New Tales from the Borderlands review

by on October 20, 2022
Release Date

October 21, 2022


There are going to be a lot of fans of Telltale Games’ Tales from the Borderlands that’ll be coming into this one with trepidation, holding the Borderlands narrative adventure in high regard. I get that, I do. After all, the story of Rhys and Fiona was remarkable, with many believing it to be better than the developers’ take on The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us. However, the team behind New Tales from the Borderlands are no strangers to telling stories from within the post-apocalyptic universe, and after playing through all five chapters, I can safely say there’s plenty to love about this ‘spiritual successor.’

While no prior knowledge of Tales from the Borderlands is needed, there are various characters throughout that are acknowledged and referenced. Gearbox has managed to build an entirely new story while paying homage to the past. The three main protagonists are incredibly written, with each one growing throughout, starting off as nobodies and becoming pivotal players in the war between Tediore, Atlas, and beyond. Taking place on Promethea, the events of the game take place a year after Borderlands 3, and the effects of war are ever present as the planet’s civilians try to adjust to life once again.

Anu is a neurotic and self-doubting scientist who craves validation from her peers, while her brother, Octavius, is a naïve yet optimistic wannabe entrepreneur who always sees the bright side no matter the situation. Then there’s Fran, an often horny frogurt proprietor who has severe anger issues, famous for her Chocolate Dill Pickle flavour that fans of Borderlands will have definitely heard of before. These three main characters uncover an Eridium crystal that has significant healing properties with the potential to save countless lives. Unfortunately, their discovery leads to a minefield of dangers, backstabbing, and world-threating consequences.

I thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns of the story, but it was how well the interactions between the three characters were, along with Octavius’ robot assassin friend, L0U13, pull you in and make you care deeply about them. With mocap acting also playing a huge role in bringing these characters to life, it serves New Tales from the Borderlands wonderfully, especially with Anu, whose anxiety-inducing outbursts play out through the way she moves and recoils uncomfortably whenever she gets nervous. Throughout the story, there’re plenty of moments where each character shows vulnerability, yet their growth and ability to overcome their own insecurities is what makes the journey sweeter.

One thing Borderlands is known for is the humour. I have to say that the writing is excellent, and I lost count of the amount of times it had me laughing. It never tries too hard to force its humour on you, rather letting it wash over you when you least expect it. The cast of supporting characters are also a great tour de force for the three main stars to shine. Stapleface is a psycho who takes a shine to Anu; Brock is a sentient gun who really hates Octavius; and then there’re the sisters that will do anything so see Fran’s Frogurts burn to the ground. Its silly, charming, and everything in between, providing plenty of fantastic dialogue that even rivals the wonderful work Telltale did before.

In terms of New Tales from the Borderlands’ gamier moments, there’s not a lot of taxing work for the player. You may have to scan objects with Anu’s goggles to find a solution to progress, while Octavius uses his ECHOdeck to check out the online profiles of other characters or use it in the easiest hacking minigames known to man. There are other smart additions later on that expand on the generic gameplay segments with nods to other genres, but on the whole, the focus is much more on making decisions and shaping the outcomes of the three characters.

One thing I loved about my playthrough was the inclusion of Vaultlanders: a battle game that plays out with plasticine models of characters from throughout the Borderlands universe. I never lost a single game, but the way these battles unfold through bumping into a Vaultlanders-obsessed Tediore guard are brilliant. You can find new models throughout the game, and by beating the ‘badass superfan,’ you’ll earn new ones as well. You can choose to play Vaultlanders outside the main game, but the fun is more in finding them and building your collection than actually taking part in a game.

There are tons of chests in the world where you can find money to buy new outfits to change into through various Quick Change stations, as well as customising Fran’s hoverchair, Anu’s goggles, and Octavius’ ECHOdeck. It’s a neat addition, but adds little to the overall experience. One thing that drove me mad in New Tales from the Borderlands is how sensitive it gets when you need to interact with an object or person to reveal conversations or interactions. I would be right next to a marker, but the option wouldn’t open unless I was in a incredibly precise position.

New Tales from the Borderlands features a wonderful story with some fantastic characters that don’t take long to warm to at all. After a slow start, things really get going towards the end of the second chapter, and by the third act’s ‘Sink or Swim’ section, I was hooked. I fell in love with Anu in particular, but all the characters have been voiced superbly. The gamey bits aren’t particularly engaging, but the way the story progresses without a massive reliance on vaults, and more about the human condition resonated with me. By the time I reached the end, I didn’t want it to finish, but after a cool nod in the dying moments, I think we might very well be seeing more from the series in the future.


Fantastic writing
Wonderful cast of characters
Excellent acting and mocap


Gamey sections are too easy
Interacting with objects is awkward

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

New Tales from the Borderlands is a worthy successor to Telltale's magnum opus, with great writing and an engaging story.