Tales from the Borderlands – Episode Four Review: The Bravo-Team

tales-from-the-borderlands-episode-four-headerIf you were to ask the critics, Tales from the Borderlands is the hidden gem of Telltale’s slate of episodic adventure games. I’d hazard that those critics are also going to be fans of or at least have played the Borderlands games at some point in time. I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve never put much more than five hours into Borderlands.

When you take that into consideration, it’s probably not that much of a surprise that I haven’t rated Tales from the Borderlands as well as most critics. And while a number of critics saw the penultimate episode of TFTB as the best episode in the series and called the series the best thing out of Telltale since the first season of The Walking Dead. I saw it as just an episode.

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Game of Thrones – Episode Five Review: The George R. R. Martin Special

game-of-thrones-episode-five-headerWhat’s the old George R. R. Martin special? Political intrigue mixed with copious amounts of violence, death and destruction. Sure, that’s probably over simplifying the books and TV show but that’s what keeps people coming back every time.

It was only a matter of time before Telltale Games’ Game of Thrones series also started to get closer to resembling a video game version of Game of Thrones rather than a Telltale game with a Game of Thrones coat of paint. That doesn’t mean that Episode Five – A Nest of Vipers was the best episode of Telltale’s Game of Thrones this season.

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Tales from the Borderlands – Episode Three Review: The Long Road Home

tales-from-the-borderlands-episode-three-headerI’ve never really understood how Telltale can be so good at writing these episodic narrative arcs but be so completely incapable at writing the second episode of those stories. They go from great starts to non-existent follow-up and that certainly dampened my enthusiasm for the third episode of Tales from the Borderlands. Fortunately for Telltale, they aren’t too bad at bouncing back from a subpar effort and certainly did with this episode of TFTB.

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Game of Thrones – Episode Four Review: Old Wounds

game-of-thrones-episode-four-headerAfter the last episode of Game of Thrones (A Telltale Game Series), I lamented the fact that it felt like the story was far too on-rails for my liking and that the Forrester clan were getting no hope spots in their continuing battle to save their House from being crushed by the combined forces of House Whitehill and the various Bolton and Lannister forces. While the latter doesn’t really change that much (it is a Telltale game after all), we finally see a glimmer of hope and a little comeback from Team Ironrath.

Given that we’ve been beaten down emotionally by Game of Thrones on TV and in the game, it was nice to have that little bit of hope.

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Tales from the Borderlands – Episode Two Review: Atlas Shrugged

tales-from-the-borderlands-episode-2-headerI know these episodic reviews of Telltale’s games aren’t exactly the most timely but the increasing length of time between Telltale’s releases aren’t exactly speedy either. We’re getting to the point where I’m not exactly sure that Telltale will be able to complete Tales From The Borderlands during this calendar year since the gap between releases is just over three months.

So some three months after it was released, I’ve finally gotten around to reviewing the second episode of Tales From The Borderlands. It would have been a lot easier to review this is I felt any passion for this product but I’m not entirely sure that I don’t feel a little more passion than Telltale does.

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Game of Thrones – Episode Three Review: Words are Wind

game-of-thrones-episode-three-headerOne criticism that Telltale has faced since their renaissance with The Walking Dead is that their games have become quite formulaic. There’s a lot of talking, some needless quick-time events and a helix story structure that only diverges based on your choices for a short period before following the intended plot. But even with those complaints, Telltale is very good at telling their story.

The problem is that when you release games episodically, there’s an expectation for the climax inside the episode and to build the “season”-long story at the same time. The first two episodes of Telltale’s Game of Thrones have been serviceable as their own episodes but they haven’t rushed to build a story going forward. With Episode Three: The Sword in the Darkness, Game of Thrones properly drives us forward in the season-long narrative.

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Game of Thrones – Episode Two Review: Love’s Labour’s Lost

game-of-thrones-episode-two-headerIt took a long time but it looks like Telltale Games finally found its strong suit with The Walking Dead series. That story kicked off their foray into mature stories, strong characters and meaningful interaction. The gameplay around it wasn’t the emphasis but rather a means to get you to the next character moment.

While Telltale’s new Game of Thrones series didn’t debut at the peak of TWD’s excellence, they did a great job with the talking portions of the game. The memorable moments in the first episode came from the interactions of the two Forrester children who were talkers rather than fighters. The second episode of Game of Thrones has a little less conversation and a little more action but that doesn’t make it any less satisfying.

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Game of Thrones – Episode One Review: Valar Morghulis

game-of-thrones-episode-one-headerIf ever there was a marriage of licensed property and game developer that made sense, it’s Telltale Games and Game of Thrones. With The Walking Dead series, Telltale showed that it could do series with dark themes, tough decisions and no-win scenarios. After some previous lacklustre GoT games, George R. R. Martin gave the okay for Telltale to have a go and assigned his personal assistant as a story consultant so you know this isn’t going to be a quick cash-in on the license.

Game of Thrones is the fourth series we’ve seen from Telltale this year and concerns about the possibility of the team being spread thin are unfounded. Episode One of GoT could be the best debut episode that Telltale has ever done and fits in perfectly with the rest of the world of Westeros.

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Tales from the Borderlands – Episode One Review: There Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked

tales-from-the-borderlands-episode-one-headerI’ve never really been a big first-person shooter fan. Maybe it’s coming from a console background in my youth rather than PC but I was never really into FPSs. So I’ve never been into the Borderlands franchise. Sure, I’ve got some ten hours into the first game and my sister knows the franchise inside and out (she’s the FPS player in the family) but I’ve never been compelled to keep going with those games.

That being said, I’m a big fan of the last couple of years of content from Telltale Games. While I haven’t had time to get to The Wolf Among Us (though I hear it’s fantastic), The Walking Dead seasons have been absolutely fantastic so of course I’m going to pick up the next game from Telltale. So can a merger of genres and developers that may not necessarily work at first glance come together to make another Telltale and Gearbox classic?

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The Walking Dead: Season Two Review: Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

the-walking-dead-season-two-bannerTelltale Games had a bit of an up-and-down reputation prior to the release of The Walking Dead. That game completely changed the way that most thought of Telltale and many critics felt that they set the bar for storytelling in games. After the numerous game of the year awards for TWD and a critically acclaimed launch for The Wolf Among Us, Telltale’s second comic book adaptation, The Walking Dead: Season Two was one of the most hotly anticipated games of 2014.

The problem with a game with all that hype is that it occasionally bogs down under the weight. The problem with a sequel is that they struggle to balance the needs of new gamers to the franchise with the desires of people continuing the story. There were times when TWD:S2 caved to these pressures as Telltale tried very hard to copy what made Season One so loved but missing the emotional mark that Season One hit. However, once Season Two came into its own, Telltale had put out another stellar experience.

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