Tales from the Borderlands is simply pretty much as good as I bear in mind – Destructoid
Or possibly even higher…
A few weeks in the past, I had the displeasure of reviewing Gearbox’s New Tales from the Borderlands. I attempt to give each sport I assessment the good thing about the doubt, however this sport simply saved letting me down many times and once more, and in the long run it turned out to be a reasonably depressing expertise — and I gave it a 3/10. The entire time I used to be enjoying, I couldn’t cease eager about how superior I believed the primary sport was, to the purpose that it’s considered one of my favourite video games of all time. Earlier than I even completed the primary episode of New Tales, I knew I had to return and see if the unique held up in the way in which that I believed it did.
Seems Alice Bell over at Rock Paper Shotgun and I feel alike, as a result of she had the very same concept. New Tales from the Borderlands was so unhealthy, it really made a couple of of us return to the unique to verify we hadn’t created some type of false, reverent reminiscence as a coping mechanism. However the conclusion is similar, and it appears to be unanimous: Tales from the Borderlands continues to be probably the greatest tales ever informed in a sport.
A way of momentum
Proper off the bat, the sport grabs you. It opens with this thriller of who kidnapped Rhys, one of many participant characters, and after a couple of quips, he launches right into a narration of how he received to the place he’s within the first place. The story will get rolling straight away, and it by no means actually slows down after that.
The dialogue is wise and snappy, and completely paced whereas additionally giving us exposition on the similar time. In comparison with New Tales‘ sluggish, clunky exposition dumps, the unique Tales’ sharp, centered writing is all of the extra noticeable. It’s additionally simply humorous as hell. There are nonetheless bits from this sport that I quote to this present day, and don’t even get me began on the finger weapons combat in Episode 4.
Then there’s the musical opening, and whereas all of them are significantly nice (shout out to the slo-mo rocket launch sequence from episode 4 — the whole lot of the penultimate episode is nothing wanting glorious, truthfully), however episode 1’s heavy beat and funky synth banger “Busy Earnin’” by Jungle is can be a kind of gaming moments I bear in mind for the remainder of my life. It simply units the tone for the whole sequence, the music is dripping with model and swag, and it actually hammers residence the sensation that there’s a complete journey forward of you. Perfection.
That sense of momentum is maintained all through the whole remainder of the sequence, apart from possibly the final half of the ultimate episode, which I can excuse as a result of it makes method for probably the most video game-y part of Tales — the ultimate boss combat. In any other case, the remainder of the episodes are jam-packed with plans, obstacles, and random happenstances that ship the group reeling, after which we’ve a blast seeing how they handle to scrape by and ultimately come out on high.
One significantly intelligent story approach they used a couple of instances was having the characters lay out their plan, after which use that to relate them really finishing up these components of the plan, which is simply environment friendly writing in my view. They don’t waste a second of my time, not to mention hours at a time like one other sport I can consider.
Trigger and impact
Proper off the bat, we all know precisely who the characters are and what they’re after. As their targets slowly shift because the sequence go on, we are able to see who they’re altering, in real-time, as they react to and cope with the circumstances which might be positioned in entrance of them. In fact, you as a participant are a part of shaping that arc, and the sport feels satisfying and reactive each step of the way in which.
I by no means understood the criticism of the “they may do not forget that” messages within the high nook of the display, particularly with regard to Tales. The Telltale devs get superior mileage out of the mechanic, by continuously altering up how they use it for the sake of jokes, and, extra sparingly, impactful emotional moments.
One thing else that shocked me after I began Tales from the Borderlands is how typically you work together with the sport. It’s child stuff in comparison with full-on motion video games, nevertheless it may as effectively have been Breath of the Wild subsequent to New Tales from the Borderlands. You have got dialogue decisions actually typically, generally as many as three or 4 decisions a minute, and also you spend a superb period of time every episode exploring the surroundings and doing a little point-and-click stuff. Once more, it’s fairly fundamental, nevertheless it’s far and away extra interplay than you get in New Tales.
You don’t know Jack
I additionally must take a second to speak about how insanely good Jack’s dying scene is. Good-looking Jack is already lifeless as of Borderlands 2, however he makes a posthumous return as an AI residing inside Rhys’ head in Tales from the Borderlands. Not solely are the entire exchanges between Rhys and Jack glorious all through the entire sport, however their remaining confrontation is one thing straight out of Shakespeare’s bibliography, and I don’t say that calmly.
Whereas Rhys began out as nothing greater than a fanboy, he’s discovered and grown quite a bit since his first encounter with Jack. Plus, you understand, he doesn’t need to die in order that Jack can simply his physique as his personal private meat puppet. That’s much less sexual than it sounds. Anyway.
An final confrontation within the wrecked stays of Helios, paired off with skilled cinematography, thrilling, existential writing, and stellar performances from Troy Baker and Dameon Clarke make for a number of the finest storytelling in video games you’re ever going to see. I imply, we get Good-looking Jack considering the true nature of dying and Rhys ripping out his personal arm and eye to kill his nemesis as soon as and for all. What extra might you probably need? That’s peak drama, child.
I didn’t misremember… Tales is the GOAT
Tales from the Borderlands has all the time caught in my thoughts as considered one of my favourite video games of all time, however I don’t suppose I noticed within the years since I’ve performed it how a lot it caught with me, and even influenced my very own writing sensibilities. It’s a fast-paced, ridiculous journey, however at its core it’s a extremely transferring character piece that manages to provide every considered one of its characters a compelling arc, even exterior of the principle six solid members.
I might proceed to sing its praises for 1000’s extra phrases, however you get it. Simply go play it, and in the event you’ve performed it earlier than, play it once more. Telltale was on some next-level shit within the first half of the 2010s, however in the event you ask me, Tales from the Borderlands is their finest work.
Story Beat is a weekly column discussing something and every part to do with storytelling in video video games.