New Tales from the Borderlands is a boisterous yarn through space featuring bombastic characters, dangerous experiments, and enigmatic alien forces, all presented in the signature Borderlands style, for better or for worse. Luckily, in this case, that’s mostly for the better.
Though the tale is told in sci-fi trappings, the core of the New Tales from The Borderlands story revolves around the relationships between three seemingly irredeemable duds, each sporting their own special flavor of awkward. Players will take control of all three of these main characters in separate sequences throughout the game. Anu is an altruistic and ambitious scientist who can barely salvage a single conversation without embarrassing herself and others. Octavio, her brother and her opposite in many ways, thinks of himself as a charming, clever entrepreneur. Unfortunately, none of those descriptors actually apply to him. And Fran is a frozen yogurt artist with a hover chair full of gadgets and a dangerous rage problem.
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The game opens with Anu establishing herself as a staunch animal rights proponent, as she sets free the Jabbers (monkey-like creatures) that her company, Atlas, uses for experiments. Players soon learn about her earnest plan to create a world without killing – anyone who’s played a Borderlands game would know how unlikely that is in this universe. From there, the focus shifts to Octavio, who’s off to help a robotic friend commit some casual, sanctioned murder. Finally, players meet Fran, serving frozen yogurt as usual in her recently bombed-out restaurant.
In this opening chapter, the game takes its time and the audience gets a good feel for the heroes of New Tales from the Borderlands. Unfortunately, the pacing going forward feels just a little off, rushed in some instances, while dragging along through extraneous banter in others. There’s a slight narrative imbalance: a lack of genuine moments of development that the characters…