Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 1- Zer0 Sum Review
I love the Borderlands franchise. I love how it never takes itself too seriously, with over the top characters and comedic story lines, yet it is remains immensely playable with brilliant co-op and also grants a long life span. I also happen to love the Telltale episodic adventures that have been delivered over the last few years, so when it was announced that Telltale were releasing one of their trademark tales set in the Borderlands universe I was obviously excited. In contrast to our usual review process it has been decided that we will cover this in a running review, thoughts given on each episode and a score delivered on the completion of all five episodes.
Episode 1: Zer0 Sum
The first episode in the Tales from the Borderlands series sees the Hyperion Corporation in turmoil after the loss of its heroic and inspirational (more like maniacal) leader Handsome Jack departed from its ranks due to his untimely death. You start the game in the shoes of Rhys, a loyal Hyperion company man who is quickly on the rise through the corporation’s ranks. It seems however his rise has firmly hit the brakes due to Rhys’s work nemesis Vasquez taking the reins and demoting our hero to executive mop pusher. In a plan to rise to the top and push Vasquez to the bottom where he belongs, Rhys, his friend and company accountant Vaughn, embark on a visit to Pandora to obtain a vault key. With this in his possession he is sure to become what he is destined to be, the next Handsome Jack?
The games story is being told in a past tense due to Rhys being held captive by an unidentified person. Also held captive is Fiona, a Pandora local, wanted con artist and our second playable character. Having the two characters playable and telling either side of the story opens the game to much hilarity. The yarns spun are both hard to believe (Hyperion and Con artists makes this obvious) as each put holes in one another’s version of events. Along the way you meet with some of Borderlands 2’s infamous characters with the title of this episode being enough to spoil one of those.
The game play remains in the tradition of Telltales releases, a modern click and point adventure with quick time events and plot choices that alter the story. Thankfully Tales from the Borderlands seems to run much better than the last few Telltale releases. The engine remains the same but the episode is a lot less buggy than those seen in The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead releases. There also seems to be more action here than in those other titles.
The first episode certainly hits all the right buttons to make it worth checking out for either fans of Borderlands, fans of Telltale or gamers that want to get a decent story with a great sense for comedy. It feels quite refreshing to delve into one of Telltales games without crying, well there are a few tears from laughter but it’s a departure from the serious darkness of Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead. Thankfully it works marvellously, and after one episode I will definitely urge you to check it out.
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