Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Review: Tales from The Borderlands: Atlus Mugged

Jack's Back!

It has been a long time since we last visited Pandora and its crazy in habitants but do not worry. Tales from The Borderlands is back with it’s second episode, Atlas Mugged, and it is builds upon the great foundations set by its predecessor.

This entry into the story is the shortest so far (in fact maybe the shortest Tell Tale Game so far) and I managed to clear it within 90mins but even though it may be short, it manages to pack a lot of content and even leaves the story on a brilliant cliff hanger.
The second episode continues where you left off on the first. You control the two main characters, Rhys and Fiona, in their crazy quest to find a vault key (your generic Borderlands story). I felt like this episode was more about character development rather than the story. The story does progress slightly in this episode but it raises more questions than answer. No issue though, this is only the second episode and I am sure all will become clearer as we move through each episode.

Again, just like the first episode, the characters are key and it is very apparent in this episode. Atlas Mugged builds upon the already strong characters from the first entry including the support ones. The scripting between the two main characters in brilliant. It is a real love to hate relationship - they cannot live with or without each other. This is really emphasised in this episode as you spend most of it apart from each other but both are always trying to get back together.

One of the major surprises from the first episode was the return of Handsome Jack. This is a game changer for anyone who has played the main series as you will know him to be dead. Some how though, Jack is alive within Ryh’s mind and is projected as a hologram (that can only be seen and heard by Rhys). Jack is just as crazy as ever and this adds a whole new level of humour to the game.

One department which makes Tales from The Borderlands stand out from other Tell Tale games is in the gameplay department. We all know that they can be heavy in the story department and contain a lot of quick time events but how they are used in this series feels a little different. This difference is very noticeable in this episode as I feel it has been fine tuned to a point of near perfection. Some scenes are made very tense and dramatic though carefully chosen dialogue and/or quick time events. There is a nice balance between moments of down time and actual gameplay to. This is also down to the excellent pacing of the script too. No one scene contains too much or too little - no one character is overused either. They all have a fare share of the action.

Unfortunately though, Tales from The Borderlands can only be fully loved by fans of the series. The humour can be crude, over the top and just outright silly but that is what Borderlands is all about. Fans of the series will love this episode and probably cannot wait to play the next but others will dismiss this entirely. It is a shame as the story, settings and characters are great but it really is not for everyone.

I believe the engine used for the movement and facial expressions is starting to feel dated (compared to other games out at present) but it does the job well. After recently playing Grim Fandango, I have realized how easy modern point and click adventures are. Older ones were all about solving puzzles to progress the story but the newer ones have obstacles and quick time events to move the story along. They have become more of an interactive story than a puzzle game.

Atlas Mugged builds on an already great formula and by furthering its dedication to the development of the characters I can Tales from The Borderlands to only get better over the upcoming episodes. There are a few issues present This is a must play for fans of the series. Jack is back people - what more do you need? Maybe a Clap Trap?


Who Should Play This?

  • Hardcore Borderland fans
  • Players who enjoyed previous Telltale Games
  • Having a bad day? Tales may improve that!

Who Should NOT Play This?

  • If you dislike the humour of the original games then you will not enjoy Tales
  • More of fan of the old school point and click adventures? you will not find this here sorry
  • Point and click adventure haters

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