Tales from the Borderlands – Episode Three: Catch a Ride delivers a more intense atmosphere and deeper story development than previous episodes. Players who dislike quick-time events may get frustrated at times, although the majority give plenty of reaction time, and up the action perfectly.
+ Great soundtrack
+ Higher level of atmosphere than previous episodes
+ Personal time with characters
+ More action
– Occasional fast reactions required for quick time events
Platform(s) available: PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, iOS, Android
Platform reviewed: PC
Tales from the Borderlands – Episode Three: Catch a Ride builds from the elements and choices of the previous episodes. More choices impact the story this time around, while quick-time events are implemented throughout.
The story begins with Rhys and Fiona trying to escape the Atlas facility we left them in, with the newly formed Gortys Project. Depending on the choice players made at the end of the previous episode, the escape method and route changes, as does a few other plot developments. The pair ultimately find themselves having to locate the remaining upgrades of the Gortys Project that will take them to a Vault. They must do this while running from Vallory, the badass leader of a large group of bandits (to put it lightly).
Catch a Ride finally got into the meat of the story. The pace was smooth and fast, with every scene and conversation being important to the plot. There was a higher focus upon the more serious side of the story, but with enough humour sprinkled throughout so that the tone never became too heavy or uncharacteristic. Overall an enjoyable episode, with any seemingly impossible or ridiculous situations glossed over due to the nature of Pandora and its people.
Characters were more likeable and relatable, (although perhaps that was down to my specific choices) due to the growth in companionship and respect for each other. Fiona is forced to become stronger, learning how to fight to survive and protect others. She is encouraged to think about the results of her combat options, which leads to an interesting mechanic being introduced where players must choose how to act during fight scenes. Catch a Ride therefore gives more attention to the action and quick-time events, encouraging players to stay on their toes.
The game auto-saves pretty often, though, so players who struggle with quick-time events should never have to replay long scenes just for mucking up one button press at the end. Timings and buttons used are also always the same each time, so those who struggle should be able to memorise the pattern.
Meanwhile, Rhys must decide who he trusts more, the man in his head or the con-artists he’s found himself with. This decision has a large impact on both Rhys’ character, others’ opinion of him, and the episode’s storyline. The player choices in this episode are generally much more about developing or destroying relationships with others than simply how others perceive the main characters. Some of the characters remembering what you said or did, felt like a real threat, this time around.
Like Episode One: Zer0 Sum, there is no specific choice at the end that will carry over to the beginning of the next episode, but instead players are left in a difficult situation. The ending impacts the player a little more personally in this episode, as they have started to build a genuine rapport with the characters and by the looks of things, not everyone is going to walk away from the current circumstances.
The Tales from the Borderlands soundtrack became particularly noticeable during Catch a Ride, which led to a more atmospheric tone. Some of the tense environments were built-up through the rhythmic music, while scenes of beauty had an extra hint of awe and romance due to the clever soundtrack. While appreciated in previous chapters, the music moved more to the forefront, making sure that player’s emotions were exactly where the developers wanted them.
Tales from the Borderlands – Episode Three: Catch a Ride is the combination of many elements from the previous episodes coming together for the most intense and emotional journey so far. Any players left unsure of the storyline from Atlas Mugged are certain to feel rewarded for carrying on into this episode. The introduction of new characters balances the more personal time spent with the older ones, while the characters level of combat and confidence grows. Everything combines to bring players an experience that will have them itching for the next episode.
This review was originally part of the GamersFTW site, the servers of which have been taken down. It now appears on GabsTannerReviews out of respect for the developers/publishers that gave me a copy to review.