Tales From the Borderlands: Episode 5, The Vault of the Traveller – Review

Wow, what a ride.

Tales From the Borderlands has been a fantastic series for me, and quite possibly my favourite Telltale Games product ever made. We’ve been presented with great, emotional characters, a funny, charismatic script and a solid plot to back up the entire thing. The series has marked Telltale’s return to form after the Wolf Among Us and the Walking Dead, and a part of me never wanted this story to end.

But end it did, and Tales From the Borderlands went out on just about the highest note possible, packing in intimate character moments alongside big action scenes. The plot throughout never let up, or paused on one chapter for any significant length of time, and this really worked to its advantage. Parts like the escape from Helios were action driven but also tense, giving us great moments with each lead character.

The Handsome jack plot line of the entire series felt a bit forced at first for me, but by the time this episode rolled around, the final (and optional) scene with the villain was really heartfelt, and brilliantly showed Rhys as a far more evolved character now than he ever had been. Rhys had great moments throughout the finale, and its a relief that Telltale decided to give him just enough standout moments to solidify him as a leading role.

That’s not to detract anything from Fiona, however, who equally got a great send off with this final episode. Fiona has been a mesmerising lead throughout Tales From the Borderlands, consistently getting the funniest parts of the script, while also managing to remain extremely grounded alongside Sasha as a parent figure. It’s arguably Fiona that’s the driving force behind the entire series, and that’s particularly evident in this final episode.

I thought at the end of Episode 4 of Tales From the Borderlands that Episode 5 would have a significant amount of story ground to make up, and it did this well within its 2 hour run time. From barely escaping Helios, our heroes closed the Vault of the Traveller through sacrificing Gortys a first time, and then regrouped to attempt the entire thing again. Coming back together and putting together a team to attempt to kill the guardian of the vault was particularly satisfying, and really felt like something the series had been working towards.

The actual fight with the guardian was fantastic, as each crew member played an intricate part in operating a now fully-formed Gortys with combat capabilities. Even if Telltale’s games are in dire need of a new engine on which to run, the quick time battle felt fantastic and smooth, something that the developer’s other series’ have been sorely lacking. All this made the eventual reward of opening the vault incredibly fulfilling, and gave a perfect climax to the series as a whole.

Speaking of the ending, it definitely leaves the door wide open for the possibility of a second season of Tales From the Borderlands, and considering how critically high the series has scored, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it were announced. With both our leads disappearing and leaving us with a cliffhanger ending, Telltale would burn so many fans if they didn’t return to fully finish this story, especially considering the incredible cast of characters this story has produced.

Episode 5 of Tales From the Borderlands truly sent the series out on a high note. All of our characters were given significant moments and roles, and the pacing of the episode never let up for a moment. While you could see the revelation about The Stranger coming, the entire episode felt fresh and new for the series, and it’d be a crime if Telltale didn’t choose to revisit these great characters in the future.

Score: 9/10


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