Tales From The Borderlands Episode 5 Is Out

It seems unlikely and pretty silly that two developers would release the fifth and final chapters of their respective episodic adventure games on the exact same day, but what do you want them to do – jump in a time-travelling car and return back from the future with a copy of The Video Game Almanac 2015?

By which I mean I’m still determined to win Most Forced Back To The Future Reference today, and also that I didn’t play Episode 5 of Gearbox’s pretty fun Tales from the Borderland [official site] last night because I was instead playing the conclusion to Dontnod’s wonderful Life Is Strange. But TFTB is now finished too.

From this point on, spoilers abound! (Maybe that screenshot up top ↑ is already a spoiler. I’m a touch behind so I don’t know. But if you haven’t been expecting more Handsome Jack, I guess you haven’t been playing it?) Here’s what Telltale have to say about it:

“In the final episode of the season, all hell breaks loose. Jack is now in control of Helios’ systems, and he’s ready to reclaim his rightful place as king of Hyperion (with or without you). It’s a mad dash to get out of the chaotic space station alive, as everyone scrambles to grab the final Gortys piece and high tail it back to Pandora. Can you guide our ragtag team through perilous corporate dangers in hopes of getting some sweet alien riches? Loyalties will be tested, secrets will be revealed, and explosions will be in large supply in this climactic chapter of Tales From The Borderlands!”

And here’s a trailer showing bits of all this:

Coo, it doesn’t half look dramatic. I’ll get on that once I’ve got over Life Is Strange. Speaking of, Pip’s going to be telling us all about that soon. But back on Borderlands, did any of y’all finish this last night? What have you made of the season?

To celebrate this wrapping up, Telltale are holding a wee small sale on Steam and Humble, bringing the full five-episode season down to £14.24.

I’ve only just realised that TFTB is an anagram of BTTF. What a missed opportunity!

31 Comments

  1. Xocrates says:

    (may contain minor spoilers)
    Yeah, played it last night, still digesting it.

    Before this came out, I wondered how the hell they would manage to wrap everything up. Truth be told, they managed it, but the episode’s structure feels kind of… weird?

    Essentially in a ~2 hours episode the first 30-45 minutes wrap up the main plot lines and then you spend the majority of the game tying up dangling plot lines leading to an epic but reasonably low stakes finale. So you go from super dramatic and high stakes in the first half to largely just chilling out with your buddies in the second half.

    And while I largely quite enjoyed it, I do call bullshit in the final shot, where after they spent the majority of the game just making sure everything was nice and tied up, they come up with a (literally) last second cliffhanger.

    As for the series as a whole? Dunno. I quite enjoyed playing all the episodes, and all of them have fantastic moments, but the only one I really loved was the fourth one and maybe the first, so ultimately I just don’t feel like it left a lasting impression even though I do not have any major defects to point out.

    Would a recommend it?
    If you’re a borderlands fan I think it’s worth a punt even if only to keep up with the plot (which will have implications in the main games).
    If you’re not, I’m not sure. A lot of people seem to be enjoying it even without playing the main series, but there are so many references and assumed knowledge that I think one would miss a lot by going in blind.

    • ribby says:

      It’s not a last second cliffhanger is it? It’s just ends on a quiet moment of reflection and a “what will they do next?”

      • Xocrates says:

        (SPOILERS)The impression I got was that the vault had transported them away. So you’re left without knowing what happened or what implications that might have (END SPOILERS)

    • mavrik says:

      I really disliked Borderlands due to its grindy nature and some annoying characters at the beginning. So I never really played it beyond a few hours.

      Still, Tales from the Borderlands was a hugely enjoyable experience (even though I guess I missed a lot of callouts). My GF, having never heard of Borderlands, enjoyed it a lot too, so I’d recommend it even to non-fans.

  2. Vaalac says:

    Best TellTales game ever.
    I think I liked the others episodes a bit more than the last one, but really the season was awesome.

  3. geisler says:

    Am i the only one who would like the Telltale narrative gameplay combined with the Gearbox FPS game?

  4. Phantom_Renegade says:

    I’m torn between this or Wolf being the best TellTale game. If forced I’d probably still go with Wolf but damn if this isn’t a great one. It’s great in general too, it has it all, comedy, drama, thrills and adventure. Anyone who enjoys adventure games should pick this one up.

    Couple of criticism, which do contain spoilers.

    The Rhys/Sasha romance was incredibly forced and dumb. I kept making every decision possible not to go down that route and it still almost happened on screen and there were some serious suggestions it happened off screen. TellTale is notorious for not having any of your decisions matter when it comes to big stuff, but forcing even this? That’s just dumb.

    When you make legitimately bad choices, other characters call you out on it and are mad…for 5 seconds. Then it’s all good again and let’s go on an adventure together. Really? The only game in which the TellTale blurb about a game responding to your decisions has been less true is Game of Thrones, which takes a sadistic kind of pleasure in making sure every action is as futile as possible. At least there it’s justifiable as being in theme.

    But really, these are minor gripes. Tales is just that damn good that I didn’t care, I just enjoyed the ride tremendously. And I was rewarded for not buying the season pass until it was clear the last episode would release in a reasonable amount of time. I can imagine the people who bought the first episode at launch would be a bit less charitable towards it.

    So in addition to never pre-ordering, never ever buy a TellTale game before at the very least they’ve set a month in which the last ep will be released. I remember buying Wolf at launch and being incredibly angry at TT for not only going way over time, but also being glib and arrogant about it when they did decide to throw us a snippet of information.

    From the start of Ep 2 of Tales I’m thinking the same thing happened here.

    • ribby says:

      Forcing it? there’s literally an option where you can say “yeah I like her” or “no, we’re just friends”

      • ribby says:

        Although I’m biased because I found the incredibly awkward romance very cute and funny

      • Phantom_Renegade says:

        Throughout the season you could say/do something like saying we’re just friends or just flat out not pick the romance option. And not only did it keep coming up, every scene with those two in it had them staring romantically at each other, every dialogue option, including not having the romance, still hinted at the romance, and every other character acts as though the romance is ongoing.

        So yes, forced.

        • ribby says:

          Doesn’t life is strange do a similar thing with what’s-his-face?

      • TheMopeSquad says:

        If it makes anyone feel any better there is an option during that choice where you can say you “Like someone else” and then look at Fiona with doe eyes.

        I prefer what they did with the “romance” it’s a sign of shitty writing when they make a male and female protagonist and of course they have to fall in love, just because. They didn’t do that here, and it helps make Fiona a stronger character. So with Fiona off the table there’s no other option except Sasha. Without making up a completely new character or not having any “romance” at all they did what they could with what they had.

  5. Kollega says:

    I just hope that at some point, Handsome Jack will just die already and we can have some other overarcing-villan-slash-plot-enabler in future Borderlands stories. Because Jack… honestly, for me having to listen to Jack’s nails-against-chalkboard voice and bear witness to his petty cruelty for the entire game was the main reason to stop replaying Borderlands 2, and main reason not to pick up the Pre-Sequel. When he stops joking thirty minutes in and really sets his aim on tormenting the Vault Hunters (and by extension the player), he’s arguably too good at having no redeeming qualities; instead of being someone you “love to hate”, he becomes someone you just plain hate. And you can’t even properly torture the bastard when you finally have him dead to rights.

    • Xocrates says:

      To be fair, he’s dead. Like, really dead. The problem is that it hasn’t stopped them from bringing him back.

      And while I like Jack, I do honestly hope they move on by the time BL3 rolls around.

    • gunny1993 says:

      I think you have to understand that most people who bought the game and made it a success love Handsome jack for both his heavily deluded personality and his voice actor.

      For me and the 6 or 7 people I know to have played all the borderlands game, jack is just about the best thing in it. although don’t get me wrong he’s about to overstay his welcome for me and I want to someone new, preferably from a new corp.

    • ribby says:

      Huh… Well I haven’t played the other games but he was essentially an anti-hero for the first 4 episodes of this game and someone I loved to hate for the last one. He helps you out a lot

      • Xocrates says:

        @ribby: Kollega is refering specifically to Borderlands 2, which is about 40 hours long. And he acts like he does in the last episode for most of it, and that’s BEFORE he gets really pissed off.

        • ribby says:

          Oh… I can see why that might be a bit of a drag. I’d say Telltale does a better job with Jack then. Worth checking out

          • Xocrates says:

            Honestly, I would say it’s less them doing a better job as it is him being too powerless to ever be an actual threat.

          • ribby says:

            But not too powerless to help you out. He needs you to be alive for him to stay alive, so there’s space to make a tentative alliance.

          • Xocrates says:

            Of course, since I knew Handsome Jack going in, I tried to avoid said alliance like the plague :P

          • ribby says:

            I was as nice to him as I could be without ever giving much power to him. I knew he was the bad guy in Borderlands 2 but didn’t really know much about him. It was a fun ride trying to balance keeping Jack on my side without helping him out too much

            Ending of Episode 4 was great though :) those credits

    • TheMopeSquad says:

      I would agree with that only if they can possibly ever make another villain as good as Handsome Jack and I think that is just impossible. Tales was a good game but the only thing that makes it more than a really funny pretty well written and well made Telltale game was Dameon Clarkes performance. In regards to Handsome jack, the Pre-Sequel was a joke, but Tales a proper goodbye to the character. Hilarious, terrifying, and poignant.

      • Xocrates says:

        Honestly, I think the trick is NOT to try and surpass Handsome Jack. They can go in a different direction, and simply try to make a good villain that does not conjure comparisons to Handsome Jack.

        Frankly, I really quite liked Zarpedon partly because of how different she was from Jack.

        • Xocrates says:

          Oh, and that’s assuming you need to have a villain. The original game didn’t even have one until the end when Atlas and what’sHerFace showed up. The same is true for several DLCs.

          Frankly, you could realistically make BL3 about finding a vault and then have a huge monster inside it, and still having it being an amazing game.

          Heck, the best Borderlands DLC is about the crew hanging out and playing D&D.

  6. ribby says:

    This is a fantastic game. I’m really a bit sad that so few people know about it or have played what is IMO, Telltale’s best work. Sure it’s less serious than the Walking Dead but it plays with your entire emotional range whilst remaining pleasantly amusing all the way through. It’s just packed, absolutely packed with amusing dialogue and actions. I don’t see how they could ever top this. Might as well close shop and go home.

    9.5/10 my favourite game since Portal 2

    Plus, those intros- god those were good

  7. Risingson says:

    Seriously, I see more intelligence in most of the Sam&Max episodes than in the whole post Walking Dead Telltale catalogue. And I am talking about the narrative here.

    But anyway, out of my garden blah blah blah.

  8. pfooti says:

    I was quite fond of it. I played episode 5 last night. Minor spoilers here:

    I enjoyed the whole Sasha romance thing – I hadn’t planned it (and usually don’t pursue romance options in video games) but they were just super cute. Plus, August was all wrong for Sasha.

    I liked the ending. In mine, at least, Fiona ended up being a badass future vault-hunter and Rhys was more along the lines of “yeah, that was cool, but I think I’m done with danger”. This is something of a swap from what you might have expected in a trad gender role game.

    The entire game was never all that hard, but the Voltron // Captain Planet fight with all my vault hunter buddies (athena and janey because of course) felt really satisfying with needing to press more than one button in a cutscene.

    Overall, I grew attached to all the characters quite a bit. I sorta-kinda like the regular borderlands games (mindless fun and grind for when I’m in the mood), but the combination of the space cowboy setting (even with a bebop callout) with telltale managing to make well-developed characters and a decent story arc was really win. I hope they’re involved in a future BL3 project. I also hope gearbox does a BL3 that’s on par with BL2 and not other gearbox stuff.

    Final thoughts: I feel bad I blew up Felix now. Also: Scooter … :(

    • ribby says:

      Oh man… There were some feels in this game

      *spoilers*

      (I said, SPOILERS)

      That bit with Sasha at the end had me choked up… I kept waiting and waiting for it to go – nah, jk she’s not really dead. And then it didn’t. And I was super sad. And then it did! And.. ohhh they got me so good.

  9. Idiotruinsgame says:

    Loved this whole game. It was fun, the characters grew on me and the musical intros were awesome.

    I am so glad I picked Felix, I figured he was due for some kind of redemption since he was kind of the girls father but fucking hell was I happy when I got claptrap instead.

    The only thing I didn’t like was that Felix left Sasha a deus ex machina in a box. I like her but she should have died.