Tales from the Borderlands: Escape Plan Bravo Review: One Big Shot
Greg Johnson / Aug 26th, 2015 No Comments
The penultimate episode of Tales from the Borderlands greatly ups the stakes of the series. Escape Plan Bravo, the fourth of five episodes, has the two protagonists attempting to infiltrate Hyperion’s Moon Base.
Related: Read reviews of previous episodes Episode 1: Zer0 Sum, Episode 2: Atlas Mugged and Episode 3: Catch A Ride.
As far as its place in the Borderlands universe, the episodic series occurs around the same time as Athena’s interrogation in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. This means many of the events that occur will have ramifications on the Borderlands universe. Specifically, this could affect Borderlands 3, but Gearbox Software has yet to announce a new entry to the main series. Meanwhile, great storytelling and major choices unfold in this shot to Helios.
Send Me Up a Drink
When we last left protagonists Rhys and Fiona, they were under the thumb of the gang leader Vallory. The story has them attempting to assemble a way into a newly discovered vault, effectively making them Vault Hunters. The up-and-coming Vault Hunters must invade Helios in this episode, which serves as fan service to many gamers who wanted to see the moonbase in action — it was under siege in The Pre-Sequel.
Choices made in the previous episodes of Tales from the Borderlands haven’t seemed to make a major impact on the Borderlands universe at large, but that changes with Escape Plan Bravo. The choices and consequences are not as straightforward as in previous episodes, and many will blindside players, especially fans familiar with the series’ characters.
Episode four is well told and perfectly sets up the finale. The final, and most important part, of this episode’s charm is its humor. The franchise’s signature redneck humor comes to the forefront as well as Handsome Jack spews witty condescension and the game takes some cheap jabs at Telltale’s own “they will remember that” gameplay mechanic.
Insight into Handsomeness
As usual, this episode features multiple quick-time events and quick-thinking dialogue choices. One particularly fast-paced and tongue-in-cheek “gun fight” has players firing finger guns. This is not necessarily a challenging fight, but it is a great bit of storytelling and a welcome change of pace compared to action scenes in previous episodes.
What continues to make Tales from the Borderlands, as well as other Telltale Games, successful is the fluid control system. Button responses are quick and simple, which matters a great deal as most portions of dialogue require players to enter a decision before time expires. Rhys’ ability to scan the world with his cybernetic eye is as an inventive way to expand Borderlands’ lore and reward players with a greater sense of exploration.
Pandoran Radio is My Co-Pilot
Wide views of Pandora and Elpis from space are nothing short of amazing. The finer details of facial expressions and clothing are equally impressive.
A visit to Hyperion’s moonbase lends a new aesthetic. Instead of feasting on the “Wild West” view of Pandora, players see the sleek corporate vibes of Helios. The game as a whole benefits from this diversion to planet exploration as it provides a new atmosphere and more locales for players to get lost in. The Borderlands universe feels larger with each additional location visited.
We are not sure the salary of the person creating the soundtrack for Tales of the Borderlands, but whoever it is, he or she is not being paid enough. Once again, Telltale Games delivers an amazing soundtrack. The soundtrack is pleasing to listen to and adds depth to the universe. Whether the gruff, rolling music that accompanies exploring Pandora or the ominous, almost electronic music of Helios, Tales from the Borderlands continues the series’ longstanding tradition of excellent scoring.
And Then There was One
There is only one episode left of Tales from the Borderlands, and it will be difficult to top Escape Plan Bravo. Episode four is the best the series has offered thus far. Not only does it continue the series’ trend of providing smooth gameplay and satisfying sounds, it sets up for a thrilling conclusion and expands the Borderlands universe in a way that pleases longtime fans. It is another example of Telltale’s well-paced storytelling blended perfectly with Borderlands-style humor, and it could be the best episode of any game Telltale has offered thus far.
Tales from the Borderlands: Escape Plan Bravo was reviewed on PS4 using a code for the game provided by the publisher.
tags: Borderlands , Escape Plan Bravo , review , Tales from the Borderlands , Tales from the Borderlands Review , telltale games