
When a series that’s driven by your own choices comes to an end, you want to be able to notice the difference that certain decisions have made to proceedings. For this finale, it has never been clearer, as a specific event will require a call for reinforcements and depending on whom you’ve burnt bridges or built strong relationships with, you may be left facing limited options. This did however open up a slight plot hole, where there wasn’t any kind of explanation given for the appearance of a character that we last saw in major peril.
As much as the story rounds itself off neatly, there was so much to fit in this one episode that it came across slightly crammed and rushed. Finding room for dialogue amongst the action seemed a difficult task for Telltale Games but when they did, it had to have meaning. The occasional conversation does deliver the humour we’ve come to expect from the world of Borderlands whilst also chucking in the odd dramatic moment. I laughed as per normal but was almost reaching for the tissues at one point.
The Vault of the Traveler provides a continuation and subsequent finishing off of an enjoyable series that has been jammed full with humorous moments, the odd sad time and a whole host of interesting characters we may or may not have seen before. Unfortunately this finale was marred by technical issues aplenty, such as speech being incomprehensible at times without subtitles being switched on and the bane of Telltale Games… the freezing up of the screen. It’s so disappointing when these issues were previously rarely experienced in Tales from the Borderlands.
Nevertheless it was entertaining from episode one right up to this season finale and even if there aren’t any more tales for Fiona and Rhys, I sure hope there’s a second season to explore more characters within this wonderful world. If you love Borderlands then this series is a must have, but should you be new to Pandora, then as long as you’re up for a laugh, don’t delay and go buy the full season right now.