Game Review | Tales From The Borderlands | Season 1, Episode 2 | "Atlas Mugged"
Episode Summary: To learn more about the Gortys Project, the group sets off in Fiona and Sasha's caravan for another Atlas facility. (Wikipedia)
Despite the fact that I really liked “Zer0 Sum”, the next episode of Telltale Games’ Tales from the Borderlands is somehow even better. Seriously, I was surprised at just how many of the little niggles from the first episode were removed and what worked was even better.
Hell, before playing the game for the first time (well after the final episode had been released), I had seen on Twitter that some rated Tales from the Borderlands as one of their games of 2015, which I thought was a little over the top at the time, but started to believe they might've had a point after this episode.
To explain more in a little extra detail: I hadn’t liked the voice acting of the two lead characters, Rhys and (especially) Fiona, but here it finally clicked and I like both characters more as a result. We also got to discover a little more about Vaughn, who is also on the upswing.
The level of humour continues to be excellent, with the ‘Enhance!’ and ‘bro’ conversations being highlights (they make sense in context!), as well as the aftermath of removing a presumed-dead man’s eyeball, only to immediately discover he had only been in suspended animation.
Then there’s Handsome Jack, who takes a prominent role interacting with Rhys as the only person who can see him, providing plenty of laughs at the events over the course of the episode, hinting at future plot possibilities and some occasional fourth wall leaning.
Chuck in the lead voice actors of The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us as Kroger and Finch, a pair of quirky bounty hunters, and there are plenty of funny moments. In fact, writing this made me realise that Sasha is pretty much the most serious of the main characters, although considering the events of the previous episode and a certain conversation that happens during the events of “Atlas Mugged”, that may be understandable. Even then, she does get in a few sarcastic remarks and amusing reaction shots that prompt a smile.
The control system remains the typical Telltale fare, although I have to admit that I found them a little more forgiving than when playing "Zer0 Sum”, although I think this is only a good thing as the story is the focus here and making the gameplay ‘easier’ helps keep the characters and their story central to the player.
The only real quibble, and this really nothing at all, is that the clever conceit of telling the story from two different viewpoints continues, and while still funny, I did find myself looking for when that would be important and it didn’t feel quite as naturally implemented as it did in the first episode.
Additionally, the framing device of the two viewpoints being told as flashbacks is moving very slowly, having not really gone anywhere in two episodes, although there are still plenty of laughs to be had between Rhys, Fiona, and the Stranger (whose true identity I stupidly spoiled for myself, damn it!)
It’s very difficult to say much about "Atlas Mugged" without regurgitating either the review of the first episode or copy-pasting the plot from Wikipedia, although I will say that the story does seem to be nicely building momentum and I can’t wait for the duelling stories to finally catch up to the present day and see just what it is all building towards.