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New Tales from the Borderlands Review

New Tales from the Borderlands

Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC, Switch
Release Date: Available Now
Price: $49.99 USD – Available Here $79.95 AUD – Available Here


When one considers the fact that Telltale Games folded years ago, it is something of a surprise that New Tales from the Borderlands exists in any form.  Obviously with 2K picking up the rights to the original 2014 adventure that grabbed the hearts of many the possibility of a sequel of sorts always existed but with an eight year wait between games it seemed like it would never be. So now that Gearbox has produced their own follow-up release, New Tales from the Borderlands finds itself offering a mostly humorous journey with a great cast of new characters that doesn’t quite hit the highs of the original release.


Set after the events of Borderlands 3 on the planet of Promethea, players step into the shoes of a group of misfits all hoping for something that can turn their luck around. Anu, an intelligent scientist hoping to change the world for the better working for Rhys’ Atlas all while barely keeping herself from freaking out, her adopted younger brother Octavio whose above average street smarts (and lack of actual smarts) haven’t helped any of his get rich quick schemes come to fruition, and the hover-chair bound rage machine Fran whose frozen yogurt shop still has a giant laser hole in it from 3’s war with Maliwan. Although the three have a tenuous connection with one another, with Octavio working for Fran, the three start their journey in New Tales from the Borderlands separate from each other but quickly find themselves assembled once a new force decides to step onto Promethea.

With all three of them having a rough day already, a Tediore invasion catapults the story forward. With Tediore searching for a Vault and the crew in a unique position to take and pursue this treasure themselves, the three set out as perhaps the ragtagiest group of hunters around in an effort to turn their lives around and make their dreams come true. Along the way the group is mostly accompanied by an assassin-bot by the name of L0U13 who begins to struggle with his programming to kill anyone on sight that has a bounty on their head and begins to grow through his interactions with the motley trio.

L0U13 stands out as the best of the supporting characters throughout the journey though he has tough competition from the likes of the crazed talking gun Brock, the unnamed Vaultlander obsessed Tediore soldier, and other side characters. Unfortunately it is here where a few of the cracks in New Tales from the Borderlands begin to show. While L0U13 and a few other side-characters make frequent appearances throughout the story, a large number of other characters that seem interesting including a nearly coherent Psycho by the name of Stapleface are barely given any relevance after their introduction and, in some potential cases depending on player choice, aren’t even shown after being used for a quick gag when there is so much more potential to be had with their characters.

As the core storyline takes our three wannabe heroes and pits them against Tediore forces, monsters, and even game show hosts, players will find themselves growing attached to the trio or at least two of the three. Anu serves as the groups moral compass and comes up with most of their ideas, Fran serves as the muscle, source of sexual tension with nearly everything that moves, and struggles with her anger making her the most interesting of the three, while Octavio’s loud mouth nature brings about some of the best comedy interactions even if his writing is some of the worst of the three. That being said, their interactions with one another are great and players will never find themselves at a loss when it comes to witty dialogue and humorous dialogue choices. In fact, there is an option to remove dialogue timers and doing so might be worth it this time around as it gives players more time to select a smart comeback or try and be emotional.

With so many great dialogue choices to be had it can easily be said that New Tales from the Borderlands is a funny game filled with humorous moments that occur both from player action as well as standard development. That being said, the title does suffer a bit from one aspect that is explained shockingly bad and that is the relationship system. Throughout the game players will make various dialogue choices and take actions as the three primary characters and not only will these affect the relationship meter for the trio with one another but also their “Skateboard” score that calculates their teamwork. The reason this feels poorly explained is that dialogue choices that seem like they support the group or another character have the opposite effect and even actions made completely separate from others in the group will change these ratings. This is a bit annoying as it prevents players from selecting some of the more enjoyable actions and even then, the game puts far too much reliance on them by having specific events occur differently and even the ending depending on their relationship scores.

It also must be said that while New Tales from the Borderlands’ core plotline is handled quite well, it does have its fair share of annoyances. This includes an entire segment telling players about an amazing shark battle only to not show anything, a mortally wounded character telling the group to move on despite having the capability to actually heal them, and an ending chapter that may feature an amazing showdown regardless of the choice made, and the aforementioned relationship scores playing the only part in actually determining the ending. While it is easy to see why the developers chose to put their own spin on the standard formula it should have been better handled and perhaps a little more transparent as a result.


Those familiar with the first game will find that New Tales from the Borderlands offers the same type of dialogue choices that the previous game did. It is worth noting that players can adjust the timer or remove it entirely from these choices now to give them a little more leeway with most actions. Along these same lines players will find that the only other real gameplay comes in the form of quick time events that happen throughout every scene. Like the dialogue choices, there are accessibility options here as well making them impossible to fail should players choose to go that route.

Other than that, the game offers very little else in the way of interactivity besides examining items in an area during the rare exploration moments or occasionally scanning NPCs and objects with either Aru’s goggles or Octavio’s EchoDex. There is the aforementioned Vaultlanders mini-game that serve as both collectibles and fighting pieces; however the actual game itself is a mind-numbing mash fest of quick time events that players can win even using the most useless of characters. It is worth noting that the money that players do obtain throughout the game can only be used to purchase costume changes for the three main characters this time around and most of them are simple palette swaps with only a few actually altering the appearance of the characters.

Visuals & Audio

An element where New Tales from the Borderlands shines is how on-brand almost everything players see and interact with is in the game. With Gearbox at the helm the team has handled the character models and world design for the game expertly when compared to the core series and the facial expressions of characters are also handled impressively well. As mentioned before, players can obtain various skins for the three characters to wear throughout the game and while they don’t really affect gameplay at all, it is a nice small touch.

The voice work for the game is handled quite well with all of the characters fitting their characters well, especially in the case of the few robotic characters players will meet. It is worth noting that while there is some nice vocal intro music for every episode, the songs don’t quite match up to the same quality found in the original series.


New Tales from the Borderlands does a fine job presenting a solid cast of characters with some real gems in the bunch that have some great interactions between themselves in a mostly humorous journey that doesn’t quite stick the landing. The company’s attempt to change the relationship mechanics has made for some rather strange outcomes from choices players while also hindering their freedom a bit. Those looking for the magic from the original release will find that New Tales from the Borderlands doesn’t quite match up but it still offers quite a lot of enjoyment while newcomers and fans of the Borderlands series will find the series’ humor right on the mark here while also providing plenty of new lore for the franchise to take advantage of moving forward.

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.


New Tales from the Borderlands may not hit the highs of the original but it does deliver an oft laugh filled adventure with a great cast that fit right in with the Borderlands series.
Travis Bruno
Travis Bruno
After playing games since a young age and getting into anime a bit later on its been time to write about a little bit of everything.
<i>New Tales from the Borderlands </i>may not hit the highs of the original but it does deliver an oft laugh filled adventure with a great cast that fit right in with the <i>Borderlands</i> series.New Tales from the Borderlands Review