By Marty Mulrooney
Catch A Ride is the third episode of Tales From The Borderlands, a five-part episodic video game series from Telltale Games (The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us). Continuing right where the previous episode left off, Episode 3 once again joins Hyperion ‘suit’ Rhys, Pandoran con artist Fiona and their ragtag group of friends (both robotic and human) as they look for another piece of the puzzle in their quest for Vault key ownership.
After the incredible opening credits of the first two Tales From The Borderlands episodes, Episode 3 continues the trend not with an action-heavy sequence, but with a montage of our motley crew – now joined by the almost impossibly cute robot Gortys and Athena, Vault Hunter – driving along to the sound of Pieces Of The People We Love by The Rapture. It’s another beautifully directed introduction that uses small moments to emphasise the complicated interconnecting relationships within the group. Time passes, sun becomes snow and day becomes night, but they stick together – despite their differences – on the same path.
Of course, said path is defined by each individual player – even if the narrative will inevitably snap back into place like an elastic band. Player choice has its limitations (here, and in every Telltale Games series of the same or similar design released to date) but it doesn’t really matter when the stories being told are so endearing, human and involving. It isn’t about making decisions that will change every little facet of the world you’re experiencing – it’s about stamping your personality on the characters and the situations they must face.
Now we’re at the midway point of the series, the story continues to evolve without dragging. Before long, our anti-heroes find themselves lost in the mysterious jungle of an Atlas terraforming facility. It’s a location that’s both beautiful and deadly in equal measure, especially with ruthless criminal ‘Queenpin’ Vallory and her cronies in hot pursuit. Moments of action and danger mix with comedic elements – and increasingly often, moments of sadness – in a seemingly effortless and totally organic way.
It’s hard to say much more without giving too much away, especially when the story is tailored to such a degree for each individual player holding a gamepad (or indeed, using their keyboard and mouse). Rest assured, if you enjoyed the previous two episodes as much as this reviewer, Catch A Ride won’t disappoint you – it maintains the high standards previously set and continues to delight and entertain as it blazes forward. It’s manic, crazy and has a mad glint in its eye, but you never get the impression things are simply being made up as they go along.
The performances from Rhys (Troy Baker), Vaughn (Chris Hardwick), Fiona (Laura Bailey) and Sasha (Erin Yvette) keep getting better and better, so it’s wonderful to see (hear?) them joined by Lydia Mackay as Athena and Ashley Johnson (re-joining her The Last Of Us acting partner Troy Baker) as Gortys. Both new voice actors give everything they’ve got to their roles and likewise the whole cast make sure their lines – whatever the situation – sound 100% authentic at all times.
Tales From The Borderlands: Episode 3 – Catch A Ride is another consistently excellent instalment in a series that may well go on to be remembered as one of Telltale Games’ very best. The breakneck pace is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, there’s only one serious criticism to make – with each subsequent episode being so enjoyable, waiting for the next becomes even more excruciating. Episode 4 has a lot to live up to, but it’s certainly up to the task. Catch A Ride – you won’t regret it.
9 OUT OF 10