Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Platforms: PC (reviewed version), PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, iOS, Android
Release Date: June 23
Tales from the Borderlands Episode Three, titled “Catch a Ride,” picks up the story right from where Episode 2 left off. Telltale games wasted no time in throwing us back into the action.
The most recent section of their story set in the Borderlands universe follows the same team of mostly incompetent would-be vault hunters. Somehow they find new ways screw things up while still managing to make significant progress in their quest to find a vault.
We’re also introduced to three new characters, two of which promise to have major roles for the last three episodes. This episode also takes the time to greatly develop some of the characters we already knew.
The action element of the game, which mostly went missing in Episode 2, was back in spades this time around.
One of my biggest complaints from Episode Two was that none of the choices that I was given seemed to matter. No matter what I picked for Rhys or Fiona to say, the conversations and events seemed to progress in a way where any choice would have led the down the same path.
Telltale fixed that in a big way here. They actually used the big choice that was made in the closing seconds of Episode 2 and then created two very distinctive plot directions for the opening chapter of this episode. It was definitely worth it to load up an older save file and see the other option.
The action element of the game, which mostly went missing in Episode 2, was back in spades this time around. This episode actually opens up with a nice action sequence. All three chapters of this part of the story were filled will things to shoot and bullets to dodge.
On the other hand, the comedy elements, which had been such a strong component of the first two episodes, definitely took a back seat this time around. There were jokes mixed in among the action. Loader Bot delivered some amazing one-liners, but there was definitely a lack of “pause the game until you stop laughing” moments.
A new character added to the team, a lovable and naïve little robot, was supposed to deliver some of the comedic elements. Unfortunately, it often came off as forced. The cute little gal had a very Jar Jar Binks feel at times that simply wasn’t as funny as I think it was supposed to be.
The loot aspect continues to feel like an afterthought overall. In Episode 2 we got to change the look of the team’s ride. This time, we get a chance to buy some new outfits for the characters. It is purely cosmetic, and feels entirely tacked on. TellTale would have been better off to simply leave the entire loot aspect out of this series.
An interesting twist this time around was a dramatic lack of balance in screen time for the two stars of the game. Rhys, had clearly pushed the story along in the first two episodes, but was rather quiet this time around.
Instead, Fiona took over and became the leading character. Perhaps that is only because this episode was mostly about her transition for con woman to vault hunter. Perhaps it is because he’s the most competent of the team and this episode had the most action. Either way, it was dramatic shift for the characters.
Speaking of the characters, both of the ladies on the team finally saw some true character development. The writers finally got around to giving Sasha a personality and Fiona has quickly grown into her role as the team’s leader.
The male characters definitely took a back seat here, which is fine. Rhys needed to share the spotlight, but made the most of his limited screen time. His new crush was especially well done, and added significant depth to his character.
Most importantly, Episode Three finally introduces us to Vallory. The Queenpin is clearly the main baddy in Tales from the Borderlands. There have been references to her in the first two episodes, but she finally comes in and takes over the overall direction of the plot here in Episode Three.
We are also starting to get some clues to the identity of the mask-wearing guy who has Rhys and Fiona captured. Both of them are starting to notice that he knows more than he’s letting on. The big reveal of his identity will likely come soon.
With that though, the storytelling has lost the Roshoman-esque style. Rhys and Fiona, who were at odds when the Episode One began, are now on the same page. This creates a simpler, more direct story. It also removes one of the best sources of humor from the first two episodes.
Episode Three also took the team to a beautiful new location. They traded in the wastelands and ruins for an amazing Atlas biodome full of all sort of new things to look at. It was a great new setting, and I’ll be sad to see them move on in the next Episode.
Overall, despite my complaints this is still my favorite episode so far of the series. The writing and characters are extremely well done. Telltale has done a great job of blending what they do best with the Borderlands source material. I’m left anxiously awaiting the next episode, and realizing that I care for this crazy group of characters more than I want to admit. Hopefully, it won’t be quite as long of a wait before they release the Episode Four.
A copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purpose of this review. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.