After more than three months of waiting, the second episode of Tales from the Borderlands arrives in all good digital marketplaces. Or in this case via the house that Gabe built (ie. Steam).
Carrying on from the close of the début episode, “Atlas Mugged” continues to tell the story from the individual (and skewed) viewpoints of Rhys and Fiona who both still held captive by an unknown character. It seems that this is clearly a pattern that will be followed for a good part of the season, at least until the matter of their captor is explained.
This time, the story revolves around finding the location of a secret Atlas facility that may provide them all with the riches they need to get out of the mess they are in. Not helping the situation is that whatever is going on inside Rhys’ head is now of big value to Hyperion. The rest of Rhys however is not valued as highly.
There comedic moments in this episode feel more like they are being used as distractions to the player for the purpose of padding as well as the long term story structure as explained later in this review. Some of these work well like the retinal scanner puzzle but others like the shirtless dialogue and the “bromance” are perhaps taken a little too far and their impact is lessened.
The introduction of Handsome Jack (of Borderlands 2) continues to pay off here. Now that Rhys has his own personal devil floating over his shoulder, one he might have previously thought to be an angel, there are plenty of questions that we are wanting to be answered in the future.
Jack’s own relationship with Vasquez was at least explained here which was funny, warped and continued to show that the world of Borderlands is still plainly mental. From this I wonder if Vasquez (still brilliantly voiced by Patrick Warburton) will become the White Goodman of the series.
After the impressive start to the season, this one was always going to find it hard to keep up the pace, spectacle and humour. So I believe this time around the story has been deliberately paced out to temporarily wind the players down before hitting them with a conclusion that ramped up so quickly that the cliff-hanger could lead into what I think will be a big story twist.
It will probably take most players around two hours to play through the episode. It does feel short and as a result I’m hoping that we will find the next one will show up a little faster this time around. Otherwise the work done here will be wasted as a long wait will more likely lose fans rather than gain new ones.
That’s not to say that this episode is bad; more that it is crying for the next part to come quickly and let us know where the series is truly headed.
Please note: The version reviewed was for the PC, downloaded via Steam. The game is also available on other platforms including both console and mobile.