Great storytelling can come from a variety of locations. Movies, television shows, novels, comic books…these are all examples of a great way to get your story fix in today’s world. However, video games have quietly inserted themselves into that same entertainment lineup, and in some cases, in a bigger and better way than the aforementioned sources.
Telltale Games has made a name for itself in the story-driven video games niche, winning new fans with their assortment of game titles that are all very much like those old “choose your adventure” novels. They’ve garnered attention by using popular brands, from television hits like “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones” to comic book staples like “Fables”. In late 2014, Telltale released a game based on the “Borderlands” video game series.
So, how is it?
For starters, it’s a hoot. Unlike the harshness of the zombie apocalypse in “The Walking Dead” or the stoic, war-torn nature of “Game of Thrones”, “Tales from the Borderlands” is driven forward by a hilarious, often twisted sense of humor that spits in the face of its “ravaged wastelands” setting. I’ve never played the actual Borderlands game, and thankfully, it wasn’t required before jumping into this game. We might not totally understand who every character happens to be, but the narrative doesn’t require we have background knowledge. This is a huge plus for new gamers, especially those that like the Telltale library of games but aren’t always familiar with the source material.
Much like the other Telltale titles, “Tales” isn’t as action heavy as it is dialogue heavy. Your words and decisions carry weight, sometimes far more than you might imagine. In some instances, characters die because of decisions that you’re forced to make. The choices you make can completely alter the story so that you have new choices to make and new results if you choose to replay the game later.
The action sequences can be a little confusing the first time around, but in most cases they’re very basic. Depending on the console you use (I use the iOS version), it might involve frantic button pushing or swiping on a touchscreen.
The graphics and voice acting are tremendous. The game plays out very much like a movie, which makes it a bunch of fun if you’ve lost interest in your Netflix queue.
There really aren’t any complaints about the actual game. There have been quite a few issues with glitches after the first round of downloads for each episode, but usually it’s just a sign that you might need to do an update on your device.
Currently, “Tales” has the first three episodes of a five episode series available for download. All three episodes have been great fun. The latest episode, “Catch a Ride”, was the shortest of the three, but also full of the most action.
Each episode costs $4.99, but you can also purchase the full bundle for $20 and save $5 after the fact. I have already bought the full season. The waits have been lengthy, but also totally worth it.
If you’re not a hardcore gamer, this title is a lot of fun. It’s geared toward more mature audiences – there’s a lot of bad language and some ridiculous violence (done in an over-the-top, hilarious fashion) – though I would say most teens could dig it without being scarred. It’s simple gameplay makes it a fun retreat from the everyday.
All opinions are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Deck Ape...or anyone else. Arrr!