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Tales from the Borderlands Episode 3: To Catch a Ride Review

To Catch a Ride is Tell Tale at its best.  Crafting a smart, very funny, and most of all emotional and joyful story, that finally showed just how great this series can be.

In many ways my experience with Tales from the Borderlands, has been the story of my slow acceptance of its two main characters.  In the opener I thought they had promise but wasn't in love with either one.  In the series second episode, I more readily got on board with who Rhys and Fiona were and began to grow to them, but its in To Catch a Ride that I truly fell for these two characters.  

Giving players two main protagonists opens the door to a number of different possibilities, but what has made me particularly thrilled about this is the way that Tell Tale has used it to distort my expectations of where this story could go.  One of my favorite aspects of the entire season is Rhys dynamic with Sasha.  This is something that I referenced back in the very first episode, when I made mention of the fact that Rhys is at his most compelling when the two were together.  Everytime they appear together sparks just fly and transporting them to a Biodome, easily the most breathtaking and beautiful location in Tales so far, or really any Tell Tale game, proved a wonderful setting for their relationship to continue to progress.

The way that the game has evolved and grown these two characters together is remarkable, I mean lets not forget that Sasha tried to push Rhys out a moving car in the first episode.  There's just something to love about Rhys and Sasha, its hard to describe, but a joy to experience.  Their moments walking through a stunning, colorful, plant-filled environment together, just talking, ranks among the very best moments of the entire series.  There's something there, both seem to know that and the way they go about it, in fits and starts and awkward yet touching moments is among the most real and lovely I've seen in games, and also the funniest.

Even better is the fact To Catch a Ride, continues Tales from the Borderlands remarkable success with supporting characters.  Every new character introduced has stand-out moments and funny lines, yet surely we can all  agree that Gortys is among the best characters Tell Tale has ever created.  Her introduction and reveal in the opening of the episode, ranks among the hardest times I've ever laughed playing games.  Her naive, sweet, and childlike excitement all while mirrored against the dark, violent world of Pandora only makes her that much more special.  Add to that Gortys and Loader Bots instant connection and sibling like bond and Tales has delivered a joyous new addition to the cast of heroes and misfits.

To Catch a Ride, for better or worse, mostly better, is the episode that bridges the gap between the series beginnings and our ultimate destination.  As it wove its fascinating tale, every aspect of Tales from the Borderlands was made stronger.  These middle point tales are always hard to nail for any series, yet when done right they can rank among the best of their stories.  Compelling, captivating, far more funny it has any right to be, Episode 3 dealt a decisive victory for the series, wapping up story-lines from the first two episodes, while also introducing promising glimpses into what lays ahead.  All in all it wasn't a bad days work for this tale of con men, middle managers, and bounty hunter wannabes.  

Tales from the Borderlands Episode 4: Escape Plan Bravo

Weekly Wrap-Up July 10th, 2016