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You can read our review of Tales From The Borderlands Episode 1 here. In that review we talk about the overall gameplay and look. You can also read our review of Episode 2, Episode 3 and Episode 4 .Those reviews and this review focus on the story and characters. No major spoilers for Episode 5 are in this review.
Warning: Some spoilers for Episode 1, 2, 3 and 4 might appear.
And here we are, the end of the first season of Tales From The Borderlands. The fifth and final episode is filled with heartbreak, excitement and some great laughs. And while I found the ending to be satisfying I also ran into some performance issues that were really frustrating.
Before we go any further just know, I’m going to talk about the previous episodes pretty openly. So if you don’t want those earlier episodes to be spoiled stop reading and go play them. I’ll wait.
Anyways, when we last left our ragtag group they were almost done with a heist. A heist that was trying to get the final piece of the Gortys. Gortys is an adorable robot who also has the ability, once completed, to open an entrance to a Vault. The only catch, the final piece is inside the Hyperion headquarters, that large H that floats around the planet of Pandora.
The episode picks up after Rhys and Jack, who is a digital ghost in Rhys’ brain, were discussing Rhys’ future. Quickly Jack reveals that he isn’t a nice guy who wants to help Rhys and you have to escape. Meanwhile Fiona and Sasha escape after August, a man who Fiona and Sasha conned in the first episode, has a turn of heart and helps them escape.
And there wasn’t a ton of gameplay in this episode or puzzles. The Telltale games have been like this for awhile, but this episode in particular feels like the biggest leap away from Adventure games they have done. Looking back I don’t think there is a puzzle at all in this episode. Instead Telltale focused on telling a great story.
The two major parts of this episode are Rhys trying to finally get rid of Handsome Jack and the group trying to help Gortys.
Rhys and Handsome Jack have some great dialogue in this episode. I love the way that Jack appears all over the place. You really feel like he is taking control. I won’t spoil the end, but the final moment between Handsome Jack and Rhys is one of my favorite things in this entire series. It feels genuine and I know this is a cliche, but I really did feel a small amount of sadness for Handsome Jack. This moment pays off the entire Handsome Jack storyline. Not just the stuff from Tales From The Borderlands. No, his entire arc through Pre-Sequel and Borderlands 2 comes to a great close in the season finale of Tales From The Borderlands.
I mentioned that Rhys and Jack’s final moment was one of my favorite things about this series. Well my number one favorite thing is easily LoaderBot. And as a fan of LoaderBot I enjoyed how big a role he had in this final episode.
We really get to see the lengths LoaderBot will go to help his friends and to save Gortys. He truly cares about that little robot and I found myself moved by this dumb yellow robot more times than once during the final episode. Again, I won’t spoil anything but they do a fantastic job giving LoaderBot a reason to be a big part of this episode.
Eventually our ragtag group is given one final challenge. Saving Gortys.
Without spoiling anything, and trust me I don’t want to spoil this episode for you, the team must come together to save Gortys and the world. Heavy stuff. But don’t think Tales From The Borderlands has forgotten it’s a comedic game. There are still a ton of laughs, including one of my favorite visual jokes. At some point the group is all together inside a giant robot and it looks just like Power Rangers. I really love this series. I’m sad to see it go.
I’m also sad that this episode was filled with performance issues. I had numerous framerate drops and the audio cut out a lot. On top of that I had some issues I hadn’t seen before. One issue was in game models getting stuck in a spot. I had a rocket just hanging in the air or a character stop moving their lips and the thing they were holding just clipped through everything as the camera moved. It looked awful. I even had two moments where the game just froze for nearly two minutes. Action segments, even the amazing giant robot fight at the end, were hard to enjoy because of how stutter-y they would get.
Tales From The Borderlands is not the first series Telltale has done that had performance issues and this final episode isn’t the first episode to have issues like this. But it is getting harder and harder to ignore these issues. The writing is great and the jokes are awesome, but the game runs like shit. And after multiple series and episodes, it is getting more and more annoying. Things need to improve or I might end up hating future Telltale games.
But I don’t hate Tales From The Borderlands. What a fantastic series and what a perfect ending. Some performance issues and technical hiccups were frustrating, but the episode was so good it makes up for most of those problems. This episode was a great way to end the season and I can’t wait for more.
Let’s just hope they can get these games to run a bit smoother. Please.