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Tales From The Borderlands Preview

/ Jul 24th, 2014 No Comments

Tales from the Borderlands

The popular Borderlands series is set to ditch the first-person shooter genre for an episodic adventure in the upcoming Tales from the Borderlands. Developed by Telltale Games, the game takes place following the events of Borderlands 2.

Unlike other recent Telltale Games, Tales from the Borderlands places you in control of two main characters: Rhys and Fiona. The characters are forced to work together by a mysterious stranger looking to open the Vault of the Traveler. Fiona and Rhys had previously opened the Vault, so the stranger wants them to tell him how to do it.

The problem is Fiona and Rhys cannot stand each other. The pair has a history of bad blood, and each character recounts the past from their point of view. Thus, players will witness the story from two different perspectives. The onus is placed on the player to figure out the real story.

Demo Days

At E3 2014, Telltale demoed the opening of Tales from the Borderlands. The demo introduced the principal characters and showed off the framing device, combat and dialogue. Since the series deals with stories and perspectives, Rhys told his tale first.

Rhys is a company man who works for Hyperion. He was a real contender for Handsome Jack’s spot, but the job went to Hugo Vasquez, a slick talking, fancy suit wearing company jerk voiced by Patrick Warburton.

Tales from the Borderlands

Rhys is one of the main characters. Also You.

Tension runs high when Vasquez has a one-on-one meeting with Rhys to rub the job in his face. Telltale’s signature dialogue options are in tact, but they are peppered with Borderlands’ sense of humor, which works to great effect. During the meeting, Vasquez takes a phone call and mentions a “vault key.” This catches Rhys’ fancy and he endeavors to figure out exactly what Vasquez’s play is.

Special Delivery

The characters in Tales from the Borderlands have a special ability, with Rhys possessing a unique cyber eye that can reveal locked away information. Using his eye, Rhys discovers Vasquez has a line on a vault key. Once he gets the information, Rhys leaves and meets up with his friends Vaughn and Yvette. Instead of letting Vasquez get all the glory, the group hatches a plan.

Tales from the Borderlands

Vasquez is a jerk.

They plan to buy the vault key out from under Vasquez. Rhys and Yvette want to leverage the vault key to take Vasquez’s job. However, the seller wants a cool million for the key. It turns out that stealing a million dollars from Hyperion is pretty easy thanks to the disorder Jack’s death caused. What makes embezzling from a corrupt corporation better? Stealing your jerk boss’ monster ride and joyriding through Pandora.

Pandora’s Box

Pandora remains a desolate wasteland full of dangerous wildlife and psychopaths. As Rhys and Vaughn try to find the World of Curiosities, they run afoul of the local color. A greasy face psycho and his posse ambush the duo. The psychos steal their ride and try to snatch the suitcase with the money from Vaughn’s wrist, but fail. This doesn’t deter them from continuing. Rhys is not going to sit back idly and be robbed.

Rhys can call down Hyperion bots from his robotic arm and customize the bots in battle. To deal with the psychos, he calls down a basic Loader Bot with a rocketpod. The rocketpod can hit multiple enemies at once, making it very effective in combat. Sadly, even superior firepower cannot withstand overwhelming numbers. The Loader Bot gives them enough time to run. Rhys has the option to save Loader Bot or leave it. Since the Loader Bot has personality and character. saving it is very tempting, but ultimately they have a key to buy.

Tales from the Borderlands

Rhys can order bots from Hyperion.

Rhys and Vaughn have to keep running and fighting to get to World of Curiosities. Combat allows for more options through multi-directional inputs when fighting. It is an added dimension to the standard Telltale combat briefly seen in The Wolf Among Us.

World of Curiosities Killed the Cat

Eventually, they make it World of Curiosities. Here is where they will meet the seller, August. As they walk through this worn-down museum, they see a corpse holding cash. Rhys has the option to loot the money or leave it. There will be loot in the game. Every locker can be open and the U.I. includes an inventory spot. Looting affects story choice in the game.

The meeting between Rhys and August, voiced by none other than Nolan North, doesn’t go well. August brings along his girlfriend, and they both immediately distrust Rhys and Vaughn. Her doubts and Rhys’ slick talking cause the meeting to go south. When August tries to steal the briefcase, Rhys puts his hand through his chest, tears out his heart and steals his girlfriend.

Tales from the Borderlands

Fiona is the other main character. Also you, too.

But is that how it really went down? Fiona says Rhys’ recollection of the events is wrong, and reveals that she was there waiting to steal the vault key. The demo ends before Fiona can tell her side of the story, but gamers got a feel for the dynamic between the two characters and opposing points of view.

There should be no doubt that Telltale is channeling the spirit of the Borderlands series for Tales from the Borderlands. The game is shaping up to be a great marriage between the Borderlands sense of humor and the Telltale approach to episodic adventure games.


Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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