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Tales from the Borderlands: Atlas Mugged Review: Continued Reign

/ Mar 26th, 2015 No Comments

Telltale Games continues to release glorious game after glorious game. Whether it be the intrigue of The Wolf Among Us, the hard truths in The Walking Dead, or more recently the deception in Game of Thrones: A Telltale Series, Telltale consistently produces thrilling adventures.

Tales from the Borderlands is no exception, with its comedic aspects and choice between following heroes and forging a different path. While the first episode served as an intro to the characters and main plotline, the second explores their motivations and the choices they’ll have to make.

It’s Been a Long Time

Well, maybe it’s only been four months. Regardless, the wait between episodes of Telltale games doesn’t lend itself well to keeping the story straight. Luckily, Telltale starts it off right by summarizing the player’s previous choices before beginning new adventures in the Borderlands. Tales from the Borderlands: Atlas Mugged serves as the second episode in a five-episode series exploring the planet of Pandora following Handsome Jack’s death. Our main characters, Rhys and Fiona, spend this second episode getting to know each other better, or worse, depending on the player’s choices.
 

Come play with us... forever, and ever, and ever.

Come play with us… forever, and ever, and ever.

Player choices aside, the plot is incredibly funny any way you cut it. Telltale brings the typical Borderlands tongue-in-cheek jibes, sarcasm, and good old-fashioned Pandorian stupidity fans of the series have come to love. Fan favorite characters from the series also get their time in the spotlight, including Scooter. Telltale’s inclusion of well-known characters amongst the fresh ones made just for the game gives fans what they want while letting players learn more about their favorite backwater world.

Exploratory Touching

Not much has changed in terms of gameplay since Tales from the Borderlands: Zer0 Sum, but that’s a good thing. Controls feel smooth, and interaction is a painless experience, which is key during quick-time events. Dialogue is timed, as it should be, with failure to reply resulting in silence or a default option chosen. Interaction allows players to aptly maintain their foothold in the worlds created instead of battling complex or non-responsive control schemes.
 

A$$holes of a feather flock together.

A$$holes of a feather flock together.

Switching between Rhys and Fiona is done seamlessly. Rather than needing to press a button to switch — such as in games like Indigo Prophecy — Tales from the Borderlands switches automatically at preset moments, allowing players to simply enjoy the ride. This episode tends to focus a little less on the exploring moments where players are allowed to walk around and interact, and more on the quick-time events and dialogue. This is a sacrifice of episodic content, but it is disappointing to constantly feel rushed from moment to moment.

Keep Talking Pumpkin

Telltale Games, 2K Games and Gearbox Software are a holy trinity when it comes to graphics. The three companies combine to deliver stylized visuals, which helps maintain longevity. Paper Mario has outlasted many other games because it took a specific art approach that barely ages, and the same will hold true of Tales from the Borderlands. Even though the game sports a stylized art approach, the graphics are amazing. Fully fleshed worlds with solid animations for characters and creatures alike will keep players glued with not just their ears and fingers, but eyes as well.
 

A man after my own heart.

A man after my own heart.

Keeping players’ ears open to Tales from the Borderlands isn’t hard either. If the western style music with light-rock soundtrack doesn’t keep players interested, the voice acting will. Many of the actors from the Borderlands universe make returns as their characters, and the newcomers have earned a place right alongside them. Telltale has made excellent strides in choosing quality voice actors and actresses for their games, which is wise considering that these games are character driven. Every single character feels fully fleshed out partly due to the quality of writing but also to the emoting on the voice actor’s part.

And Miles Left to Go

While the anticipation builds for the final three episodes of Tales from the Borderlands, the replayability on the currently released two episodes remains high. A season pass, which runs for $19.99, is well worth it.

Note: Tales from the Borderlands: Atlas Mugged was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a code for the game provided by the publisher.

 

Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson

Associate Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Greg is a Nintendo fanboy who would cry if they ever went third party. He writes news, previews and reviews at Gaming Illustrated.
Greg Johnson

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TALES FROM THE BORDERLANDS: ATLAS MUGGED REVIEW: CONTINUED REIGN

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall91%

GAMEPLAY9

Point-and-click is kept strong via fluid controls and a fine attention to detail by Telltale Games.

GRAPHICS9

Cel-shading that will wow players from all gaming platforms, simply excellent.

SOUND9

Western atmosphere meets great alternative rock tracks and solid voice acting to boot.

STORY9.5

While a tad fast-paced, the writing for Tales from the Borderlands continues to be an amazing thrill-ride.