Fans are giddy about Borderlands 3, but it’s hard for a lukewarm admirer to be excited when Tales From The Borderlands is better than Gearbox’s entries.
Gearbox has only just unveiled Borderlands 3, and already the community’s excitement has transitioned to rage thanks to it being an Epic Games store exclusive on the PC until April 2020. Although fans have every right to be vexed about not being able to enjoy the series’ highly-anticipated third installment on their preferred platform, the game still promises to rescue the shoot-loot genre by featuring a “billion” guns and chaotic action. However, while Borderlands 3 will seemingly satisfy fans by being more of the same, it’s difficult for a lukewarm admirer like myself to be excited about Gearbox’s franchise when the now deceased Telltale did it so much better with Tales From The Borderlands.
Now, there’s no point in talking about gameplay as Borderlands is a shoot-em-up while Tales From The Borderlands is a graphic adventure focused on narrative and choice. So, instead, this piece will solely compare the humour and characterisations.
Tales From The Borderlands is actually funny
Gearbox has always tried to be funny with Borderlands, but their efforts were obnoxious and infuriating. The beginning of Borderlands 2 was a particularly grating experience nearly impossible to endure thanks to the somehow popular Claptrap being an incessant pest. However, while Gearbox’s efforts at comedy have been mildly annoying at best, Tales From The Borderlands was an ingenious season that perfectly mixed clever writing with slapstick comedy that fans of trite like Dumb And Dumber could enjoy.
From memes to awkward flirting that made everyone cringe, Tales From The Borderlands was a hilarious experience that quickly established itself as one of the funniest and wittiest games on the current-gen.
Tales From The Borderlands has a better cast
There was nothing offensively wrong with the casts for Borderlands 1, 2, and the purposefully stupid Pre-Sequel, but Tales From The Borderlands had a superior line-up of original and returning protagonists and villains. I’ll, of course, get onto Handsome Jack, but Tales From The Borderlands’ biggest strength was its original characters Rhys, Fiona, Vaughn, Sasha (the best girl), Vasquez, and – as if anyone could forget about them – Gortys and Loaderbot.
Rhys was a loveable tool who had fallen in love with a lie, Fiona was a badass who always looked out for her sister, Sasha was a sweetheart who perfectly opposed Fiona’s rough appearance and behaviour, and Vaughn was the comedic sidekick who had unforgettable abs. And, while Claptrap was an annoying pest you wanted to turn off, Gortys was an adorable robot you quickly became protective of, and Loaderbot was a true friend despite not having a face.
Tales From The Borderlands makes Handsome Jack likable and complex
Handsome Jack is arguably Borderlands’ most popular character, but it was Telltale who really gave him some much-needed depth. While in Borderlands 2 he was a wise-cracking narcissist who constantly berated players with quips and his naïve self-righteousness, in Tales From The Borderlands he was a “hero” impossible to predict.
As Rhys’ self-proclaimed guardian, you never knew if Jack was being sincere when reflecting on his mistakes and what they cost him. Tales From The Borderlands also made Jack somewhat sympathetic by making him appear vulnerable and legitimately afraid of death. Like Rhys who started Tales From The Borderlands as a tool manipulated by a lie, the season ended with Jack also appearing to be a victim of a lie that left him believing he was the hero.
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