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Chris Kavan's Video Game Reviews (451)

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God of War 4/5
Doom (2016) 3.5/5
Armada 3.5/5
Detroit: Become Human 4/5
Destiny 2 4/5
Horizon: Zero Dawn 4.5/5
Oxenfree 4/5
Murdered: Soul Suspect 3/5
Kirby Star Allies 3/5
Celeste 4.5/5
Dark Quest 2 3/5
Just Cause 3 3.5/5
Guacamelee! 2 4/5
The Incredible Adventur... 4/5
Rise of the Tomb Raider 4/5
Dead Rising 3 4/5
Layers of Fear 3.5/5
Prey 3/5
Zero-K 2/5
Tales from the Borderla... 4/5
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 4.5/5
Hammerwatch 3/5
AereA 1/5
Divinity: Original Sin 4.5/5
The Yawhg 4/5

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Tales from the Borderlands   PC (Steam) 

No Loot But Lots of Fun    4/5 stars

Telltale Games may be gone, but their legacy lives on. The studio may have taken on too much too soon and spread themselves way too thin, but I have to say that I have enjoyed every game that I've played from the studio. Yes, the engine has always been a bit wonky, but it's the story that matters in the end and in Tales from the Borderlands, they nail the story. The characters and humor fit right in with the Borderlands style. Even if they made mistakes along the way, Telltale has left behind some grand adventures and fans of the genre (or Borderlands) should not pass it up.

Presentation: I can't think of a better franchise to showcase Telltale's brand of style. While it worked good for The Walking Dead - it works great for Borderlands, which always stood out due to its cel-shaded look. It looks very much like a Borderlands games, and throws in a few familiar faces (and voices) along the way - Dameon Clarke reprises his role as Handsome Jack, as does Michael Turner as Zer0, Mike Neumann as Scooter, Lydia Mackay as Athena and Catherine Moore as Janey Springs. You also get some familiar names in voiceover - Troy Baker and Laura Bailey voice the main characters while Chris Hardwick (host of the Talking Dead), Patrick Warburton, Nolan North and Ashley Johnson also provide their talents. It helps that the voices go very well with the characters, from Warburton's corporate d-bag Vasquez to Johnson's overly perky robot Gortys - all in all, it's a great cast that works well in the game, in both dramatic and comedic moments.

Story: Ah, the boon of all Telltale Games uh games, Tales from the Borderlands is no exception as we follow a twice-told tale in the "unreliable narrator" kind of way. Our protagonists are Rhys, a middle-management type looking to climb the corporate ladder at Handsome Jack's (RIP) massive Hyperion space station (along with money-man Vaughn and techie Yvette) while on Pandora, we meet Fiona, a quick-witted conwoman and her sister Sasha who have been taught the ways by their mentor and father-figure Felix. The two would normally never cross paths, but when Rhys finds himself screwed over for promotion by the slimeball Vasquez, he sees a golden opportunity to get even when he intercepts a deal to acquire a Vault Key from a man named August. Thus, Rhys and Vaughn set off for Pandora to hijack the deal, only to find that the deal is scam - and soon must team up with the scammers in order to evade Vasquez, Hyperion, the myriad dangers of Pandora and a dangerous gang leader named Vallory. There are double-crosses, backstabbing and the like - and even the ghost in the machine - Handsome Jack himself. You can play the characters different ways - even kill off some if you want - but the game will always lead to the same point. That being said, the journey is fun - there is a lot of humor, some loss, violence and all the things you've come to love in a Borderlands game - all doled out in 2-hour chapters.

Gameplay: If you've played one Telltale game, you know what you're getting into. Borderlands is certainly lighter on the QTE moments than some of their other games, but it's still mostly making dialogue choices, some limited exploration and a few times you have to make quick decisions (or suffer the consequences - usually death). The game is forgiving, even if you fail, and you might have to go back a little ways, but never that much. My favorite little QTE event was carefully removing someone's eye. In any case, the gameplay hasn't changed much - which could be seen as both a blessing and a curse - but if ain't borked I guess, don't fix it?

Replayability: Adventure games usually wind up being a one-and-done type of game. Borderlands does give you a few incentives to go back (major decisions and such) but I'm not sure if it's enough to drive more than a secondary playthrough at best.

Overall: Telltale Games does the Borderlands franchise justice with a fun story, better characters and a game that hits all the right notes.

Presentation: 4/5
Story: 5/5
Gameplay: 4/5
Replayability: 2/5
Overall (not an average): 4/5

 

 


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