Telltale games have carved a nice little niche for themselves. They’re mostly known for one type of game, but the business they’re doing with other companies, it’s almost like they’re a marketing company, piggybacking onto other franchises to give a deeper view into that series. That makes is sound more cynical that I meant it to, I really enjoy the games Telltale puts out and are very good at what they do
There was once a time where Sam and Max was the series most associated with Telltale. These days, they’ve got fingers in in all kinds of pies; The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Minecraft, Back to the Future and Borderlands, they’re taking series people already love and expanding on them, or letting us see them from different perspectives.
Of the games they’ve produced so far, my favourite by far is the Tales of the Borderlands. A game that came out of nowhere and made a “Telltale” game out one of the most unlikely games possible. I already loved the Borderlands series, the Mad Max inspired wastelands, roamed by babbling manmen and psychopaths, who get into gunfights with wisecracking and pop culture referencing manmen and psychopaths. It’s a series that would be really grim, if it wasn’t so absurd.
I know that Borderlands isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Some see it as reference heavy internet humor. Which I’ll agree with to some extent, but that isn’t the pure extent to what the tone of the series is. It’s cast of characters are real people with history and personalities and they’re not perfect, because they’re written as people and not characters.
This is usually all secondary to the real focus of Borderlands. Normally, you’ll spend most of your time putting bullets into peoples faces or comparing stats on firearms that relinquish said bullets. Tales from the Borderlands is a (somewhat) quieter tale, rather than playing as an all powerful Vault Hunter, the main characters are a pencil pushing company man and a fast talking con-artist. Neither of which are going to clear a room of bandits with randomly generating guns.
Rhys and Fiona spend the majority of the first four episodes in over their heads, getting through with their heads still attached just using luck and guile. But as the story progresses and the player starts to dictate the characters they become through choices, it becomes apparent the pair might just be destined for something more. It’s not just them though, a fantastic cast of characters has been built for this game, all of which I am 100% behind, even if their goals are opposed. Even the villains are charming as hell.
I just finished playing Episode 4, and was compelled to sing the game’s praises. After another of the fantastic musical intro sequences, it goes from being slapsticky, to triumphant, to tragic, then touching. It goes on like this cycling through absurd humour, great references to the main game and then will give you a gut punch of feels you didn’t see coming.
If you want to know what this series is in a nutshell, I’d recommend watching any of these musical intros, they’re the best thing about the games.
Tales is a surprising emotional roller coaster, and while the ending of the first season of the Walking Dead was also an emotional blow, this game manages to do that nearly every episode. Except with the draining tension swapped with hilarity and characters I actually liked. I’m being pretty vague about all of this because I really think it’s best to go into these types of games cold, and not have any of the events ruined for you.
I know I’m probably too close to the Borderlands series to be as impartial as I probably could be, but even without having that knowledge, I strongly urge anyone reading this to go out and buy Tales from the Borderlands, because it’s friggin’ fantastic and the final episode is right around the corner (hopefully).