This exciting second episode from Telltale Games picks up immediately where the first left off. More blood is placed on our unlikely heroes hands, if you can really call them heroes that is. Charming personalities must once again fight against their own instincts to come up with some kind of way to trust each other. Trust, it seems, is the only factor holding people together in a world full of chaos and constantly shifting goal posts. Of course, depending on the decisions you’ve made in the first episode of Tales From the Borderlands, the experience you get in Episode 2 may vary a bit. One thing you can count on though is another driving scene, complete with high anxiety, defensive violence, and some very unexpected turns (please forgive me for the pun, I don’t use them often).
There’s also a bit of detective work involved in this one. Those of you who have played the first have plenty of questions and you just might catch some of the answers in this episode – if you choose the right behaviors of course. Plenty of near-death situations will have players guessing how they’ll make it out of Atlus Mugged alive, and it all comes down to which options were chosen in the past. Cutting off nose to spite the face is something that Telltale seems to want to teach us about. Unfortunately life isn’t so easy on Pandora and much like real life on Earth, retrospectives are 20/20 whereas living in the now is not.
Friendships Will Be Tested, Hang On Tight…
While attempting to avoid spoilers as to how the game ends up taking us there, I will say that players get to see a bunch of new locales including one I had really hoped for – Hollow Point. In case you didn’t know or forgot (you’re only human, I mean this website reaches just humans still right? Or have we gone inter-galactic and nobody told me yet? Jermain!!!)
Hollow Point is the hometown of Sasha and Fiona, named after the fact it’s a freaking dark and dusty cave. The place was just as quaint and fascinatingly glum as players remember from Episode 1’s brief encounter, but this time a totally ambitious and flawlessly executed action scene takes place there. Players will also visit Old Haven in attempts to get something of value to redeem all of the death, danger, and hard work that has brought them to this point – but instead find something else.
Graphically the game has obviously been given a lot of love. It would be a real challenge to spot any imperfections at all. Even though Tales From The Borderlands is cell-shaded, there are many moments where environments, animations, characters, and even their facial expressions look photo-realistic. I’ve talked enough about Gameplay, but it should be noted that some interesting soundtrack selections were made as well and they fit the mood.
Look At That Discoloration, LOOK AT IT!!! No Idea Why, But Look!!!
Voice acting is probably more important than anything besides the fact that the flow of gameplay is perfect. Personal favorites of mine are Patrick Warburton as Vasquez and Dameon Clarke as Handsome Jack but I would be remiss not to mention Bradford Jackson giving an actual, believable wacky character voice for Shade (which I assume is no easy feat). Nolan North plays August while Erin Yvette performs excellently as Sasha showing great emotion, and Chris Hardwick as Vaughn is commendable. You can’t even recognize him, which to me is an accomplishment, since he’s really acting convincingly and becoming Vaughn. The two lead roles are done very well but are easy to take for granted since the player feels like they ARE Fiona and Rhys who are voiced by Laura Bailey and Troy Baker respectively.
I had to dock the score slightly for the fact that the game had a few (non-game breaking) glitches including random screen tearing, pieces of the ground floating mid-air, and jumpy pixels that thankfully straightened themselves out and didn’t happen during a fight for dear life.
Another improvement that could be made besides polishing out bugs like this is the doing away with of restricted camera angles when using the ECHO Eye. It felt annoying to walk around and aim at different parts of the game world only to have the same exact camera angle when entering the ECHO Eye. It’s understandable why camera angles are limited at times, but it would be nice if it happened less often.
Explosions, Blood, and Guts are plentiful. Yum!!!
I’m going to be honest, there are moments of shooting in this game. Don’t get your expectations set up wrong though, it’s not what you think. Quick, in-the-moment decisions must be made that involve firing guns and sometimes aiming them. These are not even the most exciting points of the title, but are surely appreciated and enhance it that much further. Tales From The Borderlands is still not a shooter though and is very much true to its point and click adventure roots. That much should be understood before purchasing. As long as you’re cool with that, don’t hesitate to experience this awesome game.
Players that look for the easy option and try to play through Episode 2 as quickly as possibly always have that ability at their fingertips. Telltale Games are a cruel mistress as they lay before you the tools to create your own destruction. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread, and taking this attitude often has dire consequences. But hey, you’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelette right? Either way, the game will force you onto the edge of your seat more than once during this slice of interactive Borderlands lore.
Don’t Let Go Of Your Loyalty, You’ll Probably Regret It…
In terms of Replay Value, players are able to maintain multiple save files at once. This allows for seeing what would have happened if the choices you made were very different. I managed to get all of the Achievements with just one play-through, but in order to see many various outcomes players need to try that feature out. Of course this is more of an interactive movie style experience, but I would go as far as to say Telltale does a much better than other titles in the category in that they keep the action pumping and the story flowing preventing that feeling of “I’m watching more than playing” from ever occurring. This is especially true in Tales From The Borderlands, and for that I am very thankful.
If you haven’t played the first one yet, you should know that both episodes of Tales From The Borderlands that are currently out have an excellent story to tell that adds life to the Borderlands franchise in ways I never thought possible, gives players’ heartstrings a gentle pull, and then a smack of adrenaline. Taking the objectives of our characters back and forth in a realistic way that people can relate to, seeing things from two perspectives, and skipping the quiet moments for a focus on action sequences makes Tales From The Borderlands a ride you won’t forget.
The second episode Atlus Mugged pace is kept steady and shots are fired. Treasures are grabbed, and even if you’re in a rush of some sort there’s enough hours in the experience to outweigh a television show with a superior narrative and exciting interactive segments filling out almost every moment nicely. The ending hits with only mere seconds to make a decision that will surely effect a lot more than just Episode 3, and yet… even the first outcomes of that choice are not revealed. Instead, players are faced with the cliffhanger of a lifetime and must wait on as Tales From The Borderlands’ continuation is prepared by the fine folks at Telltale Games who won’t stop yelling at me for skipping the credits. Bravo team, bravo.
Overall Score: 8.75 / 10
RGN Rating: Silver Game
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games (Digital) / 2K Games
Available On: XO | PS4 | Windows PC | Mac OS X | PS3 | 360
Mobile Version Available On: FireOS | Android | iOS
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this Review.