Tales from the Borderlands Episode 2 is possibly the most hilarious game I’ve ever played.
Almost each and every aspect of the game is there to make you laugh and it’s a testament to TellTale Games that they pull it off so brilliantly. In a world where everything – and I mean, everything – is out to get you, the narrative is so lighthearted it makes for a great juxtaposition of the murderous world of Pandora, allowing you to feel as comfortable as possible in this broken society.
We start more or less where we ended Episode 1 of the latest TellTale series. Finch escaped after trying and failing to steal the 10 million dollars that originally brings all of the main players together and leaves our protagonists Fiona (played by Laura Bailey) and Rhys (played by Troy Baker) stuck together with their counterparts Vaughn (played by Chris Hardwick) and Sascha (played by Erin Yvette).
After a Moonshot strike which destroys their trused caravan, Rhys and Vaughn are left to fend for themselves after Fiona and Sascha escape to safety. Abandoned in the desert, Rhys has to come to terms with the fact he’s got a certain holographic Handsome Jack stuck in his brain (played brilliantly once again by Dameon Clarke). Handsome who himself is coming to terms with the fact he’s now a hologram that has slight control over Rhys, which plays out more over the course of the episode. It’s here we are unwillingly reunited with Vasquez (played by the one and only Patrick Warburton) who’s also after the 10 million dollars, the 10 million dollars that has now disappeared in a ball of fiery fire and has come from his cosy Hyperion office to Pandora with the sole intention of blowing you to smitherines.
The gameplay elements are exactly what we’ve come to expect from a TellTale Games series. The strong focus on narrative drives the game as a whole, and the story bends to your choices throughout the game. Atlas Mugged is no different, however the characterisation is superb and it’s great getting to know each of them individually through making choices that will define your character throughout the series. It’s a fantastic mechanic that still at certain sections allows you to shoot, climb, work out puzzles and more, whilst having almost full control over the dialogue. You can tell the voice actors are having a fantastic time with the material and it works in their favour, particularly Patrick Warburton, who for me steals the show as the villainous Vasquez.
You still feel for the characters though and if you feel like you’ve made the wrong choice in a conversation, you feel responsible for the situations they’re in, even if they are just part of the overall story. The guilt is real when an NPC gets mad or angry at you for whatever it is you’re choosing, and you can’t help but think if you chose something else they wouldn’t pissed off at you. It’s a staple of a TellTale Game which makes you feel deeply involved in the story as a whole and makes you come back to right your wrongs.
The EchoEye you can use when controlling Rhys is a nice mechanic which allows you to scan and analyse the world around you and use what you find to your advantage. Whether it be finding power lines or controlling robots or cars, it’s always worth trying it out in new environments because the descriptions you find are always very, very funny. I found myself laughing so hard in some points I was waking people up.
Atlas Mugged has genuinely achieved something which I always thought seemed rather difficult in gaming, which is legitimately making you laugh. The script from top to bottom is bursting at the seams with brilliant slapstick humour and ‘groaners’, but you can’t help but laugh at some of the set-pieces, and the characters are full of life and great fun to be around. Chris Hardwick nails Vaughn in such a way I can’t imagine anyone else taking on role and being funnier. Troy Baker also does stellar work as Rhys, and brings a lighter side to his work that we’ve seen shades of in games such as InFAMOUS, but nothing like this. His versatility continues to amaze.
So Tales from the Borderlands Episode 2 Atlas Mugged is another brilliant entry in the TellTale Games canon. The story is strong and hilarious, the performances are fantastic and the game is presented beautifully. The ending isn’t quite as exciting as Episode 1’s Death Rally, but as a cliffhanger it’s about as good as it gets. It’s a wonderful experience that is absolutely worth your time and effort. I’m very excited to see where the series goes and what life threatening peril I can throw these characters into next. It’s a series so full of joy, exuberance and enthusiasm, a love letter to the Borderlands series as a whole. With this being only the second episode, that we have more of these to come is deeply exciting. It’s getting to a point now where I’ll pretty much jump on anything TellTale Games throws in front of me. Mind you, I could just play Tales from the Borderlands forever and be satisfied. One can only hope a Season 2 is in the plan as there seems to be far more stories to tell in this fascinating universe.
I simply haven’t had this much fun with a game since, well, since Episode 1. Tales from the Borderlands is starting to become my favourite TellTale Games series, which is a big statement considering how much I love Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us.
It seems nothing is getting in the way of TellTale’s stronghold on the industry and long may it last. Huzzah!
Tales from the Borderlands Episode 2 – Atlas Mugged
Reviewed on PS4.
Tales from the Borderlands Episode 2 – Atlas Mugged is now available on digital stores
In order the complete this review, we were provided a review code from the publisher.