Please note that since each episode of Tales from the Borderlands features the same graphics engine and control setup, those elements will not be repeated in our reviews for the final five episodes. To read our thoughts on that, refer to our review of Zer0 Sum.
Things appeared rather bleak for our intrepid band of heroes when last we saw them, but Valerie isn’t going to kill you just yet. Instead, she needs Rhys, Fiona and company to find a spaceship, travel to Helios, infiltrate Handsome Jack‘s old office and locate Gortys‘ missing upgrade. Nothing to it.
On the planet, Rhys finds himself in charge of putting together a disguise that’ll grant the group access while Fiona and Sasha reconnect with Scooter. While the planet-side Scooter segment does little outside of introducing us to Athena‘s girlfriend, Rhys’ search is delightfully disgusting as you have to go track down the body of your old friend Hugo Vasquez and, uh, extract his face. Framed differently, this would be disturbing, but once again it makes absolute sense in the world of Pandora.
What actually makes Escape Plan Bravo stand out from its predecessors is the lack of big action set pieces, and since I’m already on record about my feelings that those are the weakest part of the series it’s a perfectly fine omission. Some may miss it, but without it we’re able to focus on the most enjoyable parts: character development, clever writing and dark humor. In fact, TellTale does more with Scooter in 20 minutes of time here than 2k did in two full games.
Once we reach Helios, the heist begins. Without divulging too much, we’re immediately provided with an interesting twist on an existing character, and we also get to role play as uber asshole, Hugo. Having him completely mistreat his subordinates at every turn in hilarious, and as expected the return of Patrick Warburton to lend his vocal talents is great. He’s perfectly smarmy in the role, and the one notable “gun fight” is just a fantastic piece of cheesy goodness.
As much as I enjoyed the episode, sacrifices were made. The hilarious comedy team of Gortys and Loader Bot is M.I.A.; Gortys still plays a notable role, but LB gets next to nothing. There’s no real advancement of the Rhys/Sasha storyline, either. Considering those pairings provided some of the best moments from Catch A Ride it seems a shame to keep them apart.
Despite that, Escape Plan Bravo goes out on a high note with one of the more interesting choices in TellTale history — one that really feels like it’ll significantly alter how the final episode plays out based on what you do. That being said, with only one episode left it still feels like we’re miles away from the game’s “present” where Rhys and Fiona angrily co-existing in captivity. Let’s just hope TellTale didn’t leave too much ground to cover in the finale.
Perhaps the highest praise I can offer Tales from the Borderlands is that, even as a huge fan of the Game of Thrones universe, TellTale’s adventure in Westeros is officially the “other” series right now. Escape Plan Bravo adds another layer of awesome in a world I want to spend more time in. Can we get a Season 2 announcement, please? Or a Loader Bot/Gortys spinoff!?