Tales From The Borderlands: Episode 2, Atlas Mugged – Review

Whilst the second episode of Telltale Games’ series was found wanting in comparison to the opening episode, it successfully retained the unique blend of humour and action, if not the character and plot development.

The episode got off to a promising start, taking the cliffhanger presented to us months ago and building on it, as our motley crew started to get to grips with the map they’d found. The extracting of a dead official’s eyeball for use of a retina scanner made me both laugh and want to turn away at the same time, and the look on the groups face when they realised the official was not as dead as he seemed was absolutely priceless.

This was all while Rhys was coming to terms with the fact that notorious Borderlands villain ‘Handsome Jack’ was somehow trapped inside his head, and no one else believed what he was witnessing. This was a rare misstep from Telltale, as Handsome Jack has no true impact on the episode until the very end, if one should choose to side with him over Fiona, and was reduced to nothing more than comic relief (as if Borderlands needed more of that).

As the opening credits to the episode rolled our group were separated in a fantastic car chase sequence (was there really a joke by Telltale there mocking Troy Baker’s range of socks?), with Rhys and Vaughn, and Fiona and Sasha being stranded together. Both were then met with people that wanted nothing more than to kill them, with Rhys and Vaughn once again crossing paths with Vasquez, and Fiona and Sasha coming under fire from several bounty hunters. It was with the latter group that we learnt the group has a price on their heads, however why said bounty has been placed was never revealed.

The episode really sagged in this middle section, as Telltale games series’ really work best when the player is left with wide open choices, something that this episode really failed to capitalise on, often forcing players down linear paths, with various different actions never affecting the end result of certain sections. The episode as a whole felt like it didn’t play to its strengths, those being the fascinating and intriguing characters introduced to us in the opening episodes, instead choosing to focus on expanding the plot, which was also unsuccessful given how many open ended questions we’re left with at the end of the finale.

Speaking of that, the finale really was a strange beast, as we were left with a cliffhanger in which we didn’t entirely know what was going on, and we certainly have no hope of guessing how Fiona would pull our group out of the mess they faced. We don’t know what the actual object discovered by our group is, we don’t know what Vasquez hoped to gain by taking in Rhys to Hyperion, and we don’t know who the mysterious person Athena was working for is. While to some these may be intriguing setups for the remaining episodes, I hadn’t hoped that the final section would leave us with this many questions.

Whilst the second episode of Tales From The Borderlands failed to build on the characters and plot presented in the opening episode, the humour and action were still alive and well, making this an enjoyable mini ride through Pandora.

7/10

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