20160312002010_1 (2)Telltale Games (November 2014- October 2015)

Ah! What a great game. As a whole, the game is a light, fun adventure that never takes itself too seriously. There are genuine moments between characters as well as comical ones, and even a few heart-tugging ones. All of characters have plenty of chemistry thanks to the fantastic writing and excellent voice acting. They all feel like they belong in the same merry band of misfits, whether they’re considered protagonists or antagonists. I can’t honestly say there’s a character present that I don’t like – and that’s as unusual as it is refreshing.

Gameplay

About standard for a Telltale game, with its point-and-click style that allows you to explore the world a little, and timed responses to situations or interacting with other characters. The mouse and keyboard work just as well as a gamepad from my experience. Using a keyboard does make it easier to take quick screenshots, though – and I found myself taking a lot with how beautiful the game is. Okay… Maybe I spent most of my screenshot presses for Fiona and Athena but shush. I’m allowed.

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Visuals

Like I mentioned earlier, this game is lovely to look at. And it’s not just the attractive leads. The art style uses Telltale’s trademark look, but because the Borderlands universe is already so similar in appearance, they blend together seamlessly. While playing, I found countless moments that seemed made for screenshots – from cool camera angles to beautiful landscapes, to flash-freeze moments where character literally pose in the middle of action. Telltale wants you to have fun, and it shows in the details.

 

Sounds

Now that’s a good soundtrack! It has a mix of Old West/country, techno, rock, funk/soul…? They’re not musical combinations I would’ve thought to put into the same soundtrack, but it works flawlessly! During scenes of suspense, action, adventure – you name it – the soundtrack fits. The songs that play during the credits of each episode are always a treat.

 

Characters

2016-02-29_00019Fiona, one of the two playable characters, is my love. She’s a beautiful, Laura Bailey-voiced lovable rogue who isn’t smooth or cool, or even particularly skilled at being a con artist; she’s just really lucky and has good backup. What she is good at is being resourceful and finding ways to get what she wants (usually by accident). That lack of suave is what makes her so appealing. Well, aside from that scar on her eyebrow and the way she raises the other one… Her sarcasm, sass, and that smirk… *clears throat* She’s an average person trying to make a living, albeit in a not-so-lawful way. Her love and loyalty to her younger sister, Sasha, is one of the most notable aspects of her character, and it’s really nice to watch them interact. Their relationship reminds me a lot of me and my sister.2016-03-01_00294

Speaking of Sasha, she’s more spunky than Fiona, more charming to other characters, and has a love for guns I can’t help but be endeared to. She has more of a heart for mischief, but is also a reliable partner-in-crime, being as smart and resourceful as her sister. When they interact, I understand why they get along and how they balance each other out.

Rhys is our other playable character, and he’s more fumbling and successful-by-luck than any of the other characters. Like Fiona, he doesn’t exactly have the most noble intentions. He wants to make it big, like his idol, Handsome Jack, and he’s willing to get his hands dirty for it. Theretumblr_inline_nqgtgtm81a1rahijt_500 are limits, though, and the proposition of selling out the allies he trusts goes too far for this loyal bastard. He’s boyishly charming, even puppy-dog like sometimes. His affection for Sasha is adorable.

Because it’ll take too long to discuss all the characters, I just want to mention two more: Athena and Janey. I haven’t played Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, which is where these two characters were introduced (and where they meet), but Tales lets them have a delightful amount of screen time. Athena is hard, stoic, and socially aloof… But there’s a heart under all that scowling. Somehow, the cheerful mechanic, Janey, is able to get to her soft side, and Telltale isn’t afraid to show it both characters’ behavior and dialogue. In an ideal world, I’d love to watch them get to know each other, but this is adorable enough. It’s worth gushing over. Thank heavens for a happy ending for a lesbian couple. We desperately need it.

 

Overalltumblr_inline_nle198rnod1qhjzsl

The characters work really well together, with great chemistry and interesting interactions. Choices made can have various consequences that can affect the rest of the game. There’s a bit of everything here, from action to romance to tear-jerkers, to morbidly comedic moments where you’ll be torn between horror and giggles. The five episodes as a whole are memorable and the various decisions make it replayable. Regardless of whether you like/have played the Borderlands series, this is a ride you’ll want to catch. My ears are perked up for news of season two.

9/10 stars

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