Zero Sum

Per Matt
Pandora’s gotten a lot of activity, lately. Treasure hunters have descended upon the planet, searching for mysterious vaults that are rumored to be filled with immeasurable wealth. These Vault Hunters are a ruthless, rough-and-tumble bunch. They aptly set the stage for Tales from the Borderlands.

Taking place after the events of Borderlands 2, Player 1 controls multiple characters who are defined by different shades of morality. Rhys previously worked at mega-corporation Hyperion, before his new boss unjustly demoted him. With the aid of Vaughn, Rhys’ co-conspirator, the men attempt to replace their newly appointed Hyperion boss with a hair-brained scheme, before things quickly go awry. Fiona and Sasha, a pair of sisterly con-artists, are largely responsible for advancing the chain of unfortunate events involving each of these characters.

Together, they form an uneasy alliance, in hopes of getting rich quickly. There are a TON of maniacs, degenerates and scumdogs littered throughout this planet and that means there’s a lot of double-crossing going on, as well. In this setting, there is no honor among thieves.

Some of the highlights include a cybernetic ninja assassin, a Murder Rally death race and somewhere along the line, the ghost of a previous main character will make an appearance, as well!

Episode One, Zer0 Sum, does a great job of quickly introducing characters old and new and diving headfirst into their story. This is a single-player game that is similar to the previous role-playing shooter video games. Since this was my first full-fledged journey onto Pandora, I was immensely impressed that it was not necessary to have played either Borderlands or Borderlands 2 to understand what was happening in the game. Although, I suppose having previously played those games would have given a ton of background information, since this game takes place in the same overall universe.

Tales from the Borderlands adopts the Telltale formula, where past actions influence future ones. Throughout the game, the player is constantly building their character. And for the first time, this point-and-click adventure game encourages players to create an online account, for exploring all their past decisions via logging into Telltale Games’ database and comparing those decisions with others.

Tales from the Borderlands is a completely different type of story than The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, one which totally caught me off guard. The story features a LOT of great quotes, awesome technology, great humor and some incredible music. The first episode, alone, features six chapters, each one enjoyable and longer than expected.

All of the achievements and trophies are story based and none of them are missable. Depending on the player, the total playtime for this episode runs about two and a half hours long. That’s a whole lot of entertainment packed into one episode!

After playing the first chapter, alone, I’m totally hooked on this entire series. Of course, I finished all six chapters, really enjoying each one, the entire time. I also really enjoyed the main storyline coming from different character’s perspectives. I can’t wait to find out what happens in Episode Two!

Strength: Incredibly fun, cleverly written game.
Weakness: Why does it have to end?
WTF Moment: One of the main characters is voiced by Chris Hardwick!

Notable Quotes:
– “Ow! My woofer!”
– “Angry eyes detected.”
– “I have the shiniest meat bicycle.”
– “Don’t make lesson 3 be about number 2.”
– “That should be me… only less Vasquezzy.”
– “When the spiderants come, people get killed.”
– “Bad things can happen when you swim against fate.”
– “My mask smells weird. Does your mask smell weird?”
– “One way or another, everything on Pandora leads to a vault.”
– “She later died a second time as some cyborg Zombie thing…”
– “Friends help each other steal stuff. I mean, that’s how it works.”
– “I never want to see somebody’s brain come out of their nose… I mean, never again.”

Review: 4/5