Tales From The Borderlands Episode 1 Review


Tales From The Borderlands Episode 1, the latest game from TellTale Games, is a brilliantly written story that is designed to be enjoyed by both veterans and newcomers to the world of Pandora.

Tales From The Borderlands tells the story of Rhys, a Hyperion corporate ladder climber, and Fiona, a Pandoran con woman. Both have been captured, and are re-telling their story to the person who is keeping them as prisoners.

The result is a Rashomon-esque story full of contradictory details of just how things happened. For example: Rhys version of one event has him giving an amazing speech to save a deal that is falling apart. Riona’s version involves Rhys doing a lot of begging and acting pathetic. These contradictions are often hilarious.

Unlike most TellTale games, Tales From the Borderlands isn’t a dark story. While there’s some dark elements here and there, it is mostly an action-comedy.

The plot is brilliantly written. It seems to intensionally set up plot points to be cheesy cliches, only to yank them out from under the characters in a fireball of awesomeness.

The point and click mechanics of other TellTale games are still present, but the game is more action action oriented than their other titles. Characters can actually die if button presses aren’t entered fast enough. Since the story is a re-telling of the events, this just annoys the interrogator who tell the Rhys or Fiona to “try again” since they clearly didn’t die.

Between the action sequences though, there is a lot of down time. Long stretches of the game can go by where the only thing that required of the player is to pick a couple of dialog choices. Each dialog choice matters, but at those times you’ll still be doing more watching than playing.

My wife watched me play for a bit and the describe it as an “interactive movie more than a game.” I wouldn’t use that description, but there is also a bit of truth to it as well.

I should add that I was initially apprehensive of reviewing this title. I never played the any of the three Borderlands games, and I was worried that my lack of knowledge of series would interfere with my ability to understand what was going on.

Luckily that wasn’t the case at all. Tales From The Borderlands both doesn’t assume that you know anything about the world of Pandora, and also doesn’t beat you over the head with background from the world.

Apparently there are cameos from other characters of the series, but since this the story is about an entirely new group of characters, it doesn’t matter if you don’t recognize the older ones.

The characters are brilliantly written and directed, and TellTale hired some of the best voice actors in the gaming industry to carry the lead roles. Both Troy Baker (Joel from The Last of Us) and Laura Bailey (whose been in so many great roles I couldn’t pick one to highlight) deliver solid performances throughout.

The result is great comedic timing and feel in a story that also contains a great deal of action. I definitely came away from playing this wanting more, and will be excited for the next episode when it is released.

The Verdict

+ Great writing and voice acting

+ The start of an interesting plot

+ Fun action sequences

– Lots of sitting and watching

A copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purpose of this review. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.