Well… this happened. The curse of the fourth episode in Telltale’s games series’ continues with their latest installment: Tales from the Borderlands Episode 4 – Escape Plan Bravo. I am not sure why exactly, but Telltale seems to struggle with most of their penultimate episodes of various seasons. Tales from the Borderlands Episode 4 is no exception and could have been done way better. But that’s not to say that it wasn’t fun! Here are my thoughts about Tales from the Borderlands Episode 4 – Escape Plan Bravo combining the critiquing power of reviews with the TL;DR agility of Top 10 lists, Bullet Point Review engaged!
PS: There’s bound to be spoilers here so watch out!
The Cons – Nay!!!
10. The game engine
Still sucks! Well of course I did not expect it to change in the middle of a season. But, as I alluded to in my review of Telltale’s Game of Thrones Episode 5, playing this kind of game on PS4 seems a little like going backwards in life. Not from a visual standpoint, but from the controls and the way the game runs. It could definitely use some improvement! I hope Telltale takes a step back and improves their engine for their coming slate of games, especially on current gen.
9. Lack of action
Episode 3 of Tales from the Borderlands was quite action packed. Episode 4 however, was quite devoid of action, going for subtler tones. While, in itself, this is not something negative, the entire theme of this episode was centered around a heist. Whilst some of the tensions were there, the action was markedly absent for a heist story.
Episode 4 did not manage to hit quite as high notes in terms of story compared to the previous installment. While there were definitely some interesting and shocking occurrences, some of the deliveries marginally missed their mark.
7. Forced scenes
I felt as though some of the scenes were forced and did not blend well with the others. For example, early in the episode Rhys was grilled by Sasha and Fiona about how he was acting strange. I did not feel like this was apparent enough to merit this based on my earlier choices so I was left confused. The purpose of this was just an opportunity to tell them about Jack. At that moment, this did not make sense to me given the situation they were in.
6. Character development
While in previous chapter we had some great character development with Sasha, Rhys and Fiona. This time around I don’t feel like I saw much character progression despite opportunities being present. Some characters were just plain ignored. Vaughn and Loader Bot were absent for most of my play-through and I missed them. Also, I am not even sure what the point of August and his goons were in this episode.
5. Vaughn’s absence
As I mentioned above, Vaughn and Loader Bot’s absence was quite noted. But my play-through of this episode was even more Vaughn-less because I somehow made a decision to ignore him. I was not aware that I had made this decision and was quite confused when I was reminded about it.
The previous episode saw some great interactions between the likes of Rhys and Sasha, as well as Fiona and Athena. The interactions in this episode were rather short and there was not much banter between characters despite many opportunities. Especially with Gortys and Fiona.
Choices in this episode seemed largely irrelevant. Some of them were just plain cosmetic, such as the girls’ Hyperion clothes and Scooter’s satellite message.
Oh boy… Like I mentioned earlier on and I also noted this in my review of Episode 5 of Telltale’s Game of Thrones series. Telltale’s season penultimate episodes tend to be really short and messy in terms of pacing. This was no exception for Tales from the Borderlands as I saw some really drawn-out moments such as the face-pizza scene. As well as some really quick scenes toward the end. The ending was quite abrupt and occurred just as we were trying to figure out exactly what happened. We also did not get any more inklings about how these events lead into the current/future timeline were Fiona and Rhys are held prisoner. These scenes were used to quite some comedic effect in previous installments but they just seemed like a waste of time in this one.
1. Scooter’s death
While Scooter’s death was certainly heartfelt. I also felt as though it was forced and rushed. His story was not developed enough, especially in this chapter, to deliver the maximum impact of his departure. Also, I half-expected Fiona to cut his arm off in attempts to save him. I am slightly disappointed that this was not an option.
The Pros – Yay!!!
One of the best parts of Borderlands is the variety of scenery, dialogue and actions. This episode celebrated that as we not only revisited some previous scenes but had scenes in space and the sterile corporate Hyperion. There was also a bit of variety in what we were asked to do from peeling a bloody guy’s face off another guy’s bloody face… nasty, to spacewalks and an imaginary shoot-out.
The world of Borderlands is not only filled with vibrant scenery but also weird and wacky characters. This episode not only celebrated some of that but added to the overall lore of Borderlands. A major character from the previous games was killed and we find out that Jack owned Atlas.
Gortys’ one-liners were on point this time around and I was left laughing in many scenes. She played off well with the other characters. I only wish her scene with Fiona was more involved. Ashley Johnson is doing a great job with this one.
Following on from my previous point, one of the main reasons to play Tales from the Borderlands is the comedy. There were definitely some great jokes especially from Gortys and Rhys.
6. The betrayal
I did not quite see the betrayal from Yvette coming, I felt as blindsided as I’m sure Rhys felt. I really felt immersed in that moment and was taken aback. Telltale does this well with many of their properties and this scene was especially well done.
5. The sacrifice
Although I also noted this point as a con it was only because I felt as though it was not delivered as well as it should have been. Killing off a character such as Scooter is definitely a big moment and I commend Telltale for doing this. A great idea but with less than the amazing execution it deserved.
4. The “shoot-out”
The imaginary shoot-out with Rhys-quez (Rhys in Vasquez’s body) was hilarious and I did not see it coming. The lead up was so serious that I thought the scene was about to go in an entirely different direction. But instead Rhys ends up having an epic (if you have an imagination) finger-gun fight with many of the Hyperion employees. I adored this scene, not many games can pull this kind of fourth-wall breaking scene off.
3. The master plan
I feel like Rhys really stepped up his game with his master plan to get the final Gortys piece, which he ultimately achieved. This plan gave the episode its ‘heist’ feel and it also reminded me of multi-part (fetch) quests in Borderlands as they had to retrieve many pieces and have characters in place to do the job.
2. Setting up
As all penultimate episodes in recent Telltale games, this was a major set-up of what is to come, and I can’t wait to see it. I suspect the final episode will be filled with action, intrigue and hilarity! The end of this episode certainly sets us up for some craziness all because of…
1. Handsome Jack
Has totally taken over Hyperion once again. Rhys is now at his mercy and I can’t wait to see how the gang gets out of this one. Jack’s banter with Rhys was spot on though-out this episode. I sort of expected that something like this would happen so I made a concerted effort to make nice with Jack. Rhys may now have the Gortys piece but with Jack in the system who knows what will go down next? I guess we just gotta wait for the next episode…
Despite some setbacks this was a fun episode. I liked it overall but not as much as the previous installments. I felt the absence of many characters and that many scenes could have been improved. But that does not necessarily mean that this was a bad chapter, it was still quite enjoying to play! Let me know your thoughts in comments section, and you can also leave your review scores below.
Thanks for reading, and if you did enjoy this please like and subscribe, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. Let us know what you think about Tales from the Borderlands Episode 4 – Escape Plan Bravo and how we can improve by commenting below.
Image credits: Telltale Games, Gearbox Software