Telltale Games have begun a new journey into the wacky world of Borderlands for their next epic graphic adventure. Teaming up with Gearbox Software and 2K Games, the plan is to release a five-part episodic game in the form of Tales From The Borderlands. Can it live up to the high expectations that Telltale have already garnered from The Walking Dead series?
This is the opener and has to hit the ground running to lure people into wanting to uncover the entire season’s story. In episode one “Zer0 Sum” it’s about getting to know the two characters that you’ll be following throughout its entirety; Rhys and Fiona.
Rhys is the company man who works his butt off to climb the ranks at Hyperion to reach the very top; it is never that simple though and he’s about to find that out. On the flipside is the more rogue-like Fiona, she scavenges and cons people for all she can with her little team of hustlers in order to survive on Pandora. Set after the events witnessed in the Borderlands 2 video game, these two opposites get thrown together by pure chance. The rest is history… or will be once you’ve heard their story.
Without spoiling anything I must say it was a highly engaging episode in more ways than one. Given that it’s a story that is shaped by your decisions you have to think fast on your feet at all times with just a limited time to initiate any interaction that is needed. One of these interactions is the conversational choices; what was most rewarding was taking in what other characters had said and then remembering and using this to help you decide how to answer or respond. It means you have to pay close attention for fear of tripping yourself up, especially if you’ve told a porky pie, otherwise there could be trouble.
Choosing what to say is nowhere near the more pressurised situation where the QTEs are concerned though. These arise at the most frantic moments in the world of Pandora, where the madness is cranked up, with your life and those of your friends being in real danger… which is just a normal day for most of the deranged maniacs hanging around. And although it can just be a simple swipe of the analog stick, you feel pretty darn great when your influence pays off and something super sweet happens.
There is also an element of searching and looking around a few small areas, where those with a keen eye (like Rhys, he’s got an ECHO eye) will learn some funny facts about various beings and items. Not the most exciting side of Borderlands but interesting nonetheless. One thing is for sure, you’ll get strange looks when you’re sat playing and chuckling to yourself with the humour in the script, whether spoken or read it’s a bloody funny game. At all the right times too.
Anyone who loved the quirky and intriguing characters seen in the Gearbox games won’t be disappointed as each one, even the slightly useless sidekick Vaughn, has a distinctive look or sound that makes them unforgettable. There isn’t a single one I didn’t at least like the way they’ve been designed or casted; however there was one who deserves a special mention and that is Vasquez. Voiced by Patrick Warburton (Family Guy, The Venture Bros.), he gives off an immediate feel of being really arrogant and pompous, basically everything you’d expect those higher up at Hyperion to be.
So far this sounds as if I have some sort of positivity complex, where episode one can do no wrong and I’d love to agree but here comes the gloom. Telltale have only got themselves to blame too because just like in my playthrough attempts of The Walking Dead game, there’s technical issues. At first it was getting stuck to the point where I’d have to quit and reload. Then the further I got through the roughly two hour long story the character’s mouths stopped moving and bodies would glitch out so things like arms would be stuck inside an item.
It’s a fantastic way to kick off the new adventure which managed to pace itself brilliantly from the standard chit chat to the high octane action (that really gets the adrenaline going while the blood is flowing). I’m excited for the next episode but the technical issues left a slightly bitter taste to the experience. Pick it up and join in for the bumpiest ride of your life.