Why You Should CATCH-A-RIDE On The Tales From The Borderlands Train

If you didn't understand the Pandorian slang that was the title, let me translate. You should play Tales From the Borderlands right now. It's one of the recent additions to the Telltale Games library, and it quickly became an unprecedented contender for one of the best games of the year. All across the board, players and major game reviewers have been surprised at the impacts this game had, and the well-rounded experience it provided. Below are some of the reasons why you should catch-a-ride with everyone else on the adventure that is Tales From the Borderlands. 

Get ready for a wild ride! 

1) You don't have to love Borderlands to love this game, and if you do, you will just love this game even more.

Borderlands was a major series in itself before this existed. Who knew that a first-person shooter/multiplayer game could be translated to this genre? It works because the original games were so rich in their environments and gameplay compared to the other major first person-shooters. Borderlands never took the opportunity to completely delve into characterizations and story, and this game fixes that by taking the time to look at the individuals invovled in the world of Pandora. 

If you have played Borderlands before, you will already have a deep connection with the characters that have been in the series. Some of your favorite vault hunters and villains make a strong comeback as we get a glimpse into their lives post the Handsome Jack era. This game takes place after the events of Borderlands 2 and contains a wide range of characters from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel as well. Fans of the series will be able to appreciate the references and easter eggs hidden throughout the game.

In my own experience, I'd only played a little of Borderlands 2 before purchasing the first episode, but the story was still clear enough for me to understand and appreciate it. This actually piqued my interest in the series like never before. I rushed to finish Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, just to get a better idea of the characters and the background for Pandora and the Vault Hunters. While I recommend plaything the original Borderlands games first, you don't have to if you don't want to.

Remember Zero? He and many of your favorite vault hunters will join this adventure. The beginning is even narrated by your favorite weapons dealer, Marcus Kincaid.

2) The story is surprisingly deep and awesome.

Without giving too much away, here's the gist of the game. You begin as Rhys, a "Company Man" who has spent his entire career in Hyperion trying to emulate his idol...Handsome Jack. After being duped out of a promotion, he plots a comeback with his best friend and a deal with the infamous vault key. 

The other main character is Fiona, who lives with her sister Sasha, and guardian Felix, and they make a living by conning. They're about to pull their biggest heist yet, trading a fake vault key. The paths of Rhys and Fiona intertwine in one giant hot mess that they spend the rest of the game trying to untangle. Very successfully. 

This game has unexpected poignant moments as well. The tensions between Pandorians like Fiona and Sasha, and Hyperion men like Rhys are very complicated. Hyperion has caused so much trouble for the citizens of Pandora, and they often distrust people like Rhys because of this. He can either work to prove their trust is well-placed, or completely lie and betray everything they've worked for and ruin relationships and friendships. Putting the words "Borderlands" and "serious" in the same sentence may seem like a joke, but many things, including lives and the fate of Pandora, are at stake as Rhys and Fiona work together to stop Hyperion and other antagonists from abusing the powers of the vault. You will still laugh, however. The great thing about this game is that it never takes itself too seriously most of the time. 

Are you eyeing my sister?
3) It's action filled, and it looks gooooood. 

Like every Telltale Game, there are the token action sequences. If you're not speaking in this game, you're exploring and and doing some extremely variable quick time events. Luckily the worlds of Pandora, Hyperion and the moon Elpis are a perfect setting for action as you're costantly hassled by bandits, psychos and scavs. Since this was based off of a first-person shooter, the liveliness doesn't feel out of place at all.

This game is also unique because it's one of the only Telltale Games that switches perspectives between two main characters. Other Telltale series, like Game of Thrones, take on this formula. However, there are so many characters involved in that GOT, it sometimes prevents the player from really getting to know them, and it forces the game to be a lot more expansive. The switches are also on different chapters and episodes. In Tales From the Borderlands, you can really be switched at anytime during the game, giving an interesting perspective and immersion into the dialogue. Physically during the action sequences, Rhys and Fiona vary significantly too. One is certainly more awkward and clumsy than the other, be prepared to make that change on a dime and prepare for times when controls switch dramatically.

Tales from the Borderlands also looks amazing. The unique art style is perfect for the Telltale style, resembling a moving comic book. The colors are vivid and contrasting, and flow perfectly for the animations and action sequences. 

4) It's easily one of Telltale Games' best releases.

I'm a big fan of the company, and I've played almost all of the Telltale Game realeases since the first season of The Walking Dead. Since The Walking Dead, I didn't think they could top the brilliant ending and overall experience of the first season, but boy was I wrong. 

The key difference with Tales From the Borderlands and other Telltale Games releases, is that I wasn't filled with dread or sadness at the end of each chapter. This game shows how shock factor isn't always necessary to make a good story. It ends on a very positive note, and the player gets a satisfying and well-earned ending that doesn't feel like all of the previous efforts were put to waste. Everything was well placed and the things that needed to be clarified and closed were. And they even gave us just enough details in the final chapters to long for more...and hint at a second season.

Even if you don't want to play for the game...that's okay. You could at least play to hear the awesome music artists used during the intro and outro sequences. Random instertion there, I know, but worth it. The game is random, and the game is so worth it. Go play it. 

Written by: Rae Swain
Check out my Twitter @Kraeraenyeh 
Also check out my Tumblr at www.tumblr.com/blog/kraeraenyeh
I do not own the pictures above. They are screenshots from my own personal playthrough of Tales From the Borderlands, all rights belong to Telltale Games, Gearbox Software, and Aspyr.


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