New Tales From the Borderlands

There are many stories to tell in the Borderlands universe

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The death of Telltale Games made us think that we would never see narrative games from great franchises again, but fate wanted otherwise. From the ashes of the studio and with some of the original creatives, Gearbox Québec revived Tales From The Borderlands with a new installment, but does it have the magic of the 2014 game? It has some charisma, but it’s mostly a disappointing release.

New Tales from the Borderlands: Deluxe Edition ― available on Amazon Mexico

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Related video: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE MEH! New Tales from the Borderlands

Another narrative experience

The first thing you’ll notice in this installment is that time hasn’t passed in vain. The difference between New Tales Form The Borderlands and its predecessor is abysmal thanks to a completely renewed presentation that harnesses the power of technological advances and the experience that Gearbox has acquired over time.

The goal of the art direction and graphic section was to create an adventure that seemed to be taken directly from Borderlands 3 and succeed at it. This narrative adventure could well belong to the third numbered installment of the Gearbox series. Even the animation work is close. This, in addition to being a delight for the pupil, allows New Tales From the Borderlands to be a visually consistent installment that is part of the universe of the series.

The latter is key because it is a great success of the game. There are many things that can be criticized Borderlands, but if it does something good, it is to paint us a world with a lot of personality and a lot of stories to tell. What we see in New Tales From the Borderlands is one of them and moves away from the Vault Hunters to better focus on those ordinary people who survive in corporate wars.

It is in this context where we meet our 3 protagonists: Anu, Octavio and Fran. Everyone can be understood as victims -and to a certain degree, as accomplices- of the blows that excessive corporatism unleashes on ordinary people. Anu is a scientist with low self-esteem who dreams of being recognized for her great intelligence; Although she assures that she wants to use her mind for good, she is an employee of Atlas, a company known for manufacturing deadly weapons and experimenting on animals. On the other hand, there is her brother, Octavio: a boy with a good heart, but an empty head, who lives in misery, but believes that by defending the status quo and with a bit of a shark mentality he can be part of the elite. The last and third star of this story is Fran, a woman on a hoverchair who works hard every day to support herself and try to raise the middle finger in front of corporations.

There are many stories to tell in the Borderlands universe

We don’t want to go into too much detail about the story because the point is that you know it for yourself, but we can say that Gearbox’s intention was to deliver a comedy focused on its characters. While it doesn’t quite pull it off – we’ll talk about that a little later – we recognize that the story starts off well; that its characters are endearing and that there were a couple of occasions that we let out a laugh.

New Tales From the Borderlands It ended up being one of the most bittersweet experiences of the year. It’s an almost depressing situation because it all started with so much promise. The story seemed really cool as a social satire with a few good laughs. In addition, we were facing some well-constructed and very charismatic characters. We thought we would remember her for years.

Sadly, when our expectation was through the roof. Gearbox took it and threw it on the floor. Almost suddenly, the story that fascinated us became a tired narrative. In fact, we finished it just so we could bring you this review.

But, what is it that caused this abrupt change? The main problem is that New Tales From the Borderlands It has a hectic pace. As we said, the game starts off well, but then progress slows, with cutscenes that exist as filler and an opportunity to tell bad jokes.

And it is that, if there is a huge problem with New Tales From the Borderlands, is that he is unable to understand when it was too much. Several sections overextend their presence to the point of becoming tedious. There are still a lot of jokes that they think that by insisting on them they will become funny. Of course that never happens and they end up embarrassing others… in the worst way.

One thing to note about humor is that many of its good jokes get lost in their localization into Iberian Spanish. The work is decent most of the time, but many jokes are impossible to transport just like that and some of the best ones get lost in translation.

There are good ideas, but the script tends to be very poor
There are good ideas, but the script tends to be very poor

As if that weren’t enough, Gearbox never decided which direction the story would take. What seemed to be an interesting satire on corporatism turns into a personal drama about the value of the individual and relationships in a world in chaos. Of course there are stories that can do both and shine! The detail is that for Gearbox it was impossible to bring both ships to fruition. With this, the story feels hollow with a lot of wasted opportunities and uninteresting character development. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a big problem if New Tales From the Borderlands would shine on other elements, but it doesn’t. It’s just another narrative game with simplistic, tedious Quick Time Events and other little problems.

Which leaves us with a very bittersweet taste in New Tales From the Borderlands is that several of its sections could be much more. Gearbox Québec clearly had good ideas, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. For example, between cutscenes and decisions there are moments where you take control of Anu, Octavio or Fran to explore an area. This is a great idea because it shakes up the pace of the game to keep you from feeling like you’re watching an interactive movie and flirts with point-and-click adventure ideas in the process.

Sadly, their implementation is gray and empty, so they become sections that seem to exist only because they came up with the idea, not because they knew what to do with it. Right now you’ll only be walking around a small area with predetermined objects that you can interact with to get money or Vaultfish figures, both of which are irrelevant because they’re nearly useless. Worst of all, it lacks interesting puzzles, so they are reduced to simply finding the objects that you must interact with in order to continue the story.

We said that in the explore sections you can get Vaultfish figures, but what the heck is that? It is a minigame with which New Tales From the Borderlands pays tribute to the Vault Hunters from past installments. When we found out about its existence, we got excited thinking that maybe it would be a curious minigame in which we would want to spend hours, like Gwent in The Witcher: Wild Hunt.

How wrong we were! Vaultfish figure fights are simple fights where you just press a button and dodge your opponent’s attacks with Quick Time Events. At the end of the fight you can execute a sequence of buttons that appears on the screen to perform a kind of Fataility from Mortal Kombat and that’s it; that’s absolutely all it offers. You don’t even feel a major difference between the different figures!

NTFTB could be much more
NTFTB could be much more

In this way, what could have been an interesting minigame and a perfect excuse to burn hours in New Tales From the Borderlands, it becomes a task that you simply want to avoid. Every time we accidentally found one of the duels hidden throughout the story, we wanted to punish ourselves for being foolish enough to interact with the item that led to it.

New Tales From the Borderlands It could have been a much better game. There is enormous potential in the universe Borderlands to explore stories about all those people who with their work and sacrifice pay the bills for the eternal greed of corporations like Atlas, Hyperion and Tediore. The potential of this world to tell relatable stories and then give us the illusion that the little ones can win, even just once, was completely wasted.

Sadly, New Tales From the Borderlands it only complies in concept and, in execution, leaves much to be desired.

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Written by Editor TLN

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