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October 24, 2015

Tales From The Borderlands - Vault Of The Traveler - Review


When it was first announced, I could not imagine the world of Borderlands working in the Telltale Games format, a series that was built on action and size, I never thought that the slower character driven narrative could work with it, but I was wrong. It does.

Of course, as a game that evolves around the choices you make, there are elements here that I experienced that other players wont and vice a versa. For me the action kicked back into gear with Fiona and Sasha being escorted to prison by Yvette, with Rhys sitting pretty up in the former office of Handsome Jack. Having just accepted power and seized control of Hyperion and all it owned, Rhys was pretty content, but of course Handsome Jack is nothing if not predictable and that he will inevitably betray everyone, he does so here by having far grander plans that anyone could have thought possible. What followed was a series of events that resulted in the total destruction of Helios, the Vault being summoned and the guardian contained within being released.


The events happen much faster than you might imagine, with only one half of the Rhys and Fiona pair around as the Vault creature is doing its thing, the game really sets up that fact that there is more to come still. Of course, all this is being told to us by Rhys and Fiona as they are still held captive by the stranger, which is where the final chapter of the story really kicks in to gear. As all the pieces of the story start to come together a far grander ending is formed and one that I was very surprised at, but also loved playing. I won’t say much more here, as it is pretty epic and really needs to be experienced, but fans of classic anime will get a laugh or two.

As the final chapter in the series, the developers seem to have just gone and thrown the restrictions out the window as there are quite a number of new things here, that are making their debut. While it is nice of the developers to keep things fresh, some of the things only appear for a few seconds, before not being seen again, so some consistency might have been nice. For the most part though the game plays out just like the rest of the series has done, moving around the world and interacting with things and then moving some more. The problem still exists where the game feels like its on rails far too often, leaving large sections of time where you just watch and occasionally select a phrase to say.


From a visual standpoint, the game keeps the look going that was established back with Borderlands 1 and it looks pretty nice still, other games from Telltale recently have struggled with the engine, but the Tales from the Borderlands series has always managed to work, within its limitations. We only get a few new characters and locations to explore, with some remixed variants on old ones that help keep things fresh there and a few of the characters have new looks as well, overall the game looks and feels like Borderlands. From the audio point of view, the voice cast has yet again delivered an amazing job, with a few moments delivering some really strong emotions, directed at characters in game and at the player. The music continues to derive itself from the main series, but occasionally modern music does make an appearance, thankfully what the team have selected fits very well within the tone of the game.


The final episode of Tales From The Borderlands was fantastic, it provided a lot of conclusions to the events that have transpired through the series length, but it also showed new sides to existing characters and I would love to see more of them. Overall, the entire story was executed well, a few stumbles here and there stop it from being better, but upon finishing the entire story I can say I am content, but more please.


Thanks to Telltale Games for supplying the game for review

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