Most gamers over the last eight years have had some experience with Gearbox’s Borderland’s franchise in one way or the other, whether it be in the main three games, running about and shooting (and shooting some more) some weird and wonderful characters in some even weirder locations, or in the original Tales from the Borderlands from Telltale Games, in a less shooty, more talking but still weird and wonderful narrative choice game.
Over the pandemic and ensuing lockdown, Gearbox made the choice to essentially reboot the Tales from the Borderlands game, but this time handling the development process themselves.
New Tales from the Borderlands – Same Zany Humor
If you’ve played the original Tales from the Borderlands, you’ll know how well Telltale Games took the world of Borderlands and made it fit their particular style of narrative storytelling. Even if you haven’t played the original, you’ll more than likely know the absolutely ridiculous scene involving finger guns and far too many willing participants in the fake shootout.
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When loading up New Tales from the Borderlands, my main thought was whether or not Gearbox could capture the same magic as the first, and thankfully I’m glad to say that for the most part, they really did.
If you’re not familiar with the story, the game is set entirely in the extended Borderlands universe we know and love. The ever-present narrator Marcus guides us through the story, which involves the evil weapon manufacturer Tediore, vault guardians, unknown and dangerous alien artifacts, and the off-kilter side characters the franchise is known for; in this case, the two stand outs being Stapleface, an overly affectionate Psycho, and Brock, a sentient, talking gun who obsesses over one of the three protagonists, insisting that they are one another’s nemesis.
Talking of the three protagonists, throughout the game control between them swaps as the story needs it, ensuring you never get too much, or some times, enough time with the characters. Fran is a flirtatious, anger-ridden, middle-aged woman who runs a frogurt shop, what’s left of it that is; Anu is an Atlas scientist, forever stuck with doing what’s right and best for the world, whilst terrified of breaking rules and serving herself and her own ends, and Octavio is the younger brother of Anu, a streetwise, smart-talking failing grifter who has aspirations far above his abilities, but never lets that stop him.
As you play through the game, you’ll notice the standard narrative gameplay, from choosing how to respond, to whether or not to murder someone, let them go or just hobble them. Whilst the game doesn’t break any new ground in the genre with its core gameplay, with the emphasis being on choice and the odd quick-time event, the real driving force behind the game is the characters, the locations, the interactions and relationships with those you meet, and the ability to cuss out the other protagonists if you so wish, although be careful, you’ll hurt your ‘skateboard rating’!
New Tales from the Borderlands isn’t particularly long either, but every second is well used and there’s rarely a moment to get bored, and come the credits rolling, you’ll find yourself wanting more, which is the sign of every good piece of media… ‘always leave them wanting more’.
New Tales from the Borderlands was played on a physical copy supplied by PremierComms.