Genre: Interactive adventure, animated series, choose and click
Release Date: 2014-2015
Developer / Publisher: Telltale Games
Tales from the Borderlands takes place on Planet Pandora and is based on the first person shooter of the same name. Set in cowboy science fiction Wild West in the far future, Tales of the Borderlands stars an unlikely and likable duo of Fiona, a con artist and a file and rank corporate clerk, Rhys. With demented bandits, corporate goons and monstrous local fauna chasing them, Fiona and Rhys will have to set aside their misgivings to chase the riches of the mysterious Traveller’s Vault. Tales from the Borderlands was originally released in five successive episodes over a one year period.
Playability: Enjoy the show
With the exception of a basic command of the English language and an open mind, Tales from the Borderlands requires minimal skills to complete. As a player, you’re able to move Fiona and Rhys around and interact with objects and people. This interactive adventure focuses on choices and dialogues rather than pure gameplay. Pressing the Q key repetitively to fill up an action metre is probably the most challenging part but is well within reach of your average aging video gamer. Rather than a point and click adventure, Tales of the Borderlands is better described as a very approachable choose and click adventure.
Annoyance: Wait for the next episode of constant banter
Each of the first four episodes of Tales from the Borderlands ends with the main heroes in precarious situations. Waiting for the next episode is not as bad as waiting for the next tome from George Martin, and anyway all five episodes are available now. What happens next? Did you make the right choice? It turns out that there is no right or wrong choice, as all the main elements of the plot are set in stone. Regardless of your decisions, the ending will be roughly the same, but you do get different dialogues and reactions from other characters. In that respect, Tales of the Borderlands is very crafty at creating the illusion that choices matter.
Beauty: Very cool animations
Most of the time, Tales from the Borderlands doesn’t feel like a game but more like an animation film. If it weren’t for pressing the Q key or participating in dialogues, you could just sit back and enjoy the show. I would have liked to watch a rerun of the whole game without player’s input once I had successfully completed the story. Tales from the Borderlands has cool colourful drawings, smooth animation, engaging voice acting and a groovy soundtrack. There is a fair amount of gratuitous violence, but brain, humour and feelings generally dominate the storyline.
The Old Video Gamer’s Prattle: Binge watching an interactive TV soap 7/10
If you’re a fan of American TV shows, e.g “the man in the iron high house dead walking on the boardwalk”, then Tales of the Borderlands will have all the required accoutrements to temporarily satiate your needs for more episodic drama. I hesitate to call Tales of the Borderlands a game, as I hesitate to call it a TV show. It sits somewhere between passive consumption of media and active involvement in gameplay. The chitty chatty banter is innocuous but does feel a little contrived. Tales of the Borderlands is perfect for stress free entertainment, but you do feel a bit bloated after watching all the episodes in one go.