There are plenty of things to kill you on the planet of Pandora: the wildlife, bandits, and even $10,000,000. Or at least, that is if you are Rhys and Vaughn from Hyperion. The two of them are just a part of the cast in the first episode of Telltale’s Tales from the Borderlands. With such an easy way to get rich, what could go wrong?
Walking in His Shoes - Rhys and Vaughn are sure that it's their time to shine at Hyperion. With the death of Handsome Jack, there is plenty of room for advancement while everyone shuffles into place. Walking into his boss' office to talk about his new promotion, it's obvious some changes have been made. Things don't go quite as planned (do they ever?) and Rhys ends up at odds with his new boss.
His boss, Hugo Vasquez, really shines as a master of all douchebags just by the way he carries himself. The way he talks down to Rhys and even gloats about offing his predecessor. Overhearing a conversation, Rhys and Vaughn take it upon themselves to try and screw over Hugo. After landing on Pandora and meeting the locals, it's not as easy as they thought it would be. They meet up with August and Sasha, the two people who could change their life.
Everything Has a Price - This is a different kind of trip to Pandora. One not filled with an endless amount of guns, but instead with the characters themselves. Of course, it couldn't be with just a regular assortment of people. They had to belong in the world.
The characters are generally robust and have their own identity. It's not as cut and paste as it is in Borderlands 2. Each character has more than just a special talent that makes them unique. You get more of a chance to learn about the characters. One big way to capitalize on this was the voice talent they chose. That shouldn't be a surprise as most Telltale games do a great job with this aspect.
Remaining Silent is Still an Option - The Telltale conversation and QTEs (quick time events) are back. This is a system you either love or hate, depending on your feelings on QTEs. Tales from the Borderlands offers a variety of decisions made that separates itself from other Telltale games. It never felt rushed, but at the same time you knew you had to make a decision. Some decisions leave you either happy or a little upset, but others really didn't show any real consequences. It has always been Telltales style to make your choices come back to kick you later. It sucks not seeing the fruit of your labors right away, but it's all part of the bigger picture.
NOT ALL GUNS AND GLORY
Why Must the Universe Punish the Good? - Tales from the Borderlands has fun excitement, and even some dramatic themes, however, there is no such thing as a perfect game. Much like other Telltales games, the game has an issue with pacing. It felt like it took too long to get to exciting or interesting parts. The last 45 minutes of story are everything you could want them to be. It was fun and dangerous and didn't try to be too serious. Leading up to it was a chore that I wouldn't instantly sign up for again. After the game shifts from Rhys to Fiona, it slows down. It's important for story, but it wasn't as fun. It actually came down to it being predictable like it has been done before. It's inevitable, but something to shake it up and make it more interesting would have been nice.
Angry Eyes Detected - Not all the cast had its time to shine. Rhys was well explained and showed his character as cocky, but physically weak. You get to know him pretty well, and his relationship with Vaughn and Sasha only strengthen that. This is not the case for Fiona. It didn't seem like they got the most out of her time in the game. I came out of the episode wanting to know more about her. She is a hard ass when she needs to be, but you don't really get anything past that. With the next episode, I am hoping that Fiona's character is opened up and we can get a chance to really know her instead of just meet her.
With the first chapter coming in at a little over two hours, I was surprised how entertaining it was. This is not a typical Borderlands shoot and loot affair. There were actual conversations, not four people armed to the teeth with guns and grenades. That is where I was surprised the most, I think. The fact that a game world designed for carnage can also handle less-than-Rambo style characters. There are four more episodes to be released for this series. That gives us time to tie up loose ends from this episode and get into more trouble. While it wasn't perfect, I am happy with the way the franchise handled a different narrative.
*This review was based on the PC version of the game with a review code provided by the publisher.