As the title suggest, New Tales From The Borderlands is the successor to Telltale’s Tales From The Borderlands, which was released in five episodes between 2014 and 2015. The follow-up is out now for all major systems – we checked it out on a PlayStation 5.
We’ll admit that the announcement for New Tales From The Borderlands came as a surprise to us – Telltale is still regrouping under the LCG banner and we thought Gearbox would release another ‘regular’ Borderlands game before returning to their mostly beloved episodic adventure game. But with the aid of some Telltale alumni, a new game was born that acts as a spiritual successor to Tales.
Unsurprisingly , New Tales follows the template laid out in the Telltale games in terms of gameplay mechanics, but at the same time it feels closer to Gearbox’ other Borderlands games than the first game did. That’s mostly because of a closer alignment on a technical level, with visuals that look very polished and close to what we saw in Borderlands 3, as well as stable and glitch-free performance.
What’s also nice for existing fans of the Borderlands franchise is that New Tales doesn’t just tap into the source material visually, it also incorporates characters and events from the rich lore that’s been built up over the course of more than a decade. If you like both the looter-shooter games that make up the core games and the Telltale take on, then it’s pretty safe to say that you’ll enjoy what’s on offer here, at least to a certain degree.
What New Tales doesn’t do is build on the foundations of the first adventure game in the franchise – it’s more of a reboot than a sequel. While that’s to be commended, it’s also a risky move – the first game was beloved because it was well-written, had emotional depth and stayed with people. To discard that is to set yourself up for a high bar rather than build on what’s established, and New Tales feels a tad too formulaic for the risks it takes.
There’s a decent enough story here, and Borderlands fans will be happy to see it told, but the delivery doesn’t feel as impactful as it did the first time and too many of the jokes fall flat. Rather than something new and fresh, it feels like they took Tales From The Borderlands as a template (the story is even told in five chapters) and tried to plot a new story on that formula. And even though it was clearly made with the intention to honor the first game, it fails to make the same kind of impression, and to a degree that’s because the game is unevenly paced.
We cared about the characters and the story enough to be entertained by New Tales of the Borderlands until the end, but have a feeling that a large part of that is due to a fondness of the source material – both from Telltale and Gearbox. If that’s something you also have, this is a safe pick – others will find more entertaining adventure games out there, like the recent Monkey Island reboot.