Developer: Transmission software
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X (reviewed), Xbox One, PC, Switch
Date of publication: Now available
Price: $49.99 – Available here 79.95 AUD – Available here
Considering the fact that Telltale Games went out of business years ago, this is somewhat surprising New stories from the borderland exists in any form. Obviously, when 2K acquired the rights to the original 2014 adventure that captured the hearts of many, the possibility of a sequel was always there, but with an eight-year wait between games, it seemed like it never would be. So now that Gearbox has released its own follow-up version, New stories from the borderland It was found to offer a mostly humorous quest with a great cast of new characters that doesn’t quite reach the heights of the original release.
Takes place after the events of Borderlands 3 on the planet Promethea, players find themselves in the shoes of a group of lost people hoping for something that can turn their fortunes around. Anu, an intelligent scientist who hopes to change the world for the better, works for Rhys’ Atlas while barely keeping up with the terror of her adopted younger brother, Octavio, whose above-average street smarts (and lack of real smarts) haven’t helped any of them. his get-rich-quick schemes come to fruition and rage machine Fran, whose frozen yogurt shop still has a giant laser hole in it. 3war with Maliwan. Although the three have a tenuous connection with each other, with Octavio working for Fran, the three begin their journey inside New stories from the borderlands separate from each other, but quickly find themselves brought together once a new force decides to step on Prometheus.
As the three are already having a rough day, Tediore’s invasion catapults the story forward. As Tediore searches for the Vault and the crew is in a unique position to claim and pursue this treasure themselves, the three set out as possibly the most ferocious group of hunters in a quest to turn their lives around and make their dreams come true. Along the way, the group is mostly accompanied by an assassin-bot named L0U13, who begins to struggle with his programming to kill anyone with a bounty on his head and begins to grow through his interactions with the motley trio.
L0U13 stands out as the best supporting character along the way, though he has some stiff competition from the likes of the crazy talking gun Brock, the unnamed Vaultlander-obsessed soldier Tediore, and other supporting characters. Unfortunately, this is where a few cracks appeared New stories from the borderlands start showing While L0U13 and a few other minor characters appear frequently in the story, a large number of other characters who seem interesting, including a nearly coherent Psycho named Stapleface, are barely relevant after the introduction, and in some potential cases depending on player choice, are not even shown after they were used for a quick gag when there is so much more potential with their characters.
As the main story takes our three would-be heroes and pits them against the forces of Tediore, monsters, and even game show hosts, players will find themselves increasingly drawn to the trio, or at least two of the three. Anu serves as the groups moral compass and comes up with most of their ideas, Fran serves as muscle, a source of sexual tension with almost everything that moves, and struggles with her anger which makes her the most interesting of the three, while Octavio’s loud mouth nature brings some of the best comedic interactions, even if his writing is among the worst. That being said, their interactions with each other are great and players are never at a loss when it comes to witty dialogue and witty dialogue. There is actually an option to remove dialogue timers and this time it might be worth it as it gives players more time to choose a clever comeback or try emotes.
With so many great dialogue options to be had, that’s easy to say New stories from the borderland is a fun game full of funny moments that take place from both player action and standard development. That being said, the title suffers a bit in one aspect that is shockingly poorly explained, and that is the relationship system. Throughout the game, players will perform various dialogues and act as the three main characters, and this will not only affect the trio’s relationship indicator, but also their “Skateboard” score, which calculates their teamwork. The reason this is poorly explained is that dialogue choices that appear to favor the party or another character have the opposite effect, and even actions taken completely separate from others in the party will change that rating. This is a little annoying because it prevents players from choosing some of the more enjoyable actions, and even the game relies on them a bit too much because specific events play out differently and even the ending depends on their relationship.
It should also be said that while New stories from the borderlandsThe basic storyline is handled pretty well, it has its share of annoyances. This includes an entire segment that tells players about an awesome battle with sharks only to show nothing, a mortally wounded character telling the group to move on despite having the ability to actually heal them, and a final chapter that could have an awesome showdown regardless the choice made and the relationship mentioned above plays the only role in actually determining the ending. While it’s easy to see why the developers went with the standard formula, it should have been better handled and perhaps a bit more transparent as a result.
Those familiar with the first game will find that New Tales from the Borderlands features the same type of dialogue as the previous game. It’s worth noting that players can now set a timer or remove it entirely from these options to give them a little more freedom with most actions. Likewise, players will find that the only other real gameplay comes in the form of quick events that take place in each scene. As well as dialog choices, there are accessibility options that make it impossible to fail if players choose to go that route.
Other than that, the game offers very little interactivity beyond examining items in the area during rare exploration moments, or occasionally scanning NPCs and objects with either Aru’s glasses or Octavio’s EchoDex. There’s the aforementioned Vaultlanders minigame, which serves as both collectibles and combat items; however, the actual game itself is a mind-numbing mash fest of fast-paced events that players can win with even the most useless characters. It’s worth noting that the money players earn during the game can only be used to buy costumes for the three main characters this time around, and most of them are simple palette swaps, with only a few actually changing the look of the characters.
Picture and sound
The where element New stories from the borderland The highlight is how on-brand almost everything players see and interact with is in-game. With Gearbox at the helm, the team has handled the character models and world design of the game expertly compared to the base series, and the facial expressions of the characters are handled impressively well as well. As mentioned, players can get different skins for the three characters to wear throughout the game, and while they don’t really affect the gameplay at all, it’s a nice little touch.
The voice work for the game is done quite well, with all the characters fitting their characters well, especially with the few robot characters players will encounter. It’s worth noting that while there is some nice vocal intro music for each episode, the songs don’t quite match the quality of the original series.
New stories from the borderland does a great job of presenting a solid cast of characters with some real gems who have great interactions with each other in a mostly humorous journey that doesn’t quite stick the landing. The company’s effort to change the mechanics of relationships has led to some rather strange results for the players who have chosen, while also hindering their freedom a bit. Those looking for the magic of the original release will find it New stories from the borderland it doesn’t quite match, but it still offers plenty of fun for newcomers and fans alike Border the series here finds the humor of the series spot-on, while also providing plenty of new lore for the franchise to take advantage of moving forward.
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