NEW TALES FROM THE BORDERLANDS game review (9) (age rating 18+)
You ready to save the world?!!?
Well, you do whilst going on the funniest journey that is New Tales from the Borderlands haha!
Players are welcomed back into the world of the Borderlands and New Tales from the Borderlands really captures the same magic of its predecessor Telltale game, and is arguably better at points too, especially in terms of characters and their developments.
*All images used are screenshots from my PS5.
New Tales from the Borderlands is an interactive comedy-adventure game, where your decisions have consequences. It’s the spiritual successor to Tales from the Borderlands and is developed by Gearbox and published by 2K.
Thank you so much Harry from 2K for the review code! And as always, this will be a spoiler-free review!
Like I said, for those familiar with the franchise, New Tales from the Borderlands (New Tales) is the spiritual successor to Tales from the Borderlands, which was originally developed by Telltale games, and licensed by Gearbox.
And just like its predecessor, in New Tales, your decisions dictate the events of the story, and whilst there is a slight criticism that only a handful of decisions actually make a difference in the end, overall, I did enjoy the story.
The gameplay isn’t complicated too, which means it caters to a wide range of gamers, including those who do not game often, or are new to gaming as a whole.
There are QTEs (Quick Time Events), in which you have to push a button quickly, hold them down or button smash at different times during the story.
There are free roam moments where you have full control of your character in small areas as you search for clues, talk to other characters, and potentially find cool collectible figures, but we’ll get into the latter a bit later on! 👀
Furthermore, at the end of each chapter you are given an overview of the bonds each character has with each other (more on that in a bit too) and as individuals the game tells you about your decisions for each character, and what percentage of other players around the world chose the same as you.
An inventive goof, Anxious scientist, and a Badass forgurt lady
New Tales introduces us to three new protagonists: Anu, who is a socially awkward, but clever scientist. Octavio, her little brother, who is a streetwise, charming but clumsy guy, always trying get-rich-quick schemes and Fran, who is a badass lady and owns a froyo shop and deals with bad anger issues, and a tragic past.
Alongside them, we are introduced to the funny, charming, albeit blunt, robot assassin L0U13 (Also known as Louie).
Honestly their character developments was one of the main things I loved about the game, and whilst I won’t be spoiling the plot, I will talk a bit about the story.
THE STORY: One minute laughing, another minute like OH SHI–
As this is a spoiler free review, what I can say is the writing in New Tales is amazing, witty and hilarious. The humor is honestly the heart of this game. I fell in love with Octavio, Anu and Fran so quickly, and the bonds they created together, each with their own charm easily made the game great alone.
The humour throughout had me cracking up and “Son of a skag kicking rat’s ass” was one of the funniest cusses I heard in the game haha! It’s also not long before you’re thrown into the action, compared to its predecessor game, which I felt was a bit more of a slow burn.
Not once did I think the comedy was overdone in the game. It was the perfect balance between when to be serious and when to chuckle. To be honest, most of the comedy came from your own decisions during the speech segments. You could have Anu panicking every second, or have Fran throw in the funniest flirty one liners (No Fran, we do NOT want “Mouth-to-Mouth LOL).
Not once did I feel that anything was shoved in my face and I think that’s testament to the amazing writing, so shout out to the game writers and narrative designers.
There’s also handy recaps with each chapter, which lines up with its episodic layout. Also, I want to point out that underneath all the comedy, there’s a deep message in the game, which is shown through the growth of the characters.
This story is about bonds: creating and rebuilding them with those around you, and the last chapter solidified this message for me. The importance of respecting everyone’s personal paths, listening and being there for them no matter what, was presented in such a powerful and creative way, I can’t wait for you all to play it, if you haven’t already.
Whilst some may see the final chapter as being a big dragged out, I think it was absolutely necessary for portraying this beauty message amongst the laughs along the way.
Skateboard score system!
And on the topic of character bonds, New Tales takes a very unique approach of measuring the relationships between Anu, Octavio and Fran. Skateboards! At the end of each chapter the strength of the relationship between Fran, Octavio and Anu is measured by skateboards, as decided by L0U13.
Every decision you make in-game between the characters makes up how many skateboards you get, and the more “bonded” the group is, the better they’ll work together during certain moments in the game.
Very early on, I may (or may not have) gotten someone eaten because the team didn’t work together well. 👀 It wasn’t a main character though haha!
There are a variety of mini games within New Tales from hacking devices to fighting for your honor with figurines (Quite literally). The comedy is kept up even with the mini games.
However, whilst doing the incredibly easy tasks was funny at first, over time they were so painfully easy and simple to do, it felt a bit dry at times, and not an accomplishment at all.
Honestly, it’s almost impossible to fail them, but still, it’s not that big of a deal and just one slightly negative part of an otherwise great game.
When I said there are plenty of times you’d have to fight for your honor with these figures I wasn’t joking!
Vaultlander figures are figurines you find across the game and will constantly find yourself battling it out with a particular annoying (in the funniest way) character. He will literally be hiding in the most random places during the story and BOOM! You’re thrown into a battle, literally button smashing and dodging attacks before delivering the final blow to your enemy’s vaultlander, if you win. Honestly, I found these mini games to be the least jarring.
Considering the gameplay isn’t complicated, the settings are pretty straight forward too, so there isn’t much to say for this section.
You can adjust difficulty specifically to your gameplay tastes, making the QTEs easier and harder. You can also turn off the warning symbol that lets you know when a QTE is coming. I actually appreciated that option to make the game harder for myself.
There are also the standard settings for audio and visual.
I really enjoyed New Tales from the Borderlands, it was funny, witty and even intense at times. The story, comedy and the characters were the heart of the story, and even if you felt the gameplay was still way to easy, I believe many will stay for the characters alone because they’re so memorable and funny, you’ll want to stay and find out what happens next.
It, not only, captured the same charm of a Telltale game, but the comedy and vaultlander minigames, made the game its own and Gearbox and 2K should be proud of this game. I seriously can’t wait for the next, and what an ending!