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Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 2 - Atlas Mugged
Score: 90%
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure


Tales from the Borderlands is finally back. This adventure series, a spin-off of 2K and Gearbox Software's hugely popular role-playing shooter hybrid, is something of a quiet triumph in these circles. Its franchise originally didn't seem too ripe for expanded storytelling, but with the release of Borderlands 2, the series developed a much more cohesive vision and more importantly, a very distinct personality established by Anthony Burch's hysterically funny and shockingly poignant script. In the end, Telltale's predilection for storytelling and Borderlands's famously dark sense of humor combined to create one of Telltale's best efforts yet. And here we are, two episodes in. And while Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 2 - Atlas Mugged isn't quite as strong as Episode 1 - Zer0 Sum, it's definitely not suffering from a sophomore slump.

Rhys and Vaughn:

The dual-unreliable-narrator act of Rhys and Fiona works wonders in the story’s framing device; they’ve both been captured at gunpoint by a mysterious stranger and forced to spill their guts about their misadventures concerning a botched deal over a Vault Key and a mysterious Atlas project, codenamed "Gortys."

Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 2 – Atlas Mugged starts off right where Zer0 Sum left off. And good thing, too – we were left with a stunning cliffhanger. Some incorporeal manifestation of Handsome Jack is alive, and for some reason, only Rhys can see him. The lengthy prologue raises more questions than the rest of the episode is able to answer, but shortly after, the two duos are separated, so they can go on their own adventures and face their own conflicts.

After a deadly chase with a Rakk Hive that ends in characteristically explosive fashion, Rhys and Vaughn are flung out of the caravan and into the dusty wastelands. And when they think things can’t get any worse, Hyperion CEO Hugo Vasquez (who Rhys pissed off pretty bad in Zer0 Sum) shows up…

Fiona and Sasha:

Despite stumbling into a secret Atlas facility and finding a threat that will undoubtedly lead to adventure and fortune, Fiona and Sasha are in a bit of a funk. Their longtime mentor and father-figure Felix has betrayed them and either met a fiery end or was saved at the last moment by Fiona. Regardless, Sasha is plenty angry, and isn’t willing to move on.

And oh yeah, there’s a bounty on Fiona’s head. So, naturally, there’s a huge target on their Hollow Point hideout. But they’ve got to go back and fix up their caravan, which is nearly torn in half during the Rakk Hive encounter, and see if Felix had some sort of contingency plan…

Fiona and Sasha’s story this episode ends with an entertaining standoff that erupts into a thrilling on-foot chase through the streets of Hollow Point involving a couple of memorable new villains and a fun cameo from a series regular that I won’t spoil here.


Second episodes are often table-setters, regardless of medium. And so it is with Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 2 – Atlas Mugged. But unsurprisingly, the ending hints at bigger and better things to come. Maybe not necessarily for its main characters, but definitely for the player.

Telltale Games usually pride themselves on games that take themselves very seriously and force you to consider the consequences of each and every decision. So far, Tales from the Borderlands balances its drama and its comedy beautifully, much in the same way that Borderlands 2 did. I can’t wait for the next episode.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

Related Links:

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated