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Tales from the Borderlands: Episode One - Zer0 Sum

By KenpoJuJitsu329-12-2014
StuntmanLT (editor)
Bobfish (editor)
Tales from the Borderlands: Episode One - Zer0 Sum

The Defence

Telltale Games
Telltale Games
Release Date:

The Prosecution

Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz
AMD equivalent
Nvidia GeForce 8800
AMD equivalent
3 GB
3 GB

The Case

In 2009, Gearbox software would release a game called Borderlands. Combining the ever popular genre of first person shooting with the character progression and loot acquisition of action RPGs, Borderlands would go on to become a massively popular franchise spawning two sequels, mobile games, merchandise, etc. Now Gearbox (along with Borderlands' publisher 2K Games), have teamed up with Telltale Games to bring us the next Borderlands installment, Tales from the Borderlands...an adventure game with nearly none of the shooting or the looting that made the Borderlands franchise famous? Court is now in session.

The Trial

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, let me start the proceedings off by explaining exactly what type of game this is. This is a point and click adventure also known as an interactive movie to some. This title is aimed at people who love the setting and humor for which the Borderlands series has become known and are willing to put down the gun collecting and bandit blasting to enjoy a good story. If this is you, read on. If not, you can consider yourself relieved of jury duty and you can exit this court room.

Fiona, sarcasm incarnate.

Fiona, sarcasm incarnate.

This is merely episode one of a planned five episodes. In it, players will play as Rhys and Fiona alternatively at various points of the story. Rhys is a man working for Hyperion company and trying to work his way up the corporate ladder with his friends Vaughn and Yvette. Fiona is a survivor and con-artist loyal to her sister Sasha and mentor Felix. To sum up the story without giving any details or spoilers (as that kills the point of playing these type of games) all of these characters will meet up one way or another and various attempts to con and scam each other and several other characters will go varying degrees of bad, terrible and hilariously awful. What can go wrong, will go wrong and just how wrong is up to the player. This being episode one expect a lot of setup within the story with a bit of a cliffhanger to leave the player wanting more from the next episode.

This being a Telltale game, the player will have various dialogue options presented to them which will change the way the story plays out in this episode as well as subsequent episodes. There will also be several quick time events (QTEs) that can either change the story or even result in a game over screen depending on what the player does. This lends the game a good bit of replay value as there are loads of branching dialogue trees and different interactions to be seen and experienced...and you cannot experience them all on one playthrough.

Graphically, the game is nothing to write home about. It has the Borderlands look to it but with noticeably less effects present. It accomplishes what's necessary to establish the setting but it only does just that. Nothing more.

Rhys, the inspiration for Murphy's Law.

Rhys, the inspiration for Murphy's Law.

The audio is where the game shines...or rather the dialogue and the voice acting. There are numerous jokes in the dialogue and, impressively, most of them work even if you aren't intimately familiar with the Borderlands universe from previous games. Notable voice actors Troy Baker and Patrick Warburton are immediately recognizable and, along with the rest of the voice cast, turn in excellent performances with the game's dialogue.

The Verdict

It is the finding of this court...that this is simply a Telltale Games adventure game through and through. What I mean by this is that those looking for Telltale's brand of entertaining story telling through a somewhat interactive game will be right at home here and well taken care of. Those looking for the signature Borderlands humor (sans any kind of Claptrap performance unfortunately) will also find this game enjoyable. Anyone looking for a game with plenty of action or looking for a Telltale style of game that shakes up their formula will be disappointed. This is Telltale to the core. If you know them, then you know exactly what you're getting and that can be a good or bad thing depending on how you feel about their formula. What say you jurors? Is this formula too much of a repeat offender for you and therefore pronounced guilty of been there done that? Let us know in the comments.

Case Review

  • Technically Solid: No crashes or odd glitches in my playthrough.
  • Intelligent Humor: Doesn't rely on references to source material.
  • Strong Dialogue: Voice acting and writing draws you into the world.
  • Strong Replayability: Choices that genuinely affect the story.
  • Telltale Formula. Whether you love it or hate it, you’re getting the Telltale recipe and nothing else from this title.
  • Bland Visuals: Not visually astounding, even for a Telltale game.


Score: 4/5
A competent game with an interesting story, strong voice performances and interesting characters albeit a tad formulaic.
Comments (1)
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Posts: 3290

So...how much influence did Burch actually have on this one?