Review – Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 1 – Zero Sum


tales from the borderlands logo

 

Tales from the Borderlands box Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 1 – Zero Sum
 
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platforms: PS3, 360, PS4 (Reviewed), XBOne, PC, Vita, Mobile
Released: 11/25/14
Verdict: No loot? No problem!
Score: 8/10

 

I’m going to start this one off plain and simple: Tales from the Borderlands Episode 1 is easily my favorite entry in this series! Gone are the very internetty jokes that plagued the previous two entries (Pre-Sequel and 2, I’m looking at you) and in their place is some of the most clever writing I’ve come across in quite some time. If you’re familiar with Telltale Games previous… games, then you pretty much know what to expect in terms of gameplay. That statement is in no way negative! Telltale has crafted an excellent bitesized experience that introduces players to the new characters and situations in the crazy world of Pandora.
 
I fell in love with the Borderlands series pretty early on. With it’s clever mix of humor, exciting combat, and the loot. Oh, so much loot! It was really hard for me to put the first game down, even with it’s repetitive environments. By the time the second game had rolled around it became fairly obvious that the jokes being used were going to have a hard time carrying the torch for the long haul. Gone were the off key characters of the first game, and in their place were loads and loads of internet memes. That’s fine when you play a game when it comes out, but a year or two down the line and the game sort of loses it’s luster. So, when Telltale Games and Gearbox Software announced this collaboration I was pretty skeptical. Taking the best aspects of Borderlands out of Borderlands just sounded crazy.
 
tales rhys loaderbot
 
Within the first ten minutes of playing Tales from the Borderlands my outlook changed for the better. It was evident Telltale had their hand in the writing, but it really felt like I was playing the original Borderlands game again. The characters felt real, and relatable. Their banter and wit is second to none. Of course the situations these characters find themselves in fit the world of Pandora perfectly. Outlandish villains, insane psychos, and assholes surround our heroes at every beat. Everything is just as inventive as you’d expect from Gearbox, with the level of polish only Telltale can provide an adventure game.
 
If you’ve played any of Telltales previous games then you aren’t getting yourself into anything unexpected here. The big new changes is Left Stick directional prompts that help guide your heroes during the more “action” type sequences. You’re standing in front of a wall of guns, so instead of moving a cursor and selecting an alley to run to you’re prompted to move the left stick to the left. It’s simple and streamlines the gameplay to a level never before seen in a Telltale game. You still have plenty of options to choose from, with a significant number of items to inspect multiple times. Rhys, our main hero, has an Echo eye that lets him scan the Hyperion Database for information on items. It sometimes rewards you with information, other times with nods to the series past. It’s an interesting way to allow players to get as much out of the game as they’d like.
 
tales fiona
 
Players take control of Rhys, a disgruntled Hyperion employee, and Fiona, a Pandora native con artist. Both heroes stories interlock in very interesting ways, and it all plays out in one playthrough. You don’t have to start and finish the game as one character before moving onto the next. Instead the perspective shifts based on what the plot calls for. Seeing the same situation from multiple perspectives is far more entertaining than you might expect and it really helps develop the characters and the world.
 
I can’t really express how entertaining this game was to me. If you’ve shied away from the Borderlands series in the past, then it is definitely a great introduction. If the series has grown stale, than this is just the refresher you might need. If you love Borderlands, then what do you need a review for? The collaboration of Telltale Games and Gearbox Software surprised me, and now I can’t wait to see what happens next!
 
tales zer0
 
Also, Tales from the Borderlands carries on the tradition of a cool song montage to open the game. It’s probably my favorite since the original. You can check out the song linked below!
 

is not a boss.

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