AU ABROAD

VideAU Games Review: Tales from the Borderlands - Episode 3: Catch a Ride (PC, 2015)

The newest episode of Telltale’s Tales from the Borderlands might be it’s funniest one yet. “Catch a Ride” picks up moments after the conclusion of Episode 2 and sees Rhys and Fiona’s long con becoming more and more perilous with every new hostile encounter, while adding something entirely new to the Borderlands universe - genuine beauty.

Without going into too much detail, our story begins with our heroes taking cracking open the Gortys Project and in doing they uncover the series’ newest character and, perhaps, its most pleasant surprise to date. The worry I felt upon first meeting Gortys, the fear that she might be another Claptrap waiting to happen, was done away with almost instantly. Gortys is exactly the sort of character to make this story sing - she is a sweetheart, utterly naive and posseses seemingly impervious level of positivity in the face of Pandora’s brutal denizens. This leads to a number of hilarious interactions with the cast and her relationship with Loader Bot proves to be the comedic highlight of the episode.

Once again, the game is book-ended by a pair of big action set pieces and once again, I found myself quite enjoying them. They’re very different to Telltale’s usually very perfunctory action beats and it’s always so nice to see them push themselves into less familiar territory creatively. The climactic action sequence in particular is a load of fun and just when you think it can’t get any more ridiculous, the game switches characters and we barrel headlong into an entirely different kind of peril.

The bulk of this episode is set inside a massive Atlas biodome full of gorgeous plants and exotic creatures. It’s definitely not the sort of thing you expect to see in a Borderlands game. The way our heroes react to this hidden oasis amid the ruins and cobbled together shanty towns of Pandora creates a few really special character moments and something new and memorable for fans of the series and it’s canon.

What’s really neat about this episode is that, depending on whether you chose Jack or Fiona at the end of Episode 2, “Catch a Ride” will play out very differently. This makes going back for another playthrough that much more rewarding and its great to see Telltale incorporating that sort of forked storytelling into the game. It’s actually a lot of fun, I urge you to put together a second save file and try it out both ways.

This is a solid entry in a series that improves in leaps and bounds with each new episode. No word on when we’ll see the fourth episode, “Escape Plan Bravo”, but I certainly hope it won’t be too long. I’ve come to really like these characters and I’m excited to see where this unrepentantly crazy story takes them next.

Review Score: 8.0 out of 10
Highlights: Hilarious writing; Choices carry weight; Fun action sequences
Lowlights: The wait between episodes
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Released: 24 June 2015
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Mobile

Reviewed on PC