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Review: Tales From the Borderlands – Episode 4

Previously in Tales From the Borderlands, Episode 3

The Borderlands series has a strange sense of humor and is full of over-the-top characters. Some are so ridiculous that they are awesome, others are awesome because they are endearing. Telltale Games’ Tales from the Borderlands is no different. The “stars” of the series, Rhys and Fiona have a lot of qualities that make them both interesting and endearing. Rhys is the technologically savvy company man with a great deal of ambition, but it’s obvious he cares about others. Fiona is a slick-talking con-artist, but it’s clear she wants to be a famous vault hunter. Their personalities are what make Tales from the Borderlands enjoyable. It is even better that Telltale’s game includes Borderlands characters; it really makes the game feel more connected to the source material. For those gamers that have played a Telltale Game, but have not ever played Borderlands, the fact that some characters are a part of the greater universe is lost, but their charm is not.

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Despite the fact that there are so many opportunities to take advantage of a group of interesting characters, Tales from the Borderlands Episode 4 fails to do so for every character except one. Without spoiling the experience, Episode 4, titled “Escape from Plan Bravo,” seems to piggyback on the most recent episode of Telltale’s Game of Thrones and does something that will make players emotional. However, before and after that moment, there just isn’t a lot to enjoy here. Firstly, running at roughly 90 minutes, “Escape from Plan Bravo” is extremely short, particularly considering the fact these episodes are released months apart and players have to wait far too long between episodes to receive something less than fulfilling. Unfortunately, Episode 4 is the one blemish on what has been a very exciting and entertaining season.

Truthfully, and almost comically, Telltale Games tends to fall into the same pitfalls in the fourth episode of all of their five-episode seasons. The Walking Dead Season 1, The Walking Dead Season 2, and The Wolf Among Us, all suffer at Episode 4, and they all do so in the same manner. Just like the aforementioned seasons, episode 4 of Tales from the Borderlands is not as satisfying or entertaining as the other episodes because nothing really happens in terms of character development. The previous three episodes are full of thrilling events and good laughs, and while there are some laughs in store, the thrill is gone, and this episode is singing the blues.

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On a positive note, the Handsome Jack hologram and Rhys interaction that began earlier this season, is at the forefront in this episode and Rhys has a number of confrontations with characters that are close to him, all of which are affected by fact Jack is in his brain. Additionally, Fiona has some moments which really allow the player to decide if she is honest, or if everything she does is some form of con. Fiona interacts with some important characters from the Borderlands universe and these situations are arguably the most meaningful moments in Episode 4. In this episode, Tales from the Borderlands almost feels like a typical video game at times, at moments when players have to find a particular item, or use currency to purchase clothes. Hopefully, this is not the sole reason currency has been included in this game, because it all feels particularly superficial in a game where dialogue is the medium for the primary game mechanic.

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Despite this episode’s flaws, Tales from the Borderlands is still some of Telltale’s best work, and while not much happens in this episode, there is enough to set things up for Episode 5. If you have not had the opportunity to try out Tales from the Borderlands, this episode is certainly not an entry point, but going back to episode 1 and playing through will be worth your time. If you have played the previous episodes in this season, enjoy this episode for what it’s worth and look forward to Episode 5.

Score | 6.5/10Pros
  • Handsome Jack and Rhys
  • Cameo’s from Borderlands characters
Cons
  • The episode is too short
  • Lacks character development
  • Slow Pace
About Julius Council (59 Articles)
A native of Newport News, Virginia, Julius fell in love with video games the first time he laid eyes on Ms. Pac-Man. His all-time favorite game is River City Ransom for the Nintendo Entertainment System. He is a big fan of RPGs, Sports Games, Real Time Strategy Games, and all things Retro. Julius currently owns a working version of every game console ever released except Neo Geo AES and Turbo Grafx-16, both of which he plans to add to his collection soon.

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