#New Tales from the Borderlands – Destructoid
New Tales from the Borderlands – Destructoid
I didn’t need to have to do that, however they gave me no selection
I used to be actually excited to get to do the New Tales from the Borderlands evaluate for Destructoid. Telltale’s Tales from the Borderlands is an all-time favourite of mine that I’ve performed via a number of instances, and whereas I used to be upset to see that Gearbox’s tackle Tales wouldn’t proceed Rhys, Fiona, and Sasha’s story, I used to be optimistic that the sequel could be an pleasant expertise. How fallacious I used to be.
As I made my method via every subsequent episode, I regretted taking over this evaluate increasingly. Now I’m tasked with detailing what a torturous expertise this was, and to be the bearer of unhealthy information. And sure incur some wrath from those that need to defend this sizzling mess.
I actually don’t even know the place to begin.
New Tales from the Borderlands (PC, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Swap, Xbox One, Xbox Collection X|S)
Developer: Gearbox Software program
Launched: October 21, 2022
Does this even rely as a narrative?
The pacing of this sport is so, so gradual. Narratively talking, it takes without end to do every little thing. Most of this sport options the characters standing in the identical constructing and speaking — even one of many huge battle sequences had the characters stopping and speaking each different second. Within the last episodes, the place the story is meant to be at its most climactic and enthralling, it might have been slogged down by the snail pacing if what was happening made any sense in any respect.
A significant plot level hinges on a montage of the characters sitting round and killing time. Within the last episode, one of many essential characters actually says they’re wandering round and doing nothing particularly. I don’t know who informed the writers that I needed to do chores and take care of an insurance coverage declare in a Borderlands sport with none kind of comedic twist, however they had been sorely, sorely mistaken.
When it got here to the precise pace of the traces delivered, or the pauses between traces, it additionally felt like every little thing was shifting in slo-mo. I don’t know if it was an issue with the engine not loading issues quick sufficient, however I felt like I used to be trudging via molasses the entire time.
Not one of the characters have arcs in any respect. Character-wise, they don’t change or have any type of introspection (till some over-the-top scenes towards the top). The relationships aren’t developed in any significant or fascinating method. One of many facet characters had a considerably fascinating little semblance of an arc, however they use him so sparingly that it loses most of its impression. Some characters are launched within the first episode after which by no means present up once more besides within the finale of the entire story. Threads are launched and deserted, or introduced up in a method that may counsel some sort of significance that was by no means arrange beforehand.
The ultimate episodes attempt to pull off some emotional character moments, however once they haven’t been explored or arrange nicely within the first few episodes, they really feel melodramatic and hole. Plus the tone is tremendous awkward and bizarre within the scenes themselves, so that they don’t even work out of context, both. It actually appears like somebody gave a 15-year-old the reins of one of many largest collection in gaming and hoped for one of the best.
The journey would decelerate to elucidate to me issues that had simply occurred, or would hold beating me over the top with the identical level repeatedly. That’s a daring transfer when the story doesn’t even have its personal inside logic. In a single scene, a personality conveniently fails to acknowledge the constructing the place he has labored for years, owned by the lady who principally took him in as her son, which finally ends up screwing everybody over. Critically?
The character motivations don’t make any sense to me, both. I don’t need to spoil something, however the concept of who these characters are in a world as violent and horrible because the Borderlands universe is inherently humorous. In execution, they’re the driest, most uninteresting characters I’ve seen in a sport in a very long time. They by no means have one huge aim that they’re working towards collectively, and the person character motivations by no means get much less imprecise than, “save the world” or “begin a profitable enterprise.”
The primary three episodes, although boring as all hell, are a minimum of… sort of… one thing? They don’t actually add something to the characters or construct upon the narrative in any method or have any sense of trigger and impact when it got here to the storytelling, however they a minimum of weren’t incoherent. Issues actually went off the rails with the ultimate two episodes, nevertheless.
Is it kink-shaming if it’s shameless within the first place?
It pains me to even have to speak about this, however the individuals have to know. Episode 4 of New Tales from the Borderlands is stuffed with bizarre kink/fetish shit. I’m no prude, and if there’s a spot to make “edgy” intercourse jokes, Borderlands is the place to do it. However oh my god, nothing about it was humorous, or cheeky, or pleasant in any method. It was simply awkward and gross and made me deeply, deeply uncomfortable.
That episode alone evoked pee stuff, milking, drive feeding, restraints and domination, public humiliation, a robotic absolutely simply having a protracted orgasm in entrance of everybody, and an anal rape joke about mentioned robotic getting STDs. That doesn’t embody different situations like allusions to necrophilia, and one of many essential characters brazenly stating she desires to have intercourse along with her surrogate son on a number of events. What the fuck? What the precise fuck?
There isn’t a Borderlands in my Borderlands sport
One of many best tragedies, although, is that New Tales from the Borderlands doesn’t even really feel like a Borderlands sport in any respect. It’s set within the Borderlands universe, it options characters from Borderlands, and there’s some violence such as you would see in Borderlands, however that’s about the place the similarities finish. The ultimate episodes particularly devolve into some ridiculous sci-fi/fantasy stuff you’d solely see in some D-tier anime, however not in a Borderlands sport.
I even have to speak about musical intros, as a result of the licensed music in Tales from the Borderlands is nothing in need of iconic. These songs have swagger, and a sure gritty groundedness that matches into the world very well. The songs in New Tales? Not a lot.
The songs had been both too bland, too on the nostril, or didn’t sound like actual songs in any respect. I commonly return and take heed to a playlist of all of the songs from the OG Tales, however I’ve a sense that received’t be the case this time round.
I feel it’s fairly protected to say that Borderlands is greatest recognized for its humorousness. Not each bit in each sport within the collection goes to land, certain, however Borderlands has at all times maintained a goofy, enjoyable spirit, whereas fairly persistently making us all chuckle on the very least. With regards to New Tales from the Borderlands, although, I can rely the variety of instances I laughed on one hand. It’s simply not a humorous sport.
It isn’t a narrative that works on any stage in anyway. Apparently, this sport was imagined to be about standing as much as huge companies? Or one thing? I suppose the villain of the sport is technically a CEO, however the story is just too incompetent to say something in any respect, not to mention something concerning the interior workings of making an attempt to dismantle capitalism. The found-family, therapeutic damaged relationships angle doesn’t work both when your characters don’t have any chemistry. Telling me they care about one another doesn’t make me consider it.
The story actually was so laughably unhealthy I might really feel myself going via all of the phases of grief as I performed. Though perhaps I haven’t accepted it but. I wouldn’t be fairly as harsh if the narrative wasn’t all it had, however it by some means has much less gameplay than the unique Telltale video games.
What concerning the gameplay?
“Okay, so the story was horrible, however perhaps the gameplay was alright?” I hear you asking. Properly, I hope you want disappointment, as a result of that’s all this sport persistently provides me.
New Tales from the Borderlands barely even qualifies as a sport — you’ll usually spend minutes at a time with none type of interplay in any respect. Perhaps in the event that they hadn’t used the “Tales from the Borderlands” it might have existed as its personal factor, however it’s clearly pulling from the success of the primary sport. What’s baffling to me, then, is why they wouldn’t considerably stick with the Telltale system.
The unique Telltale video games had a whole lot of point-and-click components, which had been pulled again to a minimal in New Tales from the Borderlands. Sections the place you truly get to stroll round and work together with the atmosphere are few and much between, they usually don’t add a lot besides to the runtime.
The traditional dialogue decisions are nonetheless there, however they had been additionally fewer and additional between than I’d have favored. On uncommon events they provided an fascinating tidbit, however for essentially the most half I discovered them to be fairly same-y and bland. I attempted to choose essentially the most out-there choices to see if they might give me any extra perception into the characters, however to no avail.
Aside from the literal climax, these huge decisions with penalties lasting the entire remainder of the sport additionally gave the impression to be lacking. Gearbox made a giant deal about eager to be much less apparent about whenever you’re making a large choice for the sake of immersion.
Certain, in concept, I might have been extra immersed if the story was nicely written and the alternatives had been compelling. However hiding huge decisions from the participant and never clearly coding how these decisions had been paying off made New Tales from the Borderlands really feel actually on rails, even when my playthrough would have appeared fully totally different to another person’s. Even the slightest little bit of transparency, like one thing so simple as a narrative tree on the finish of every episode a la Detroit: Grow to be Human would have been to their profit right here.
Everybody’s favourite, the short time occasions, actually take middle stage on this one — particularly whenever you issue within the new mini-game. The characters begin making a giant deal about these little collectible figurines you’ll find, and whenever you battle with them, it simply throws a bunch of QTEs at you and calls it a day. They had been additionally really easy I feel I obtained hit as soon as in one in all these fights in your complete collection. The preventing sport reference is cute the primary time, however it overstays its welcome actually quick.
In conclusion: I want I hadn’t performed it.
I’ve a number of positives: this sport appears actually good. It positively wanted extra of a cell-shaded look if it had been to precisely seize the Borderlands type, however with exception of some uninteresting settings, the animation, character artwork, and environments appeared good. It’s about what you’d count on to see as the following evolution of Telltale’s type. I additionally didn’t encounter any bugs throughout my playthrough, a minimum of that I observed, so on the very least it’s playable and has some stage of polish. Hooray.
I’m certain there will likely be individuals on the market who’ve a greater time with this than I did (something higher than pure distress will do), but when the final consensus is that this sport is common or above, I will likely be baffled. There are such a lot of different issues I might discuss right here, however actually, ultimately I used to be mad that this sport wasted a lot of my time. It’s actually not well worth the $40, that’s for certain. If I didn’t have to complete it for this evaluate, I’d have probably dipped out after the primary hour.
I want I might say I nailed New Tales of from the Borderlands with a nasty rating as a result of I used to be holding it to the next normal as a result of it was developed by Gearbox, and that it had loads to reside as much as by following the unique Tales. These issues could also be true, however this sport is a soulless slog no matter who made it or what collection it’s part of.
Should you’re asking my opinion, don’t play New Tales of from the Borderlands. Or perhaps pool your cash along with your mates and do it in like an ironic, The Room-style playthrough. Fortunately this sport received’t detract from my enjoyment of the unique Tales, however it’s an actual disgrace to consider how this might have constructed on that first sport. In contrast to its predecessor, I don’t suppose New Tales from the Borderlands is a title I’ll ever be returning to.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]