Tales from the Borderlands is an episodic Telltale game in the style of The Walking Dead or The Wolf Among Us, featuring a strong story told through dialogue choices, cutscenes, and quick time events. It’s the first game I’ve played in the Borderlands franchise, and I can report that it stands up on its own merits. Tales from the Borderlands’ colorful art, exciting story, and funny characters make for a great game.
Episode 1: Zer0 Sum introduces the game’s two playable characters: Rhys, a Hyperion employee, and Fiona, a con artist. A colorful variety of characters support and play off these two with dialogue that occasionally made me laugh out loud. Money is the primary motivation for Rhys and Fiona, but dangerous situations and unexpected interactions test how far they’re willing to go to get rich.
Tales from the Borderlands features bright, cel shaded graphics that stay true to the traditional Borderlands art style. Most of the first episode takes place amidst run-down buildings on the surface of Pandora, but environments are changed often enough to keep things interesting.
The game’s music is very good, with a main menu theme that had me loitering around the options menu just to hear more of it. Music is further highlighted in the bandit lord Bossanova, who builds his personality on dubstep.
Quick time events can be irritating, as missing one key press can mean replaying short segments, but they’re generally not too intrusive. Interaction with environments is often very limited.
Overall, Tales from the Borderlands is an exciting step for Telltale’s signature game style and Episode 1, the first of five, is a solid two and a half hours of fun. Players who prefer sandboxes to interactive movies may want to look for entertainment elsewhere, but the vivid art and music of Tales from the Borderlands bring to life characters worth caring about in a story of non-stop action.