Generally, there comes a time in any episodic game where you hit a bit of a wall. The story is still moving forward, but it seems as if you’re just waiting to get to the huge payoff. In Telltale Games’ take on the Borderlands franchise however, not only have we not seen that, I don’t think we ever will see it. Episode 3 of Tales From the Borderlands kicks things up a notch (a galactic notch), and sets up the story for a wild ending.
If you weren’t familiar with the ending of Episode 2, this chapter begins with basically all of the characters from the first two episodes conveniently all together. In these moments, it actually pays to play the game a second time after your original playthrough. Depending on your actions in Episode 2, a ton of scenes and scenarios play out differently.
After the (rather short) opening chapter, your group is sent outside where you find two new, crucial characters to the story: Vallory (someone who clearly has a past with Fiona) and Gortys. It turns out, the little ball you rescued in Episode 2 is actually a fully functional Atlas robot, voiced brilliantly by Ashley Johnson. In fact, she is the brightest spot in this entire episode, and I cannot wait to see what happens to her (and Loader Bot, especially) in the future.
Midway through “Catch a Ride.” the group is split up in search of something for Gortys, giving us a good chance to develop each character and learn more about them. The rest of the episode is spent mostly inside a biodome of sorts, filled with beautifully designed fauna and flora, which serves as a nice change up from the desert landscape we are often accustomed to in the Borderlands world. The Rhys that I play is pretty much the one we’re introduced to: a clumsy, clueless, goof. His time with Sasha was spent making him seem a bit more competent, and with the chemistry between the pair of them, it will be interesting to see how their relationship turns out.
Fiona, on he other hand, is coming to the realization that she just may have what it takes to become a Vault Hunter. This twist will definitely add some intrigue to the coming episodes, as she will have to make some serious choices regarding family and friends should she choose to go after Vaults. Usually, Telltale doesn’t exactly excel at action sequences, and for good reason: it’s pretty tough to have true “action” moments in games like these. However, the new mechanic introduced with Fiona, allowing you to peer into the future and see the ramifications of each combat choice, adds a much needed change up to the game.
By the end of the episode, there were many choices left to be made. Without spoiling much, some characters that fans of Borderlands will recognize make appearances, and some things happen that will make you wish you had Episode 4 right now.
Much is left unfixed, as I’ve come to expect in these Telltale stories. In a way, that was exactly what this episode was meant to do, aside from making me want a game all about Gortys and Loader Bot, I guess. Still, it’s incredible how quickly I’ve come to care for these characters, which only stands as a testament to how well written they are.
This review is based on a digital copy of Tales from the Borderlands Episode 3: Catch a Ride for the PlayStation 4 provided by Telltale Games.