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Borderlands

GOTY 2015 photo
GOTY 2015

Mike Cosimano's personal picks for Game of the Year 2015


The People's Choice(es)
Jan 04
// Mike Cosimano
2015 was a divisive year -- tremendous in terms of media (TV like Master of None and The 100; movies like Spotlight and The Force Awakens; games like...well, keep reading) and a garbage year in terms of my life. Entertai...

The best new characters of 2015

Dec 17 // Darren Nakamura
Tales from the Borderlands: Gortys I didn't know it before, but Gortys was exactly what the Borderlands universe needed. Apart from its particular brand of humor, the series is known for its pessimistic world, where if the indigenous wildlife doesn't kill you, the local bandits will. Countless people live on Pandora and just about everybody hates it. Everybody except Gortys. Gortys's unrelenting enthusiasm is so out of place it highlights just how absurd this world is, after three previous games have numbed players to its oppression. Voice actor Ashley Johnson is perfect in the role, delivering Gortys's unbridled joy and naivete, along with some of the best lines out of the whole cast. My favorite line in the entire series is down a particular dialogue branch; I didn't even hear it the first time playing through. As Gortys is trying to convince a corpse to get moving, Fiona and Rhys explain that he's dead. Gortys gets a sad look on their face, then the protagonists elaborate that the dead man was very bad. Without missing a beat, she perks up, says "Oh, well then good riddance!" and scoots away. I almost fell out of my chair laughing. Undertale: Asgore The entire cast of Toby Fox’s runaway success Undertale could’ve made this list, as the entire game is full of interesting and memorable characters. From the skeleton brothers Papyrus and Sans and the awesome fish soldier Undyne, to Alphys the massive weeaboo, the list goes on and on with fantastic monsters to encounter and potentially befriend. However, I don’t think any of them are anywhere near as endearing, tragic, or adorable as King Asgore Dreemurr. Asgore both stole and broke my heart. Originally made out to be an unstoppable, terrifying force who will rip you limb from limb, over the course of the game the various citizens of the underground fill you in on how wonderful he is. He loves making cups of tea and tending to his garden, and each Christmas he’ll dress up as Santa and leave gifts for the monster children of Snowdin village. Not to mention one of his favourite jumpers is a knitted pink one with ‘Mr. Dad Guy’ written on it, and if that doesn’t make Asgore utter perfection, then I don’t know what does. Finding out how lovely King Fluffybuns is only served to destroy me at the conclusion of the game. I’ll avoid specifics because of them being major spoilers, but Asgore is a truly lovable but incredibly emotionally damaged man put into a horrible situation where anything he does will result in causing suffering to a lot of people. What he’s done is truly evil, and while he thinks his actions were necessary, it doesn’t make them any easier for him to come to terms with. I really, really love Asgore. He’s friendly, likable, and kind, yet he’s also one of the most conflicted and multi-dimensional characters in the whole game. Interacting with him and learning more about him as I progressed through Undertale is easily one of the biggest emotional gut-punches I’ve had this year from a game. But for King Goatdad? Totally worth it. Undertale: Papyrus Papyrus is basically the best. ...What? You want to know more? I mean, it should be pretty obvious why he's so great. But if you really want the specifics, here are a few pieces of trivia about our neat skeleton friend. - He likes to say, “Nyeh heh heh!”- He's a member of the highly esteemed Royal Guard! ...well, not yet. But someday he might be!- He's really good at making spaghetti. It's practically edible!- He's very cool and strong. Just check out this picture of his sunglasses. And his biceps. And his biceps' sunglasses.- He has really high standards when it comes to dating. Potential dates must have, AT MINIMUM, zero redeeming qualities.- He dabs only the finest MTT-brand Beauty Yogurt behind his ears. Wait... you're saying he doesn't have ears?!- He's always prepared. In fact, you can't spell “prepared” without several letters from his name!- He has the greatest theme song. I could go on, but you get the idea. Papyrus is simply a cool dude and a great friend. Just ask his brother, Sans! King's Quest: King Graham Okay so he's not entirely "new," and he isn't even a proper king in the first episode, but the updated characterization of Graham really made me fall in love with The Odd Gentlemen's new take on the series. As one part Guybrush Threepwood and two parts lovable scamp, you can feel his unbridled enthusiasm for the adventure through the screen. The storybook style framing only augments the character, as the always wonderful Christopher Lloyd does a great job of playing the older version of Graham, re-telling his tales to his granddaughter. It's adorable, and although narrative techniques tend to overstay their welcome, Lloyd plays it off with such panache that you won't get mad at a death, because it's met with a chuckle and a pun. Although I'd love to see his son Alexander take on the series in the future, this one of the better reboots in recent memory. Splatoon: All the Inklings It would be fair to criticize me for not singling out one specific character for this article, like one of the Squid Sisters or the default "Inkling girl" as she appears in most of Splatoon's promotional art, but that wouldn't be honest. The truth is, the concept of the entire Inkling species and what it represents is my favorite video game character of 2015. The way Inkling culture revolves around the seamless combination of style worship with competitive social cliques is such a fun adaptation of teenage life. Even the physical makeup of the Inkling is feels teenage -- mushy and unstable, stuck between baby-cute and grown-up-tough, not quite one thing or the other. Most teenagers will tell you that depending on what social environment they've been thrust into at the moment, it may be smarter for them to show their true colors or just hide in the ink until they're less likely to be torn apart by their enemies. They may not actually use the word "ink" when describing that scenario, but the underlying feeling remains the same. When it comes to tying visual design, gameplay mechanics, and surrounding lore into central, cohesive metaphor for the teenage experience, the Inkling is about as perfect as it gets. Yo-Kai Watch: Jibanyan Two words: Ghost. Cat. Let those sink in. When you first come across Jibanyan he is waiting on his owner while attempting to beat up passing cars at the very intersection where his physical life was ended by them. After a brief chat Jibanyan tells you how his prized possession, a picture of his owner, was taken by some local Yo-Kai bullies. Once the bullies have been taught a lesson and the picture returned, Jibanyan joins your side with his fierce but adorable Paws of Fury.  There hasn't been a ghost this awesome since Patrick Swayze, nor a living dead cat this feisty since Pet Sematary.
Best new characters photo
Very excited to meet you!
Video games have a fair share of legendary heroes. They've been around for years and their stories have spanned generations (of both consoles and humans). They are household names: Mario, Sonic, Master Chief, Solid Snake. Thi...

Nominees for Destructoid's Best PC Game of 2015

Dec 12 // Steven Hansen
Here are the nominees for Destructoid's Best PC Game of 2015: The Beginner's Guide Downwell Her Story Heroes of the Storm Invisible Inc. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Rocket League Soma Tales from the Borderlands Undertale The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt [Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles, and episodic titles that are not fair to assess as stand alone experiences, without a full episode count, were not eligible for this year's awards. The cutoff for entry into Destructoid's 2015's Game of the Year awards is December 4, 2015.]
Best PC Game 2015 photo
Got a PC? Then you've got a computer!
The personal computer ("PC," to those in the know) is always good for a clutch of unexpected surprises and in 2015 it was no different. There heavy hitters are there, from Metal Gear to The Witcher. But there is also an unexp...

Borderlands Online photo
Borderlands Online

Borderlands Online cancelled as 2K shutters studio in China


About 150 people laid off
Nov 06
// Brett Makedonski
Upcoming free-to-play shoot-and-looter Borderlands Online is no more and and neither is the studio that was working on it. 2K cancelled the game and shut down 2K China. Borderlands Online was originally scheduled to...

Borderlands updated photo
Borderlands updated

Gearbox is still updating Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel


FOV slider added on PS4, Xbox One
Oct 29
// Jordan Devore
Fresh updates for Borderlands 2, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and Borderlands: The Handsome Collection rolled out today across PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and even PS Vita. Those 3x better legendary loot drop rates enab...

If Tales from the Borderlands characters were Vault Hunters in Borderlands 3

Oct 27 // Darren Nakamura
Character: Fiona Possible Action Skill: Hidden Gun. Though it isn't exactly intimidating, especially considering the vast arsenal a typical Vault Hunter carries around, Fiona's single-shot pistol could be buffed for enormous damage, like a Destiny Gunslinger's Golden Gun. If nothing else, the ability to add any of three types of elemental damage could be useful. Likelihood of becoming a Vault Hunter: High. The latter half of the season details Fiona's training to take care of herself in a fight. Those who visit Felix in the final chapter learn of his desire for her to give up the con game and find a new life. All signs point to Fiona as the most likely candidate to be a Vault Hunter. Character: Rhys Possible Action Skill: Echo Eye. Most Action Skills are used solely for combat, but this could be employed during exploration to find hidden caches and shortcuts. Additionally, it can be used during combat to highlight weak points and hack electronics-based enemies into fighting for Rhys. Likelihood of becoming a Vault Hunter: Low. Though Rhys did a bit of fighting throughout the series, he was never proficient with it. After stealing the rights to and revitalizing the Atlas corporation, it sounds like he is best set up as a supporting character for the future instances of Borderlands. Character: Sasha Possible Action Skill: Swindle. Sasha uses her feminine charms to stupefy enemies into inaction. Enemies defeated while Swindle is active have a greater chance of dropping valuable loot. Likelihood of becoming a Vault Hunter: Medium. Sasha has demonstrated basic weapon proficiency, and like her sister, could stand to drop the life of a con artist. She didn't receive combat training from Athena, so she might not quite be suited to the life of a Vault Hunter just yet. Character: Vaughn Possible Action Skill: Fudge the Numbers. Borderlands is about making bigger and bigger numbers pop out of enemies, so who better to manipulate that than an accountant? Activating Fudge the Numbers would grant huge boosts to Vaughn's attack and defense, and can be powered up later to add a confusion effect on bandits. Likelihood of becoming a Vault Hunter: Medium-low. Vaughn took to the wastes of Pandora well, and he has the rock-hard abs of a Vault Hunter, but he is probably too busy as the leader of the Children of Helios, who have a penchant for pacifism. Character: Gortys Possible Action Skill: Mech Mode. Normally Gortys scoots around in her cute ball form, but upon activating Mech Mode, she digistructs her arms and legs and becomes a brawler. Not only that, but she can adopt the abilities of nearby teammates, a little like Claptrap's ability from The Pre-Sequel, only less random and more useful. Likelihood of becoming a Vault Hunter: God I hope so. Gortys is the best new character and I would play as her in a heartbeat. Not only that, but she has shown she can fight and has the heart to protect her friends. She has also demonstrated having no qualms with bad people dying. Character: Loader Bot Possible Action Skill: Bulldoze. Loader Bot equips a BUL Loader arm and charges forward, pushing enemies together for area-of-effect damage or off cliffs for instant kills. This may be difficult given Loader Bot has lost most of his original body over the course of the series. Likelihood of becoming a Vault Hunter: "Hi." Loader Bot does what is necessary to get the job done, and his new body seems more than capable of handling the dangers of being a Vault Hunter. However, his main motivation seems to be protecting Gortys, so he might not have the desire to become a Vault Hunter unless she does it first.
Borderlands photo
Dibs on Fiona
Tales From the Borderlands (Season One?) wrapped up last week, and it was fantastic. One of the coolest things about Telltale's effort is how it will have an indelible impact on the main series. Once Borderlands 3 comes aroun...

Gearbox photo
Gearbox

Gearbox is shutting down the Borderlands LootTheWorld app today


Oh yeah, this exists
Oct 22
// Chris Carter
If you're a fan of the LootTheWorld Borderlands app, you'll want to boot it up today and enjoy your final day with it -- Gearbox has announced that it's shutting down as of October 22. Previously, it allowed you to ...
Borderlands photo
Borderlands

Tales from the Borderlands' season finale gets a trailer


Tales from Borderlands Space
Oct 16
// Mike Cosimano
I'll be the first to admit -- I was extremely skeptical about Tales from the Borderlands, especially considering how disappointed I was by The Walking Dead's second season. But I'm happy to have been proven wrong. This game l...
Telltale Borderlands photo
Telltale Borderlands

Tales from the Borderlands finale releases on October 20


Here's a teaser for it
Oct 08
// Darren Nakamura
You might have heard how the first episode of Tales from the Borderlands is now available for free. If you haven't, well, Telltale really wants to drive that fact home. That's how they get you. The first hit is free. You want...
Borderlands photo
Borderlands

Tales from the Borderlands free on Xbox Worldwide (and PSN in North America)


Hurry up!
Oct 07
// Vikki Blake
Tales from the Borderlands Episode 1 is currently free on Xbox One and Xbox 360. It's also free on the PlayStation Store in the US, although we're still being asked for £4 in the UK for some reason (boo). I could pad th...
Microsoft photo
Microsoft

Xbox One Experience Preview issues affect games, apps


Here's what we know so far...
Sep 17
// Vikki Blake
The latest Xbox One Experience Preview program is experiencing a host of troubles, including errors running Destiny: The Taken King, Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, Skylanders, Elder Scrolls Online and Forza 6. The problems haven't been reported on the Xbox One Status webpage, but warnings - shared by our friends at VideoGamer - have been made available on the Xbox One dash itself. 
Borderlands Xbox One photo
Borderlands Xbox One

Borderlands supported on Xbox One Backward Compatibility in November


'Strip the flesh, salt the wound'
Sep 03
// Darren Nakamura
Current-generation console owners have been able to get their Borderlands fix via The Handsome Collection, but the game that started it all is notably missing from the HD rerelease. Soon enough, Xbox One users will have a way...
Borderlands movie photo
Can it top Tales from the Borderlands?
Borderlands is Gearbox's star property. Though The Pre-Sequel was kind of a letdown, Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and Tales from the Borderlands have all been critical and/or commercial successes. Of course 2K and Gearbox woul...

Borderlands screenshots photo
Borderlands screenshots

Tales from the Borderlands: Escape Plan Bravo screenshots, we got 'em


Is episode five out yet?
Aug 18
// Darren Nakamura
Wow wow wow. This episode was so good, guys. I don't think I've ever given a 10/10 to anything on Destructoid before. Y'all need to play this series. For those who would rather just look at some pretty pictures, I have those ...

Review: Tales from the Borderlands: Escape Plan Bravo

Aug 18 // Darren Nakamura
Tales from the Borderlands: Escape Plan Bravo (iOS, Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesReleased: August 18, 2015 (Mac, PC, PS3, PS4)MSRP: $4.99, $24.99 (Season Pass)Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit [Editor's note: there will be no major spoilers present for the episode reviewed here, but events in previous episodes may be discussed.] Things were looking bad for Fiona and Rhys at the end of the third episode. Sure, Gortys found her first upgrade and the path to the Vault of the Traveler became clearer, but newcomer Vallory had the group pretty well pinned under her thumb by the end. Complicating matters was the revelation that the final Gortys upgrade isn't even on Pandora; it's up on Hyperion's moon base Helios. For a series known for fast travel between exotic locations and featuring interstellar travel as part of its lore, it's easy to forget just how infrequently anybody takes a trip off Pandora. Usually, denizens of the wasteland are stuck there. And so the first act of this episode involves the non-negligible task of actually getting from Pandora to Helios. The group grows as August and Vallory's henchmen ride along to ensure Rhys and Fiona don't try anything funny and Scooter hops in as the on-board mechanic. It's a pretty motley crew, well deserving of the '80s rock credits sequence rocket launch montage. [embed]306135:60017:0[/embed] Telltale continues to demonstrate its comedic mastery with Tales from the Borderlands. One of the funniest parts comes from a totally visual gag within the launch montage. It elicited more laughs with no words than some comedy games do with thousands. The written jokes here are on point too. Each of the characters brings something different. Gortys remains a highlight through the whole ordeal, even if she has fewer lines than she did in the previous episode. Fiona's sarcasm hits just the right notes. Handsome Jack is about as likable as a murderous psychopath can be. The plan that comes together even allows players to act like total assholes without having to feel too bad about it. The trip to Helios also allows for one of the most bizarre scenes in recent memory. Without spoiling too much: it's a classic Telltale quick-time event action sequence, but it involves a horde of Hyperion accountants and a lot of mouth-made sound effects. It isn't all laughs. The series has had its serious moments in the past, but Escape Plan Bravo will cement Tales into the overall Borderlands lore. It is no longer a side story on Pandora. It feels like its own proper entry in the timeline, with real effects on the world Gearbox built. It's a stark contrast with Telltale's other current series Game of Thrones. While the events in that series are important to the Telltale-designed protagonists, they aren't important to anybody else in that world. Telltale's characters and story in Tales from the Borderlands are important to Borderlands as a whole. I have to imagine there is at least a modicum of trepidation when handing over a franchise to another developer, but if Gearbox had any fears that Telltale wouldn't do right by Borderlands, those fears would be unfounded. If anything, it feels like Gearbox needs to hire the Telltale writers to consult on Borderlands 3. Escape Plan Bravo solidifies Tales as a must-play series for those interested in the Borderlands universe. I cannot wait for the last episode, The Vault of the Traveler. There is so much to resolve: Vallory, Handsome Jack, Vaughn, Gortys, the masked man, Felix, the vault. I'm stressing out just thinking about it all. There isn't much more to say without spoiling the best episode of Tales from the Borderlands yet. I laughed. I cried. I haven't been able to say that about a Borderlands game since Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep, or about a Telltale game since the first season of The Walking Dead. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Borderlands review photo
Encore! Encore!
[Disclosure: Anthony Burch, who consulted on the story for Tales from the Borderlands, was previously employed at Destructoid. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the review.] Tales ...

Telltale Borderlands photo
Telltale Borderlands

Tales from the Borderlands Episode 4 trailer blasts off


'I was wired ready!'
Aug 17
// Darren Nakamura
Tales from the Borderlands: Escape Plan Bravo hits this week, so as is its custom, Telltale has released a trailer to pump audiences up for it. In Catch a Ride we learned Gortys's second upgrade was somewhere up on Heli...
Telltale Borderlands photo
Telltale Borderlands

Tales from the Borderlands Episode 4 out next week


Have some screenshots
Aug 12
// Darren Nakamura
From the announcement of the "crowd-play" event at PAX Prime, we knew Tales from the Borderlands: Escape Plan Bravo was imminent. I figured the event attendees would have advance knowledge and the rest of us would get it the ...
Telltale Borderlands PAX photo
Telltale Borderlands PAX

PAX Prime attendees able to 'crowd play' Tales from the Borderlands Episode 4


Potential hints about its release date
Aug 06
// Darren Nakamura
With just a little over three weeks to go, PAX Prime is almost upon us. The full schedule isn't available yet, but Telltale sent over a snippet including its plans at the sold out gathering. On Saturday, August 29, Telltale w...
Backward Compatibility photo
Backward Compatibility

Rumor claims Castle Crashers and Borderlands are getting backward compatibility


Could they be right around the corner?
Jul 27
// Laura Kate Dale
According to some images floating around on the internet this morning, Castle Crashers and Borderlands might be some of the next games coming to Xbox One via backward compatibility. The source of the leak, who apparently also...

Butts, bums, and intelligent narrative design

Jul 08 // Laura Kate Dale
What? You're not convinced that butts are an effective window to intelligent character design? You want another example? Well, let's take a look at our good old friend Luigi. Younger brother of arguably the most well known and influential video game protagonist of all time, Luigi is often overlooked by the world. On first glance he's nothing to look at, appearing at first to be merely a reskin of our beloved Mario. The key to understanding how Luigi's personality differs from that of his beloved sibling in in how he uses his butt in Super Smash Bros. Where Mario has a cushy posterior, lax from years of complacency, Luigi's butt is everything Mario's isn't. Where Mario has size on his side, Luigi quietly toned his backside into a lean, effective weapon. Where Mario's arse is all for show, Luigi honed his into an aerobatic, dexterous vehicle that can propel him to success. Luigi thrusts his butt with a terrifying and unexpected ferocity that only comes from years of discipline. Luigi can't rest on his laurels. To be seen as equal to his older sibling he has to exceed him in skill in every regard. Looking at the extra work he put into weaponising his booty is the strongest evidence there is to show this defining emotional character trait. It's the ultimate proof that Luigi has to work harder just to maintain the meager fame he has. The butt is key. Right, you're still on the fence? Well, let me pull out my narrative trump card, the Skull Kid in Majora's Mask. When you first start playing Majora's Mask, all you know about Skull Kid is that he's an evil horse thief. He plots an attack, steals from you and viciously prevents you from recovering what is yours. What's not immediately obvious is the fact that there's a playful child underneath the malice. This is where his butt comes into play. Very early in the game, while trying to track Skull Kid's location, we're treated to a butt centric scene that hugely informs on our antagonist's personality. When he realises you've spotted him he doesn't react with malice, but with a playful, lighthearted bout of self spanking. The fact Skull Kid chooses to antagonise you not with the misdeeds he holds over you, but with something as childlike and immature as a slap to his bum tells us so much about the layers of character depth we have to unravel throughout the game. As the scope of his evil actions grows, the only trait that gives us hope in his redemption is that single, playful, childlike arse slap.
Butts photo
Butts say a lot about personalities
Borderlands 2's Ellie is a hard working, confident pragmatist. Once she sets her mind to a task, she pushes forward and gets it done in spite of what anyone else thinks of her chances. She loves what she does and she loves he...

Humble Borderlands Bundle photo
Humble Borderlands Bundle

Humble Borderlands Bundle adds more DLC


Claptrap and Headhunter DLC
Jul 01
// Darren Nakamura
Last week, Humble and Gearbox announced the Humble Borderlands Bundle, featuring Borderlands, Borderlands 2, a coupon for 75 percent off Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and a big chunk of downloadable content for the first two g...
Borderlands screenshots photo
Borderlands screenshots

Tales from the Borderlands: Catch a Ride screenshots, we got 'em


Catch a screeeeeeeeeen!
Jun 23
// Darren Nakamura
Tales from the Borderlands: Catch a Ride is out today, and it continues the excellence the series has been known for thus far. As I normally do while playing through Telltale titles, I had my finger firmly planted on the F12 ...
Humble Borderlands Bundle photo
Humble Borderlands Bundle

Borderlands headlines the current Humble Bundle


A good entry point for newbies
Jun 23
// Darren Nakamura
Today is just a Borderlands day, it would seem. Not only did the third episode of the stellar Tales from the Borderlands release today, but now we have word that the mainline loot-shooters will be doing the whole Humble Bund...

Review: Tales from the Borderlands: Catch a Ride

Jun 23 // Darren Nakamura
Tales from the Borderlands: Catch a Ride (iOS, Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesReleased: June 23, 2015 (Mac, PC)MSRP: $4.99, $24.99 (Season Pass)Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit [Editor's note: there will be no major spoilers present for the episode reviewed here, but events in previous episodes may be discussed.] When we last saw Fiona and Rhys, the duo had just constructed the Gortys Project while Vaughn and Sasha were being held hostage. Atlas Mugged ended with a significant Telltale choice for Rhys to make: trust Fiona in her ability to improvise the situation or trust the shadow of Handsome Jack residing in his own cybernetic head. Though the decision was given a lot of weight, the episode concluded before we got to see much of an effect. As it turns out, the opening sequence to Catch a Ride plays out quite differently depending on which option was selected earlier. It's enough of a difference that along with the review code, Telltale sent a message imploring me to play through the episode twice in order to see just how far-reaching the consequences are. The differences are there, and they persist until about the third act, but at that point the two branches sort of homogenize together. Without giving away too much, trusting Handsome Jack unlocks the help of three characters who aren't necessarily available to those who instead trusted Fiona. However, by the end, all three are out of the picture one way or another, despite that they could have been particularly useful. [embed]294552:59205:0[/embed] It shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody who has played a Telltale game in the past few years that the overall narrative threads all begin and end in the same place, but Catch a Ride does feel like an improvement in that regard, if only slightly. Though the player cannot really affect how the story ends, certain scenes play out differently enough to warrant another look. One silly change I appreciated was that Rhys's Echo Eye ability is corrupted if he lets Jack into his systems. Instead of the dry humor found in the default descriptions, Jack inserts his own brand of over-the-top musings. I do wish this idea were taken further; there is a section in which Rhys has to hack a computer and having a digitized version of Handsome Jack ought to have helped in that situation. Fiona also goes through some questionable design territory with her abilities. Where her sleeve gun was previously limited, providing the possibility for interesting choices, its power is unlocked in the episode. It nullifies the opportunity cost that piqued my interest in Atlas Mugged; when I spent that incendiary bullet singing Finch's hair off in the second episode, I thought that would be the last time. Now it almost feels like Telltale is trying to set Fiona up to be a proper Vault Hunter in Borderlands 3. While on the one hand it will definitely be cool to see Telltale's original characters in Gearbox's next effort in the main series, it would detract from her uniqueness as a smooth-talking con artist were she to become another gunslinging badass. Speaking of characters, we do get a few new cameos from the main series here, although their inclusion feels a bit like fan service. After playing through twice, I'm still not quite sure why they were there, but it could very well be something that is planned to be explained in the future. As it stands, they show up, say some funny lines, do some outrageously violent things, and advance the story in a way, but their motivation isn't clear. That is a relatively minor complaint, especially considering the best thing Catch a Ride has going for it is one of the new characters. Gortys turns out to be a friendly robot and she easily has some of the best lines in the episode. With the personality of an earnest young child, she feels so out of place in the dark wastelands of Pandora that I couldn't help but be charmed. Everybody on the planet is gruff, insane, murderous, jaded, or at least sarcastic so having one character who is none of those is just perfect. Some of Gortys's lines tap lightly on the fourth wall; those are worth a lasting grin. There is one scene of hers in particular that had me laughing heartily, both times I played through. Even knowing it was coming, the setup and delivery were so on point that it killed. Ashley Johnson's voice work was perfect for the role. I don't know how this story ends, but I hope Gortys survives the ordeal in one way or another, because Borderlands needs to keep that character around. It may seem like a lot of my thoughts on Catch a Ride are negative, but they are minor quibbles in the grand scheme. Though I'm a little disappointed the two protagonists aren't using their unique skills as much as they did in the first episode, the story they team up to tell is still completely engrossing. The writing is as sharp as ever, with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. The end of the episode has just the right amount of cliffhanger to it. Tales from the Borderlands: Catch a Ride feels like a complete chapter in the story, but now I have a rough idea for what to expect in the next two episodes. With that narrative skeleton in mind, I am looking forward to watching the rest of the series play out now more than ever. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.] Tales from the Borderlands: Atlas Mugged (iOS, Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesReleased: March 17, 2015 (Mac, PC)MSRP: $4.99, $24.99 (Season Pass)Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit
Telltale Borderlands photo
Worth the fare
[Disclosure: Anthony Burch, who consulted on the story for Tales from the Borderlands, was previously employed at Destructoid. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the review.] Ever s...

Telltale Borderlands photo
Telltale Borderlands

Meet Gortys in this Tales from the Borderlands: Catch a Ride trailer


She's adorable
Jun 23
// Darren Nakamura
The third episode for Tales from the Borderlands is out today on PC and PlayStation consoles (with the rest out this week) so Telltale sent along this shiny new trailer for it. In it, we see some cameos from Vault Hunters Br...
Telltale Borderlands photo
Telltale Borderlands

Tales from the Borderlands Episode 3 out June 23


Catch a Ride
Jun 11
// Darren Nakamura
In life, sometimes it's best to celebrate the little victories. For instance, the forces of the universe have prevented me from attending E3 this year, but as a consolation, Telltale is releasing Tales from the Borderlands Ep...
Borderlands photo
Borderlands

Legendary weapons now drop three times as often in Borderlands


Orange you glad you're still playing?
May 27
// Brett Makedonski
While dedicated players still roam the fringes of the Borderlands, Gearbox has been playing the part of mad scientist. Or, at least normal scientist. The developer's been toying with the way that legendary drops function in t...
Borderlands photo
Borderlands

Ashley Johnson joins Tales from the Borderlands cast


'Episode 3 is bananas!'
May 22
// Vikki Blake
The Last of Us voice actor Ashley Johnson is joining the cast for Tales from the Borderlands. Johnson's involvement -- confirmed by Telltale's Laura Perusco and Job Stauffer on Twitter -- is said to concern a "very core chara...

The beauty and tragedy of a perfectly planned character

Apr 27 // Nic Rowen
I spent way too much time looking at screens like this. City of Heroes probably holds the dubious distinction of having the most skewed relationship in terms of “time spent planning characters VS time spent playing characters” in my life. I spent entire nights pouring over different power sets, ability combinations, and team synergies for a game that doesn't exist anymore. I devoted hours upon hours to figuring out the perfect stat progression for super villains that I knew in my heart of hearts I'd never take out of the starter area. The only crime they'd ever commit would be loitering. However, City of Heroes wasn't the only game to trigger this kind of obsessive cataloging, not by a long shot. I have a stack of character builds and ideas as thick as the Yellow Pages for Dark Souls PvP set-ups, gimmicky X-Com squads, and Darkest Dungeon dream teams. I have concept characters (complete with embarrassing back stories) sketched out for both of the modern Fallout games. All of their would-be perks, S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats, and fashionable item accessories already plotted out -- all that’s left would be to actually wander out in the wastes and find them, but who could be bothered after so much work? This goes way back, long before I had easy access to the internet where character planners and clever apps make it simple to plot these things out. Go back to the Precambrian era of high school days, dig through the fossil records of my notebooks and I'm sure you could find Diablo 2 skill trees scribbled in the margins of my English homework. The cave wall painting blueprints of a Hammerdin specced holy warrior looming above my predictable observations about MacBeth (probably, hopefully, accompanied by a cool doodle of a flying hammer crushing a zombie's skull).   When I step back and look at the sheer amount of go-nowhere ideas and try to tally up the time I've sunk into them compared to the relatively meager hours I've clocked into some of the games they're for, it dawns on me -- maybe this is kind of messed up. Maybe I've been living all wrong. Looking at it from a distance, it all seems quietly sad. I've spent more time in my head with some of these games (some of my favorite games, I might add) than I have playing them. There's a small critical voice in the back of my mind that is furious with me for squandering those hours, for not doing something more productive with the time -- both in the sense of actually playing the fucking games, and in the broader and more judgmental “what are you doing with your life?!” sense.  I have perfectly good reasons (or maybe I should call them “justifications”) for all the obsessive plotting and scheming. For one thing, there are just too many cool ideas out there and not enough time to see them through. For as much as I beat myself up for the papery death of my stillborn characters, I never really would have had the time to convert those dreams into reality even if I had the work ethic of John Henry. How long does a full play through of Diablo 2 take anyway? How many trips through Hell do you need to make to grind through the necessary experience points? If you're after a certain item set (and you know you are because you're the kind of crazy person who didn't stop reading three paragraphs ago) you'd probably need to go online to trade and wheedle your way into a full set to see it done. It's a hell of a lot more of a time investment than goofing off in English class, that's for sure. Sketching out those ideas for gimmicky Paladins and upstart Mages let me stave off the temptation to roll another character while I took my (unfortunately less imaginative) Barbarian to kick the shit out of the Prince of Lies. In a weird (insincere) way, I could even argue it helped me save time. Besides, an immaculately planned character can be satisfying in its own right. It's always good to get your intellectual hands dirty, to put your fingers into the putty of an idea, to roll it around and shape it. As far as pastimes go, you could do worse. Let's not forget all the situations where actually playing a game would be impractical. You can goof off a little at the office and play around with the Borderlands skill editor without causing much of a scene. But try and boot up your lv 30 Gunzerker at your desk just once and you'll never hear the end of it. Human Resources takes a dim view on bringing akimbo guns blazing justice to the wasteland during company hours, apparently.  Still, I look at the swollen and poorly organized folder where I dump all of my character ideas, filthy with PDF character sheets, webpage saves from online builders, .txt documents imported from PC to PC for games I'm not even sure I own anymore, and I wonder if I have a problem. I can justify all the characters I cooked up sitting in class or during lunch breaks? I know I spent just as many perfectly fine nights sitting in front of the same machine that actually displays and runs the games I was thinking about, tapping away at some poorly conceived concept character while utterly ignoring the game itself. At the same time though, I love those characters, I love those ideas. Yeah, most of them never made it out of the gate, but those characters had character. If videogames are mostly an exercise in mental stimulation, of burning off stressed out braincells and decompressing after a long shitty day, does it really matter if the satisfaction you get from them is through play or by tinkering with the ideas they present? If I could swap those hours around, gut about a quarter of that folder and take the time spent on the fantasizing about those ideas to actually playing out a few of them, would I be more satisfied? Or would it shake out to be about the same? I honestly have no idea. What I do know is that while writing this article, I did have an idea for another Dark Souls 2 character, and it's been all I could do to keep myself from drifting over to a wiki to start putting him together. There may be no hope for me.
Character building photo
I'm the man with the plan (and little else)
I've probably spent more time creating characters, builds, and dreaming up party compositions in my head than I have actually playing games. It seems odd to think of it in that way, but if I could somehow tally it all up I be...

Borderlands photo
Borderlands

Borderlands creator leaves Gearbox, abandons his baby


Left on the church steps, crying in the rain. How could they?
Apr 20
// Joe Parlock
It looks like Borderlands is going through a pretty rough time at the moment. Borderlands 2 writer Anthony Burch left Gearbox back in January, and Pre-Sequel developer 2K Australia closed its doors for good last week. I ...

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