Tales from the Borderlands Episode 5 (Vault of the Traveler) (2015)
PS4 / Rated M
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Telltale Games, Gearbox Software
The Borderlands games never made it to my list of games I have played. They were interesting in concept but over the years I have watched them come and go without a second thought. This is why it’s surprising that I liked Tales from the Borderlands so much. The story did not seem like the key piece that kept players coming back to the Borderlands games, but it turns out I’m wrong in saying that. Telltale Games has given us a fantastic first season in Pandora and the series’ finale, Vault of the Traveler, wraps everything up in a tight package.
Tales from the Borderlands has been on its A-game ever since episode one. The humor and writing has been superb and the acting has been phenomenal as well. This game featured one of the most charming and most hilarious stories I have played in a while. In fact, it was probably my favorite series that Telltale has put out. Tales might not have had the seriousness and emotion of some of the studio’s other choice-driven games, but it established its own footing as a much different breed of animal.
The series’ final episode wraps everything up pretty nicely. The story of Rhys and Fiona is brought to an end and the conclusion is pretty satisfying. Loose ends are tied up and everything plays out the way you would expect it to. There was no major plot twists or groundbreaking moments, but it didn’t really need any of that. Rhys, Fiona, and friends eventually make it to the vault and everything is happily ever after, just as you would expect. There is a moment involving one character hovering on the brink of death, only to be brought back to life in the most random way. It was the only part of the episode that rubbed me the wrong way. The story would have had a bigger impact if they stuck with their decision to kill off the character, but instead they decided to settle with the easy route. Its fine the way they have it, but I would have liked the story more if they decided to go with their original decision.
Another thing that the episode did well was the numerous callbacks to previous seasons. Some of your favorite characters from previous episodes, as well as some of the ones you probably forgot about, all happen to make their way into the finale in a variety of different ways. Part of the episode involves the building of a team for the final fight with the Vault of the Traveler. Depending on the choices you made in previous episodes, some characters from previous episodes might not be able to join your team. It was satisfying to see the full picture of your choices and how they affected the different people you have met during your adventure in a larger scale.
The episode’s climatic moments were some of the greatest parts of the series. The final fight was tantalizing, providing non-stop action that would fit right at home in a Transformers movie. Although it was just a series of involved quick time events, it was still fun to power through the fight. The final fight felt pretty good and it really seemed like the entire series was building up to these final moments. Nothing was better than finally taking out the final enemy with the teamwork from the team that you assembled. It made for some great moments.
Tales from the Borderlands might make me consider playing some of the more core Borderlands games. Telltale proved that the series has a good number of stories to tell, interesting stories full of crazy humorous stories. Based off word of mouth and critical reception, I would not be surprised if we were to get another adventure in the universe of Pandora, which makes me super excited. The story of Rhys and Fiona came to a fantastic close in season one, but I would love to see another story open up with a whole new cast off zany characters.
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