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Tales from the Borderlands - Zer0 Sum


For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

Telling tales

Product: Tales from the Borderlands | Developer: Telltale Games | Publisher: 2K Games | Format: iPad | Genre: Adventure | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Tales from the Borderlands iPad, thumbnail 1
Tales from the Borderlands doesn't have the bite of some of Telltale's recent fare. It zips along at a much faster pace, cracking wise as and it does.

And since it's set in the crazed universe of Gearbox's FPS RPG, that makes a lot of sense. There's plenty of gore and sarcasm here, and more than one line that'll raise a giggle.

But there's a distinct lack of weight to proceedings - your choices aren't so hard to make, and the outcomes aren't so dramatic.

This is distinctly lightweight, with a few technical problems here and there. But a stellar voice cast and some stand out moments make it an enjoyable romp all the same.

Pandora's box

The game starts on Helios, the headquarters of the Hyperion company. You're Rhys, a salaryman who's on the cusp of a life-changing promotion.

But then things start to go wrong, and after the timely entrance of a space-bound corpse you head to Pandora to steal a deal from under your new boss's nose.

It's a bright start, and once you're on Pandora things start to heat up. A massive fight with some bandits involving a huge robot and clever use of a toilet door shows the game's true colours.

This is very much a story driven QTE experience. Prompts flash up on screen and you need to follow them. Swipe to dodge, mash the screen to open a vent, that sort of thing.

In between you pick from conversation trees. Characters remember certain things you say, although the implications of this aren't clear.

In fact a lot of the choices you make feel slightly arbitrary - like things were going to play out one way and you've just been given the illusion that you're affecting anything.

Ilusory

After some shady dealings and the appearance of a man who bears a passing resemblance to Hunter S Thompson, you switch to play as Fiona. She's part of a trio of conmen out to fleece Rhys with a fake vault key.

There are some more traditionally point-and-click sections here, and a scene in a bar where you need to remember some quick-fire information to pass yourself off as an archaeologist.

Eventually the two characters' threads start to intertwine, leading to a slightly bonkers finale in a chariot racing arena.

Funlands

And all the while you're having fun. Tales from the Borderlands might not stick in the memory, but it's a wry, intelligent adventure full of likeable characters.

When things come to an end you're eager to find out what happens next, which is always a good sign in an episodic series.

Is it Telltale at its best? No - it was never going to be. But it's still a delightfully brash experience, full of swagger and bravado.

There are a few technical hitches here and there, including some odd clipping when some characters don masks, but there's nothing game-breaking.

Pandora makes for a surprisingly engaging backdrop to your shenanigans, and even as someone who never really got into Borderlands I found a lot to like in the Mad Max meets Looney Tunes universe.

While Tales from the Borderlands doesn't have the bite of The Walking Dead, it's got a snap, a pep, that should make this series an enjoyable, if forgettable, diversion.
 
Tales from the Borderlands - Zer0 Sum
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 12 December 2014
An engaging first episode that snaps along at a decent pace. Tales from the Borderlands might not have the emotional heft of Telltale's other games, but it's got enough charm and cheek to see it through
 
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