Tales from the Borderlands episode three is out, and it’s good. Really good.
As we did with Telltale’s Game of Thrones a while back, I feel like a choice breakdown is in order. Telltale’s games are, after all, largely about choice—even if not every choice has earth-shattering ramifications. But first, some general impressions:
I plan on going into this more soon, but for now I’ll just say that Tales from the Borderlands has become one of my favorite games of the year—something I never expected. Episode three was, in my opinion, the best yet, carefully brewing a deft stew (or perhaps a tea with hints of chicory and explosion) that fuses episode one’s frenetic pace with episode two’s more intimate character development.
One slow point near the beginning aside, I had a big dumb grin on my face the whole time. The characters, the writing, the plot—they’re nothing revolutionary, but all the fun is punctuated with just the right amount of depth. It’s pretty much what I personally want out of an action-packed adventure story, nearly to a tee.
Anyway, onto the choices!
Warning: spoilers ahead. No ludicrous number of guns will be enough to defeat them.
Who did you blame for the incident at the end of episode two?
I picked Vasquez, and it seemed like a lot of other people (nearly 60 percent) did the same. Was the hopelessly fatal outing entirely his fault? No. But it wasn’t entirely anybody else’s either, and he set more of the pieces in motion than most. Also, to be frank, he was a ruthless dick, a charming psychopath so bereft of actual charm that even Patrick Warburton’s gorgeous tones couldn’t save him.
Sure, there was the bit in episode two where he told Rhys he stomped all over him to build him up, make him into a real Hyperion robo-shark, but a) I didn’t buy it and b) blaming him and getting him killed is exactly what a true Hyperion robo-shark would do. I’d like to think I made him proud, except Fiona was the one making the decision, not Rhys. Still though.
Did you let Vallory help you up?
Hell no. Vallory hurt Loader Bot. She can go fuck herself.
Did you have Rhys make a tentative alliance with Handsome Jack?
OK, this is an interesting one, because I’m not sure if everybody got this exact option. If you sided with Jack at the end of episode two, I feel like the entire conversation leading to this choice in episode three wouldn’t be necessary. But anyway.
I did. And I immediately felt kinda bad about it. Jack is a ruthless asshole and, frankly, I don’t understand why The People Who Make Borderlands (whether it’s Gearbox or Telltale or both) like him so much, but I felt like Rhys needed an insurance policy. He’s not much of a lover, but he’s even less of a fighter. If something like the end of episode two happens again and Fiona isn’t there to pull Rhys’ ass from the fire, well, I don’t like those odds. I like them even less if another character—all of whom I really like!—is involved. I want to be able to make sure everybody survives, even if it means make a deal with the silver-tongued cyber-devil.
I am wary, though. For one, Jack definitely talked me into it with all his “you might have to trust someone you don’t like” garbage. I kinda took that as a hint from Telltale that sad things would happen if I didn’t. Also, Jack is adamant that he protects his friends (in this case Rhys), but does he protect his friends’ friends? I’m beginning to doubt it.
And finally, Rhys ended up in how many life threatening situations during episode three? And yet, Jack didn’t lift a glowing ghost finger even once to help out. So yeah, I don’t know, starting to feel like I made a garbage choice.
Did you let Sasha go?
Nope. I held on for dear life and screamed dramatic things. And then it turned out that we were a few feet from the ground. Priceless.
Did you give Sasha a flower?
Fuck yeah, you know I did. Rhys x Sasha for life.
Seriously though, who saw that romance coming? It’s so adorably awkward, and Sasha is the one constantly rescuing Rhys, rather than the other way around.
It’s gonna be super tragic when Sasha finds out about the Handsome Jack thing or Handsome Jack does something monstrous or something. But I like having that tension there. I want to see where it will go and how it will ruin a burgeoning romance that I have already invested my entire beating heart into.
Did you let Athena kill Cassius?
Nope. Seemed like a no-brainer. Cassius clearly wasn’t directly responsible for Athena’s sister’s death. He was a scared old man on the run. Was he part of something evil back in his heyday? Sure. But he helped Vaughn, didn’t stab us in the back when he probably could’ve, and seemed like he really just didn’t want any trouble.
Plus, I’m playing Fiona as someone who only uses violence as a last resort. That situation definitely didn’t warrant it.
Did you try to shoot Vallory?
Right at the end, when Fiona went into rage mode and leaped at Vallory, I... couldn’t pull the trigger. I’m not naive; I know that I’m gonna have to kill at some point (and in the game?). But I don’t know. I still hesitated, and that’s all the time she needed to hurl her spent rocket launcher at Fiona.
A question: if you do shoot her, how does that scene change?
Did you worry about Loader Bot every second of every action scene like a pet owner fretting over their sick puppy?
Of course you did, because Loader Bot is the best, and I—and you and your mom and the president—would do anything to make sure he doesn’t die. Anything.
Those were my choices. What did you do in Tales from the Borderlands episode three? Let’s compare.