When we last visited with Rhys, Fiona and the rest of the Tales from the Borderlands gang, they had just finished surviving an incredibly dangerous race, and had also suffered an unexpected betrayal. Now, with Episode Two of the much talked-about Telltale game, we get to experience the aftermath of those events. And, though it was a lengthy wait in-between instalments, the downtime was definitely worthwhile as what we’ve been presented with is a well-made, action-filled and immersive continuation.
Things pick up on the beige-covered planet of Pandora, which has always been considered Borderlands‘ main setting. There, the gang finds itself wondering what will come next. Although they had their hands on an incredible sum of money, it was quickly taken away and now the search for a hidden vault has intensified. There’s good news, though, because some headway has been made. They’ve found some sort of hidden control room, wherein a secretive project and its geometric key happen to have been stowed away.
It doesn’t take long before shit hits the proverbial fan, though, and that’s to be expected. I don’t want to give away too many details out of fear of spoiling things, but I will tease a frenetic driving sequence. One that features a gigantic beast, which just so happens to be chasing what it considers as prey. It’s that segment that really sets the tone for the rest of the one-and-a-half to two hour-long episode.
As things progress, familiar faces are introduced, including Scooter, the redneck mechanic. He plays an integral role in things, too, and can be taken advantage of in interesting ways. Another notable returning character also comes into play, but I’d prefer to keep their identity a secret.
What’s great about Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 2 – Atlas Mugged is its personality. There’s absolutely no shortage of colourful dialogue and witty humour. Things continue to be quite dark and adult-themed, but manage to be colourful and vibrant at the same time. That’s because of not only the impressive writing, but also a great adherence to the source material.
That said, this isn’t another masterful episode. It’s very well done, but outside of the one noted scene, it isn’t as explosive or fantastic as its predecessor was. Nor will it be as memorable. Then again, it seems to be more about setting future events up than anything else, which is perfectly fine.
The gameplay, itself, is pretty much the same as it was before, except there’s no loader bot action. You will get to handle a weapon and perform some harrowing stunts, however, so there are those mechanics to look forward to. Dialogue remains the focus, though, as it almost always is in Telltale games, and you’ll have a lot of opportunities to both have fun and shape the experience going forward.
With this being a Telltale production, it’s hard not to expect performance issues. Fortunately, however, things run better than usual this time around – at least on the Xbox One. Sure, there’s the odd hiccup here and there, like a frame rate stutter, but nothing major whatsoever. Though I’ve never encountered a major bug in one of the company’s titles, I’ve become used to sub-par performance, and was happy to see that more testing was done with this release. Hopefully it’s a sign of good things to come.
In titles like Telltale’s Game of Thrones adaptation, or even The Walking Dead, there were times where dialogue would repeat after auto-saves or brief moments of asset loading. That didn’t happen here, as the audio remained almost flawless throughout the entirety of Tales From the Borderlands’ sophomore episode. Its voice acting also continues to be top notch, and so does its timely use of fitting music.
To summarize and bring things to a close, I must admit that, although it’s not perfect or an improvement over that which came before it, Tales from the Borderlands: Episode Two – Atlas Mugged is a very solid effort and one that shouldn’t be missed. As such, it’s a definite must-buy for any Borderlands fan, as well as those who keenly stay up-to-date with every episodic Telltale experience.
This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game, which we were provided with.
With Atlas Mugged, Telltale Games has continued its colourful and incredibly memorable Tales from the Borderlands series with another impressive interactive outing.