New Tales from the Borderlands
released on Oct 20, 2022
by Gearbox Software
Decide the fates of altruistic scientist Anu, her ambitious, "streetwise" brother Octavio, and the fierce, frogurt-slinging Fran. Claw and con your way through five thrilling chapters!
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This a pretty disappointing sequel/follow up the the original tales from the borderlands. Which is a shame because I really like the original game.
This game easily has the worst writing in the entire series. I think that nearly all of the jokes in the game are unfunny and are somehow even worse than most of the jokes in bl3. And early every character in the game is either incredibly annoying or they contribute so little to the plot and make you wonder what the point of them even being included in this game. The only characters in the story I actually ended up liking was Lou13 and Octavio to a small extent.
This was unfortunately but unsurprisingly a pretty big step down from the original TOTB which I really enjoyed.
Even for the standards of an episodic adventure game it's such a passive experience, to the point that the boring button presses actually detract from just watching and enjoying what's going on. I failed a few QTEs and had to spend 2-3 minutes rewatching the same scene play out, which was dumb.
On the plus side I liked the three central characters and the VA was generally very good. The problem is that the script is so inconsistent - the humour ranges from amusing to cringe, like somebody on Twitter wrote it. It clearly wants to be Guardians of the Galaxy but it's just not there. It doesn't help that the story is just a completely forgettable nothingburger.
Visually it looks a lot better than most of the Telltale stuff, at least.
All in all this wasn't a chore to play but it probably should've been a bit shorter with how little dramatic meat it had on its bones. I can't imagine this'll get a second season and it's easy to appreciate why.
This would be so much better if it was just LOU13 and maybe Octavio doing their assassin thing
Is this game better or equal to the original Tales from the Borderlands? No. Sadly, it's no contest that the first game is still leagues above this one, but I will say that I despite some very confusing relationship statistics that I feel never actually mattered or contributed to anything, the last 2 episodes of this game are pulled off pretty well, especially the 5th episode which is what I wish the entire game could have been like. If you're a fan of the original Tales from the Borderlands, I think I'd still recommend it just because by the end I feel most of the characters do grow on you, but at the same time there are very gearboxy borderlandsy parts of the game that the original was better off not having that you might have to push through a thing or two this go around.
Telltale games worked, at least in the beginning. Most would say that's because they were effective choose-your-own-adventure games, but we quickly learned that Telltale's formula was to give you branches that eventually led back to the same ending. So if your choice wasn't the true seller, it meant Telltale were just really good at grabbing you with well written stories. Once they put too much on their plate and their writing became rushed the magic was lost. In my opinion, Tales from the Borderlands was the best Telltale game. An interesting, thrilling, and hilarious adventure in the Borderlands universe from the perspective of people who have no superpowers, no high tech guns, and no clue what they're doing. New Tales from the Borderlands however almost feels like a parody of a Telltale game, because it seems no one in 2K has any real idea what made the original Tales (or Telltale plots in general) so special.
I could see how from the perspective of other companies Telltale games seem simple, especially with the Telltale secret formula now known by everyone, but in reality they were bigger than anyone else realized and honestly that was part of the beauty of them. Tales from the Borderlands was a story that was fully ingrained in the Borderlands universe. Sure these characters were involved in less action and explosions, but they travelled all over Pandora. Every episode had new locations, new characters, special guest legacy characters, and new interesting lore. Tales even went so far as to forever change the franchise plot by affecting a beloved character who had been around since the first game.
New Tales feels like it has no agency, half the game-time length of the original, and possibly no budget. Seemingly 50% of this entire game takes place in the same location. Our 3 main characters just meander about doing nothing until all of a sudden the plot comes to them, and maybe that would be alright if our characters were extremely lovable and fun to watch but the only main character I truly fell in love with was Fran the frogurt lady.
All the new side characters have little to no time to make an impact on the player except for LOU13 who in all fairness is the best character in this game. The character Stapleface also stuck out to me, but again she was only there for an extremely limited amount of time. When it comes to legacy characters, as far as I can tell we got 2: Rhys who is only really in the first chapter and felt a little... off for some reason, and Lor who has I think a single 2 word line also in the first chapter (Lor is Lorraine from Borderlands 3 who has since transitioned which honestly makes me wish they were actually in the plot of this game).
Lore-wise I feel this game was nearly completely separate, and don't see anything they set up ever coming back in any real way. It's certainly possible, what with the vault treasure that the games plot is centered around and what happens to the Tediore corporation, but I just don't believe this game was meant to have such an impact.
It's really sad how disappointed I was in New Tales from the Borderlands. I don't hate it by any means. It's still got some good humor and decent attempts at heart. Sadly tho I have to say this is my least favorite entry into the Borderlands universe.