Tales from the Borderlands

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JaySevenZero
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Tales from the Borderlands

Post by JaySevenZero »

Here's where you can contribute your thoughts and opinions of Tales from the Borderlands for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.

A friendly reminder to all that where feedback for the podcast is concerned, we love it - but self-editing (brevity) is appreciated. We do want to include a breadth of opinions where appropriate, but no-one wants a discussion podcast that’s mainly reading. Better to save yourself time and cut to the chase if you can.

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ThirdDrawing
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Re: Our next-but-one podcast recording (23.2.20) - 408: Tales from the Borderlands

Post by ThirdDrawing »

Full confession - I do not enjoy Borderlands as a series. I played the first game co-op with a friend of mine and literally fell asleep as we played.

That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this game and I would love to see a Fallout/Obsidian style RPG in this world because there's genuine merit in it.

As for the game itself, the writing was sharp, the dialogue was funny, and the plot was interesting. I was hooked early and genuinely curious to see how it played out. I have hopes for a sequel now that Wolf Among Us 2 has been announced.

A genuine treat of a game.

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Re: Our next-but-one podcast recording (23.2.20) - 408: Tales from the Borderlands

Post by PopeFormosus »

A fantastic game. I came to this prior to the actual Borderlands series and was charmed, instantly. The writing is pitch perfect and the strength of character and humour set me on a very enjoyable trip of 100hrs or so through the main games and their accompanying DLC. It was also my first Telltale game and, while i find all their other entries self-important and dull, the hollow gameplay mechanics of "press square not to die" passed by wholly unnoticed in this entry. Telltale's stand-out work. A shame we saw no other entry.

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Re: Our next-but-one podcast recording (23.2.20) - 408: Tales from the Borderlands

Post by emogeekface »

I love the Borderlands series anyway and, although different, Tales was such a great addition.

I take part in a charity gaming marathon every Easter weekend and last year we streamed Tales from the Borderlands one episode each evening for our viewers to settle into and get into the story and it went down so well.

The humour is on point, the characters are interesting in their own ways and the dynamics between them all are fantastic and the gameplay is just the right level to be interactive but not draw you away from the storytelling.

Also, Loaderbot <3

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CtrlAltNoob
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Re: Our next-but-one podcast recording (23.2.20) - 408: Tales from the Borderlands

Post by CtrlAltNoob »

Playing Episode 1 of Tales from the Borderlands for free on the PS store was my first experience of both Telltale and Borderlands. I had such a great time that it played on my mind for months, until the Telltale collection finally went on sale and I bought it straight away. And what an experience it was.

I think back to this game so fondly. When people ask ‘what’s the one game that you would erase from your memory to play again?’ this is the game that always comes to mind, and I’d store for next time I’m feeling low. The dark humour, the bizarre situations, the characters that somehow almost felt like real people and the overall wacky and chaotic but brilliant vibe made for an unforgettable experience.

This is the funniest game I’ve ever played. Years later and it still brings tears to my eyes remembering certain scenes and jokes that gave me belly laughs. I think Ryhs is my favourite main character in fictional history. I played him as a nice, down on his luck, optimistic if slightly incompetent guy who just can’t seem to catch a break, and it was perfect.

I can’t praise the writing highly enough. Often in these games you might pick a dialogue option only for the character say something different to what you expected, but for me every choice I made felt like it lead onto the perfect response. It all felt so well written, it was silly and over the top while still being somehow grounded.

After talking about how funny it is, I don’t mean to make out as if that’s all the game has going for it. There were dramatic moments that gave me goosebumps and emotional moments that made me cry. It was an epic adventure with awesome characters. They all had their flaws and that’s what made it so perfect. There wasn’t a single episode that slowed down for me and I thought it all came together in a great conclusion. I love most of the telltale games that I’ve played, but this one is my favourite. A proper feel good game.

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Re: Our next-but-one podcast recording (23.2.20) - 408: Tales from the Borderlands

Post by RCheeze »

Sharp writing, interesting storytelling and a fantastic soundtrack are what stick out to me with Tales from the Borderlands. In hindsight, it is yet another Telltale game with minimal gameplay and a fair amount of jank. But the characters mixed with the way they realized Pandora made this such an enthralling episodic series for me from start to finish. And again, the music. The opening of the first episode is still one of my favorite video game sequences ever. I loved the way they employed the use of the song "Busy Earning" but the band Jungle. I think using a song to kick off the start of each episode was truly a great way to set this series apart from other Telltale games.

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DeadpoolNegative
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Re: Our next-but-one podcast recording (23.2.20) - 408: Tales from the Borderlands

Post by DeadpoolNegative »

Played a bunch of this again in the past few days, hopefully I'm not too late:

The Borderlands games are, in my opinion, pretty darn good shooters, with vivid characters and a varied game world. However, the chief weakness of the series has always been its writing- its plotting is oftentimes sloppy or nonexistent, the jokes are obnoxious, and I may be the only person on earth who thinks Handsome Jack is just irritating, and not remotely threatening. There are some interesting implications about how corporations tear up resources- both natural and human- and leave them in ruins when profits run low, but it's just that, an implication. Then again, I probably shouldn't be playing a Borderlands game if I'm looking for a deep narrative.

I was a big fan of Telltale Games, but just as often their narratives, while entertaining, would delve into ultra violence, as in the Batman games (and boy oh boy, I can't wait until we get to THAT series), or oppressive grimness, as in the The Walking Dead series- and I'm well aware that The Walking Dead is oppressively grim by design, but when I read the comic or watch the show I'm not constantly watching a child being emotionally tormented. Their stories would make mistakes or be plagued by its engine's constant jankiness.

It came as a somewhat of a surprise, then, that Tales From the Borderlands was, and remains, my favorite of all the Telltale narrative adventures and Borderlands games that I've played.

Taking place not long after the events of Borderlands 2- actually, if you look closely, the end of Episode 3 sets up the framing sequence in Borderlands The Pre-Sequel, the game smartly focuses on some all new characters and uses a skilled voice cast to bring them to life. You can never go wrong with Troy Baker and Laura Bailey, as the playable leads, Rhys and Fiona.

At first, the game answers a question most of us probably don't think about: what's it like for a person on the world of Pandora who's not a Vault Hunter or Psycho, or a person in their respective orbits? Rhys is trying to move up in the corporate world of Hyperion. Fiona is trying to carve out a real life for herself and her sister, even if all they know is how to con people and pull scams. But like Brick, Mordecai, Zero, and Athena, the mainline Borderlands characters who wind up as part of the action here, they both find themselves thrown together on a quest for a vault.

Instead of shooting and looting, however, the game is focused on the usual Telltale cocktail of minimal point and click puzzles and dialogue interaction. It's a game that focuses mostly on the relationships Fiona and Rhys build with the various characters as the story progresses. That's a part of any Telltale narrative adventure, true, but this game feels especially rich in them. When you play Batman, Walking Dead, or Guardians of the Galaxy, the story mostly focuses on the character you're playing and how others relate to you. With Tales From the Borderlands, you get the sense there are stories and relationships that are going on outside of just your character's experience. While the player can influence the events of Vaughn's arc, for example, it feels independent with a beginning, middle, and end. While I wasn't happy to see Handsome Jack back, the game at least let me shove him to the side as needed, and the character, and more importantly Dameon Clarke's performance, felt slightly more nuanced this time around, probably because "Jack" knows he's at a disadvantage and therefore has a little more perspective.

There's the lone Atlas survivor Cassius, who appears briefly in the narrative but is given a lot of gravitas by actor Phil LaMarr, and I hope we see more of him.

There's Athena, who's quickly become one of my favorite characters in the series, there's something oddly charming about the fact that despite being a vengeful mass murderer, she's often neurotic about her relationship with Janey Springs and she really wants Fiona to be the best she can be.

But most importantly, there's Gortys and Loaderbot. Raison Verner is a deadpan delight as Loaderbot, a machine who finds the last thing he expected when stuck on this goofy mission from two Hyperion executives- a friend. That friend being Gortys, a robot that's meant to be a holographic tracker of Vaults across Pandora, and who can open a very particular Vault. The thing about Gortys is that she's unique among all of the characters in the Borderlands series in there's not an ounce of cynicism or anger about her. Ashley Johnson- that's right, Ellie from the Last of Us- imbues her with an innocence that's so unlike anything in the world of these games so far, that pretty easy to understand why Loaderbot and the others are willing to risk their lives and being killed by the Traveller to bring Gortys back. She's the one Truly good person on Pandora, even if she's a robot.

I also like how the game does some pretty deft needling of action movie and drama cliches, but by building around its own events in the game and not trying to meme or reference things, as the mainline borderlands games are often accused of (of course, episode 5 turns into a blatant parody of Voltron for a bit). The bit about Sasha telling Rhys to "Let Go", Cassius trying to give the heroes a sob story so they'll leave him alone, or the way the Stranger pokes holes in the more implausible moments in Fiona and Rhys' narratives.

The game does have its flaws. Despite being imbued with Troy Baker's usual charm, Rhys remains mostly a blank slate for whatever the player feels like having him do at the time. Unlike Fiona who has her sister to worry about, Rhys is mostly about saving his own skin and making sure Handsome Jack doesn't take over his mind. It's not that he's particularly unlikable, it's that he's not particularly likable either. He just doesn't come together like he should. Fiona may be duplicitous but her yearning for a better life for herself and her sister feels more tangible than a guy who wants a nicer corner office.

The plot, while actually pretty strong for the most part, stumbles in some key areas. Felix's decision to betray Fiona and Sasha as a way of protecting them feels too convoluted and I'm not entirely certain I understand it- he was going to pay of Vallory with the $10 Million so she wouldn't come after the three of them, but he hired Athena to protect Fiona and Sasha anyway? Why not just hire Athena to take out Vallory (Unless she refused to kill)? And there's the fact that the Stranger turns out to be Loaderbot. Okay, I can sort of buy that Loaderbot is so driven by grief over losing Gortys that he'd want to force Rhys and Fiona to explain themselves, but he was present for most of the events he has Rhys and Fiona go over! He knows what happened! It's a case of maybe they thought of the twist before they thought of its implications.

And finally, there's also the fact that the final episode in particular is filled with lots of bugs and was nearly unplayable for me, at least on XBox One. However, if the Wikipedia page is to be believed, Telltale was going to cancel the series altogether for not meeting sales targets and skeleton crew within Telltale kept it alive. I'd like to tip my hat to those at Telltale games who stood up for the game.

While Telltale is long gone, Tales From The Borderlands remains part of the canon for the series proper. I do hope we take another gun free visit to Pandora, though, maybe not with these characters but with others who live on that crazy rock.

Also, I'm kinda glad Scoter is dead; that guy was creepy.

--Dan

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DeadpoolNegative
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Re: Tales from the Borderlands

Post by DeadpoolNegative »

Finished the rest of the play through I started so I could contribute to the podcast- it was much better than I remember, now that the damn thing has been patched. I found myself getting surprisingly emotional at parts. One bizarre thing is I wound up with the exact same lineup of Allies this time- August, Athena, and Janey.

Thanks for putting this game on the list, inspiring me to play it again.

--dan

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DeadpoolNegative
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Re: Tales from the Borderlands

Post by DeadpoolNegative »

Dameon Clarke's MUCH better in this game than he is in Borderlands 2, by the way.

--Dan

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