For lovers of narrative adventures, Tales from the Borderlands: A Telltale Game Series is a classic, remarkable for its atmosphere and humor. It is therefore with great interest that fans of the genre and of the license have welcomed the announcement of New Tales from the Borderlandsa sequel developed directly by Gearbox Software, who runs the franchise. But unfortunately, the magic didn’t work on us as much as it did with the original.
A point and click with a forgettable scenario and archaic gameplay, of which we will only retain the characters and their most significant passages.
Forget Rhys and Fiona, although they will still have minor roles in this story. We follow here anuan anxious engineer at Atlas who has just discovered a strange technology that can make things disappear, his adopted brother Octavioa failed thief with an oversized ego living on Prometheusand Frenchwho employed him in his ice cream shop and who has to work on managing his anger, especially since his business was destroyed by a laser of Maliwan. The events are later than those of Borderlands 3and while it’s more comfortable to be up to date on this story, it’s easy to hang up with the few important things, even if you haven’t followed the series since Tales from the Borderlands.
Because everything will change very quickly when Tedioreone of the world’s leading weapons manufacturers, and its patroness Susan Coldwell will attack Prometheus for some unknown reason. The brother and sister separated for a long time and the cooler in a robotic wheelchair will thus be reunited in spite of themselves to survive this invasion, and why not thwart it thanks to a mysterious artifact that they will discover. And all the interest of this sequel will rest on this trio with strong characters, the nuances and synergy of which we will be able to draw up over our choice of dialogues. Almost a little too human for the totally crazy world of Borderlandsthese heroes full of flaws will quickly prove to be endearing, unlike the story that features them.
Despite a great and quite interesting start, New Tales from the Borderlands barely thrills in its entire 10-hour runtime. Incredible situations follow one another without too much narrative and aesthetic coherence, with ellipses that have sometimes managed to get us lost in time and space markers that are nevertheless tight, enough to drop us on certain narrative aspects. The general story lacks binding and pep, with several scenes dragging on too long and others quite boring, despite the QTY simplistic just there to maintain attention. Besides, interesting bias: if you manage to miss them, the failure can go as far as Game Over, asking us to repeat the passage, which keeps the interest of the tense action scenes, even if it is sometimes possible to miss a QTY without this having any effect on the course. The system of narrative choices remains generally well put together, with paths that are taken in a fluid way, apart from some more showy binary decisions, including during the end which should not vary much between players. The links between our characters will be counted in parallel by relational gauges and a general rejoicing meter, regularly counted in skateboards.
Besides, New Tales from the Borderlands does not lack humor andhe managed to blow our noses a few times (which is still a feat for a video game), it didn’t strike us as funny as its predecessor. There are a few parodies of current societal phenomena, effective rehearsal comedy and a few amusing sight gags, but not enough to maintain a captivating comedic tone. His arsenal of wacky secondary characters, regularly introduced during the first half of the adventure, only serves him for futile appearances of some of them in the last of the 5 chapters, where we would have preferred to see some more, and with as much depth as Lou13which will upstage them all.
Otherwise, the gameplay is limited to the bare minimum, with dialogue choices and QTY summary, phases of search for objects in closed area or even combats of figurines and mini-games easy as ever. Granted, narrative adventures aren’t known for their mechanical ingenuity, but we could have hoped for better than one point and click from the old days. New Tales from the Borderlands is not, however, technically stingy: very nice graphicallywith well-animated characters (apart from a few faces, including that ofanu which lack expressiveness), very few clipping and other visual concerns, and an certainly catch-all, but rich artistic direction. The dubbing is at the topthanks to committed actors who captured the electric and quirky atmosphere of the game. Let’s also highlight the effectiveness of the few musical cutscenes that cheered up our eyes and ears.
But here, despite his generosity and his desire to do well, New Tales from the Borderlands only remainsa point and click to the forgettable scenario and the gameplay archaic, of which we will retain only the characters and their most striking passages. There is nothing unpleasant about this epic, its beautiful graphics and faultless soundtrack allowing it to be maintained, but its intensity falls over the course of the scenario which loses interest and ends in a certain indifference.
New Tales from the Borderlands is available from €39.99 at Amazon.co.uk.
- The original and successful main characters
- Technically very neat
- Several really fun gags
- The scenario whose interest decreases over the chapters
- A few long passages
- Game mechanics that are limited to a minimum, despite a few uningenious side effects
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