GAME NAME: Tales From The Borderlands Episode One: Zer0 Sum
DEVELOPER(S): Telltale Games
PUBLISHER(S): Telltale Games/2K Games
PLATFORM(S): Xbox One
RELEASE DATE(S): November 25th, 2014
Telltale Games have been on a role lately with their famous Walking Dead game along with The Wolf Among Us, the most recently released Game of Thrones and Tales From The Borderlands. I have been a long time fan of the “point and click” style games ever since I played the first Monkey Island game on PC. Telltale have taken a style of gameplay and turned it into a more interactive “point and click” type of game with more character movement done with the analog sticks instead of the click of a mouse. Having said all that, I have enjoyed the Borderlands games and thoroughly liked the story, characters and settings. Tales From The Borderlands takes everything I loved about the story and character elements from the FPS games and incorporates it flawlessly in a interactive story telling masterpiece. The same formula is at hand as in the past Telltale games and that isn’t a bad thing, with your choices that you make can change story plots or character relationships throughout the game.
(The review below may contain light story spoilers, though attempts were made to keep details as vague as possible.)
The game starts out with a character names Rhys (you) who works for Hyperion on their space station heading to the office of his boss. A promotion was due to Rhys and when he arrived Vasquez surprised him with a different agenda that would leave you feeling quite wronged. You gain the help from your two closest friends to head to Pandora and obtain a Vault Key before Vasquez in hopes to become the head honcho of Hyperion. This is where the story picks up quite well and you’re introduced to Fiona (also you), who is a very skilled con artist that was trained from a man who raised her named Felix.
Every Telltale game controls are almost identical with the game focusing heavily on conversations and you choosing what to say along with occasional quick time events. At times you will be able to take control of either Rhys or Fiona depending on where you are in the story, you will move them with the analog stick and use button commands depending if you’re wanting to look or interact at objects. Each character has a special skill about them, Rhys can use his bionic type eye to scan items or use his hacking skills to get the job done. Fiona can obtain money throughout the game and can use that to barter and make a conversation or situation go in her favor if the price is right. Of course like mentioned ealier, almost all decisions will have a repercussion involved that will make you curious if you made the right choice. There is no true wrong way to progress in the story, but the decisions you make might not come back to screw you over or help you until an episode or two later.
Visually this game is spot on with all the previous Telltale games and definitely fits since Borderlands had the cell-shaded look to it from the start. There are quite a few framerate issues on the Xbox One version that I noticed and I’m not sure why that would be when the game doesn’t require all that much to run efficiently. Sometime during cutscenes it will jump a little, but not enough to ruin the moment and when you control your character’s movement they will skip frames as if their animation wasn’t rendered properly. The sound is amazing in Tales From The Borderlands with the music having that Borderlands western style twang we all know from the FPS games in the series. The acting is superb and definitely immerses you within the world of Pandora from Telltale’s great scripting and voices.
Zer0 Sum is the first episode within Tales From The Borderlands and it delivers everything I had hoped it would. Even though the Xbox One version had a bit more framrate issues than I would’ve wanted, I still feel this is a must buy for any Telltale or Borderlands fan. I can’t wait for the second episode to hit so I can experience Pandora and it’s wacky characters from Telltale’s perspective.