Well folks, here we are! New Tales from the Borderlands is available from this Friday 21st October across all platforms! Developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K, this single-player cinematic game is seen as a spiritual successor rather than a sequel to the much-loved Telltale title, Tales from the Borderlands, and is set 1 year on after the events of Borderlands 3.
Sponsorbot Says “You Deserve This Game!
Much to my elation, we at Thumb Culture have been lucky enough to have a play of the PC version prior to release! So without further ado, let’s get back down to Promethea and get a crack-a-lackin at this game review!
Similar to the original Telltale game from almost 8 years ago, New Tales from the Borderlands is a standalone episodic adventure whereby your choices and interactions affect the storyline as it unfolds. For those of you not too familiar with the genre, expect a highly narrative-driven storyline!
New Tales from the Borderlands follows 3 main characters as the Tediore company begins an invasion, with their fate left to your decisions. There is Anu, who is a highly enthusiastic scientist that is in the process of developing a dimensional device and wants to make good in the world…but works for Atlas; Octavio, who is Anu’s younger brother and wishes to be rich and famous; finally there is Fran who still has a large hole from a laser beam in her beloved Frogurt cafe, and she is not happy one bit, or with the insurance inspector!
There is a peppering of other characters who feature prominently in the game such as Anu’s assistant Phuong as well as the incredibly funny robot assassin L0U13 who chills with Octavio. Just remember not to say your full name when close to them! Former Borderlands 3 protagonist Rhys appears much to the joy of fans, however, I wouldn’t expect too much good from him!
Interjected with the Borderlands sense of humour that you have all come to love, you play as each of the main characters in turn as their stories begin to evolve chapter by chapter.
While much of the narrative cues you for a selection of 4 responses, that each set the tone for how the story is going to proceed, there are also other interactions that can sometimes pop up on screen and take you by surprise. Don’t think for a second that you can stray too far away from the controller or kb+m!
In certain situations, you may be called upon to take evasive action. If you have them turned on, you will receive a minuscule cue on the screen to be ready. There is a timer rapidly ticking so you must quickly press the direction indicated or button in order for your character to respond and either evade the danger or take prompt action. Should you fail then your character may get hurt, or worse, killed. If this happens then you must repeat the scene.
As well as the narrative choices and quick time events, there are also times when you will physically control your character and move them around like you would in the fps Borderlands games. Here you are usually solving a puzzle or scavenging for items in order to progress from the area. Octavio’s wrist-worn ECHOdex is pretty cool and comes in handy! While exploring you may come across collectibles such as Vaultlanders. These are small plastic figurines, some much sought after. Eventually, you may even get to play with them…just try not to lose.
At the end of each episode, your pivotal moments are summarised and compared globally by percentage to other players that have carried out the same activity. Here you can see how you did, as well as what you may have missed. I like how this game mechanic works as it helps to guide you should you want to replay the chapters or episodes and explore all avenues.
Graphics & Audio
New Tales from the Borderlands looks and sounds exactly like any other Borderlands game that you may have come across. Gearbox Studio Quebec has certainly pulled off a sterling job here. Its distinct cel-shaded style graphics are in fact created through hand-drawn textures along with a combination of scanning and software to give it that graphic novel-type look.
The environments, characters, gadgets and gizmos all look fantastic while the sleek animation just immerses you into the story.
When it comes to the audio, the fully-voiced dialogues aid to convey the passion, comedy, horror and sheer disregard for one another (at times). Most of all, it will have you chuckling one way or another though! Sponsorbot is amazing, as is L0U13 and Brock. The music has its usual play with futuristic West Texan vibes throughout, as well as eerie soundscapes that help form the world around you and reflect the present situation.
There are 5 episodes bundled into New Tales from the Borderlands, each composed of a number of chapters. The idea is that once you have played through the storyline, you can then replay the game, or, if you so wish, an individual chapter, with different choices to reveal different outcomes. From what I have played there is a hefty duration of game time wrapped up in the storyline and exploration to be had in each chapter and episode.
I must say that I have massively enjoyed New Tales from the Borderlands. The comedic dialogues, graphics, interactions, and of course storyline, are each fantastic! It will certainly capture not only the hearts of Borderlands fans around the world, but also appeal to new players far and wide.
Such a well-polished game can only mean one thing.
New Tales from the Borderlands receives a Thumb Culture Platinum Award!
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.