Review: Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 2


Tales From The Borderlands Episode 2 from TellTale Games marks the return of the series’ excellent characters and humor.  While the story is less interesting this time around, it still delivers a highly enjoyable experience. 

Developer: Telltale Games

Publisher: 2K Games

Systems: Steam (reviewed version), PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, iOS, Android

Release Date: March 19th, 2015

After months of delays, Telltale game’s Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 2 has finally been released. This episode, titled Atlas Mugged, continues the story of Hyperion corporate stooge Rhys, con-woman Fiona, and their companions in search of a fabled Vault key.

If you are interested, I also reviewed the first episode of Tales from the Borderlands back in November.

Naturally, the story picks up where episode 1 left off. Except that it had been so long since Episode 1 came out, that I didn’t remember everything that had happened. Luckily, there’s a little movie at the start to fill you in on the main plot points, but some of the side characters are completely left out.

I actually had to stop and replay the first episode to figure out everything that was going on. Hopefully, Telltale fixes their release schedule issues. Otherwise, having to go back and re-play each 2.5 hour episode every time a new one is released is going to get annoying. I’m glad I did though, as some of the subtle character elements would have been missed otherwise.

The Rashomon-esque dual-storytelling continues, but there were very few times in which the two versions of events actually differed. While that isn’t necessarily a problem, those differences were the funniest parts of the first episode. I missed that layer of humor this time.

I shouldn’t complain about the comedy though. I literally laughed out loud multiple times. Fiona performs surgery with a spork. Rhys’ conversations with a character that only he can see while everyone else looks on. Vaughn’s six-pack making all the male character uncomfortable. There is almost no end of things to laugh at here.

Overall, Telltale’s take on the Borderlands games continued to be spot on. The humor and characters are incredibly well written, and the voice acting is extremely well done. There was definitely no letdown in that regard from the first episode to the second.

The same cannot be said about the plot. Everything starts out great, and the cliffhanger ending left me begging for Episode 3. The parts in between were not nearly as interesting.

In the middle portions of the game, the characters get separated and things really slow down. So much of the game’s humor comes from the two male characters and their general incompetence. The girls are simply too good at what they do, which makes them less compelling in a story that is driven by its humor.

This would have been a great time to develop Sasha and Fiona’s characters more. There easily could have been quirks added to them during this sequence that would have allowed them to become deeper and more interesting characters.

This is especially true for Sasha. We get that she’s really pissed at Felix for everything that happened in the first episode, but there needs to be more to her character than just her anger. There is a major contrast here to Vaughn, whose newfound love of danger added greatly to his super-nerd archetype beginning. (And seriously, what’s up with his abs?)

Instead, we are left with a bland period of the game. Interesting stuff happens, but the entire feel of the narrative changes in a way that isn’t positive.

The gameplay is the typical point-and-click affair you’ll find in all Telltale games. There is considerably more of this than in the first episode. Since Tales from the Borderlands is more action-orientated than their other titles, quick time events are included as well. Unfortunately, there are very few of them over the game’s 2.5 hour play time compared to the first episode.

Most of the game’s runtime consists of cutscenes where the only interactivity is choosing dialog choices. It would have been nice if it were clear that the choices actually mattered. Even the one time in which I had to choose which destination the characters went to, it only added one brief conservation to game.

The only other complaint is that this episode offered little in the way of actual plot. This was a road trip. The characters traveled from one place to another. It was an absolutely funny road trip, but clearly the best parts of the story are yet to come.

Hopefully, we won’t be waiting too long before we get to experience the rest of this story. At the current release rate, we won’t se the end of this story until well in 2016. The experience thus far has been too good to have to wait that long.


+ Absolutely hilarious

+ Voice acting remains top-notch

– Unclear if most choices actually matter

– Story is not as fun as the first episode

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