Previously developed by the team at Telltale, a studio that specialized in interactive drama, Tales from the Borderlands won over audiences with its wacky humor and breakneck pace. For this new episode, it is the talents of Gearbox who take over from the creators of Wolf Among Us. On the menu? Missing characters, QTEs galore, and school jokes. Same formula as before, which may explain the overheated smell. Even burned.
From laughter to tears
It is in the city of Prometheus that this new interactive adventure in the Borderlands universe takes place. As corporations vie for control of the world, three protagonists find themselves drawn into a story that combines planetary invasion, the Lost Ark, sneaky revenge and the mysterious stone. Holy program! In fact, the structure of this interactive movie is as clear as Jacassos urine: the player follows the misadventures of Anu (a scientist), Octavio (Anu’s brother, a casual guy), and Fran (a taciturn manager of an ice cream parlor).. This trio of underdogs brings diverse personalities to the table. Anu is a sickly introvert with body expressions worthy of a disjointed puppet, Octavio is the funny little puncher on duty, while Fran only thinks about two things in life: cakes and sex. Fortunately, this hellish squad is accompanied by buddies funny people who came to save the group from shipwreck. Together they will face strange creatures ranging from alien races to CEOs of influential corporations in an avalanche of floodgates. Attention, team cohesion is evaluated by LOUI3, a robot-killer with well-oiled replicas. So you have to make sure you build relationships.
It’s not in its presentation that we can blame New Tales from the Borderlands for anything. With not unpleasant graphics with that cartoon touch so loved in the series, it has a striking staging that sticks to the tone of the story. It is common to discover cinematographic scenes whose montage corresponds to the rhythm of the background music (with the name of the artist on the screen). New Tales from the Borderlands goes to great lengths to look cool and current, at the risk of pushing the line, which isn’t really surprising for a Borderlands-licensed game.. The music is very good and the title has a quality French localization (text + voice). From the depths of an ice cream parlor to the supercharged sets of a sadistic TV show, Gearbox’s software tries to provoke a variety of situations calibrated to make you laugh. Whether you’re a series regular or not, New Tales will manage to elicit at least a smile and, at best, a laugh during certain sequences. And an interactive drama that is mostly based on humor rather than pity is always welcome!
One thing that is indisputable is that the studio is much more comfortable with tears of joy than tears of sadness. When it tries to take itself seriously, Gearbox’s software sounds sadly fake : long monologues full of good feelings are charmingly banal. The last straw for a universe run by weapons specialists! If part of the interest of the first adventure was in the surreal answers to select to generate funny dialogue, New Tales from the Borderlands sends mixed signals. Sure, the nonsensical dialogue options are still up for grabs, but they’re not encouraged by the goal of creating a cohesive team set by LOUI3. The fact that messages appear on the screen warning the user that the team is not yet at the top of cohesion tends to – insidiously – force the player to select the most conventional answers if they want to do what the software asks. do.
welcome in 2014
Yes, New Tales from the Borderlands is based almost entirely on its humor as well as its careful clothing (both visual and sound). This choice might have been worth it if the gameplay wasn’t so washed out compared to other games in the genre. The developers had been confident that they did not want to reinvent the wheel and it is clear that this adventure is satisfied with the bare minimum for the genre. So we find QTEs galore, some of which are only present to give the impression of playing the animation on the screen. Missed a QTE? As long as the clock is ticking, it is possible to rectify the situation although it is not very useful, since the consequences are seldom important. Branches aren’t actually very present during the epic: in the event of a fatal mischoice, a game over is displayed on the screen. and the user is invited to return to his last checkpoint, in a very simple way. The dialogue options have very similar responses in many situations, and the minigames are so innocuous that the game offers to skip them.
Despite the direct controls over the protagonists during the exploration phases, the specific game sequences are carried out through summarized QTEs, what turns good ideas into missed opportunities since everything develops in the same way. From hacking mini-games to dance games, from Metal Gear Solid parody to ArchiiBô duels, simply spam a button or turn the stick in one direction to succeed. Another point that usually frustrates in a narrative game of this type: the areas that trigger the scripts are erratic. It is not uncommon to be facing an object without this activating the detection zone. The player is then unable to trigger the action and must hammer the keys by varying their orientation until it passes.
Even more annoying, the last two chapters of the adventure (of the five delivered) fail to keep up with the high pace of the first half.. Coming into chapter 4, when the team splits up, we start spinning (literally), while the final episode is pretty disappointing. The sauce is hard to take, the lengths come together, the decorations are reused, and it all sinks into good vibes with a bit of ease. Once the adventure is over after 14 hours of play, a message from the developers is displayed on the screen where you can read the note of intention of the title. There is above all a paragraph that insists that the production was carried out during confinement. To be sure, Gearbox faced some significant challenges while creating New Tales from the Borderlands, and it shows on many levels.
- More than adequate shelf life
- An interactive drama with humor!
- Good music and successful VF
- The bare minimum for gameplay, even for a narrative game
- Few important choices, game over on death.
- lengths in history
- A rhythm that slows down in the last two chapters
- Scripted, erratic trigger zones
- Octavio is unbearable
The adventures of Anu, Octavio and Fran struggle to reach the furious madness that we had every right to expect from a Borderlands game. Sometimes irreverent, often conventional, the Gearbox-signed title settles for the bare minimum for a 2022 Interactive Drama in terms of gameplay. The virtual absence of Cornelian choices and the pacing that collapses past the third chapter prevent him from forgiving his lack of ambition. The problem with New Tales from the Borderlands is not that it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but that it spins the genre in circles. Fortunately, his humor gives him an important capital of sympathy.
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