REVIEWS

Tales from the Borderlands

Tales from the Borderlands

Tales from the Borderlands

Drive

Tales from the Borderlands: Telltale Games has finally become like a small studio filming series for a cable channel. Telltale has a lot of series, and their quality is different, and it depends on which director and screenwriter they managed to lure in a particular case. There is the first season of The Walking Dead, but there is also the second. What happened this time?

The idea of ​​​​creating a game based on the Borderlands universe at first seemed … a little strange, yes. But in the end, everything worked out wonderfully. The style of the game with its cel-shaded processing was ideal for Telltale’s homespun engine, which has been breathing its last for a long time and, blinking like an old man, is pouring sand. When they show us a box with stripes put on the hero and, winking nervously, whisper: “This is a rope, bro! Trust us!” I want to roll my eyes. However, stylization saves, and in general, if you do not look closely, the picture looks quite tolerable. This is especially noticeable when compared to Game of Thrones, where everything is an order of magnitude worse simply because a realistic style was chosen for it. However, the main difference lies not in the aforementioned trifles, but in the excellent script and direction of TftB: after all, Telltale projects have long been more films than games.

The writing and staging is the alpha and omega of Tales from the Borderlands, they grab you by the chest at the beginning of each chapter and don’t let go until the end. Then you emerge disheveled, with a stomach aching from laughter and with a satisfied face, like a cat that has eaten sour cream. When you are immersed from the threshold into a daring action scene, during which, in addition, they mercilessly mock the very principles of building games from Telltale, it’s worth a lot, you just have time to wipe your tears from laughter and press the keys. But in addition to the wonderful action, there is no less wonderful and no less driving story. A story about a clerical rat who decided to grab a fat piece on the sly, and a swindler who has been doing this all her life, sparkles, shimmers, burns! The story is told through a series of flashbacks.

By the way, meet Reese and Fiona, our protagonists. Each has its own characteristics. Reese is a former programmer, a major, a cyborg, and therefore he can study the surroundings through a special filter in his eye. Fiona, in addition to having an attractive appearance and a dashing hat, carries a mini-gun with variable cartridges everywhere and collects money lying around in different places. In fact, the described differences are sort of little things to create an atmosphere. For example, money is trivially unnecessary in the game: yes, you can buy new clothing items for the characters, as well as a coloring for the car when it appears, but this does not affect anything other than appearance. Reese’s cybervision is mainly used to study surrounding objects and receive funny comments from the processor built into the eye.

Briefly showing the characters separately, the plot brings them together very quickly, which only increases the pressure of the jokes. The writers love the cascading form that Zucker liked to use, where you’re bombarded with escalating one-liners and then “Bam!” and you move into the opening credits of the chapter. Vivid impressions are guaranteed. And yes, each chapter has a screensaver with credits, and it is played out every time in a new way.

As you know, the retinue makes the king, and a good story is impossible without secondary characters. And here, too, there is complete order, there are many characters, they are colorful, and even if they do not play a big role in the story, they still have memorable appearance and antics. Each protagonist has his own close people: Reese has Vaughn, a friend and also a former programmer, and Fiona has Sasha, a younger sister and part-time small dynamo machine. And of course, Handsome Jack is an antagonist, scum, killer, charismatic and humorist, in general, just a darling. And robots, where without robots, Botloader and Gorgis are a wonderful couple, the writers managed to ensure that the player empathizes with the iron creatures no less than the human heroes.

The writers of Tales from the Borderlands are simple guys, so their jokes are straightforward, and the references are not hidden at all, the French from Dontnod Entertainment acted more gracefully. But what joy you experience when at a certain moment you are offered to decide what to place on an advertising billboard, and among the options you can choose “See You Space Cowboy”. Moreover, the scene preceding this is also very impressive – the case when it is both sad and funny at the same time. The finale generally deserves the title of “Gurren Lagann in miniature”, and this is a compliment of the highest standard.

A legitimate question may arise: “What about those who have not played the main series of games?” The answer is simple: “Play the novelty, don’t even think about it.” Yes, Tales from the Borderlands has a lot of characters from the Borderlands scattered around, and the volume of soul-warming references for the originals that have been played will exceed all acceptable standards. But if you haven’t played, then you won’t lose anything important, because the story is so well done, and the characters are so well woven and revealed that ignorance of the origins will not at all reduce the joy of passing.

When describing Tales from the Borderlands, you can use many characteristics, but the main one is still “Drive!”. When you are captured and dragged, not letting you breathe, when you can only laugh out loud and howl with delight. When jokes are heard even in response to skipping credits. When the ending comes out exactly as expected, for nothing that he does not forget to leave a reserve for the continuation. When you don’t want to skip the final song, but you want to listen and tap your foot on the floor to the beat. When, finally, after everything you have experienced, you get so many positive emotions that there is no strength or desire left to look for negative grains among them.

 

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