Tales from the Borderlands finale dealt a series of emotional highpoints, huge choices, and humorous moments to the player, all while wrapping things up nicely for the series.
Perhaps most refreshing was the fact that right from the opening seconds, the game presented high stakes for all characters involved. Until the credits rolled, I was always scared that a single misstep could result in a character being killed off or taken out.
That tension and increased dramatic heft made every single moment with every character that much more important. It always felt like it could be the end of the road, for any person involved. As the episode hurtled me towards its conclusion, and to be clear the episode covers a ton of ground in a short time, I was left floored by seemingly every scene as they unfolded before me. This culminated in the way Tales handled the Rhys and Handsome Jack storyline. Surprisingly occurring in the middle of the episode, the final confrontation was as emotionally raw a fight as anything Tell Tale has ever put on screen.
Handsome Jack and Rhys are each airing all of their grievances, fears, and hopes, both about each other and the larger world. It is an incredible scene to watch go down, particularly as they scream and talk in the literal ruins of everything they have dedicated their lives too.
The fact that such a powerful and emotional scene only occurs in the middle of the episode, should be a testament to just how much The Vault of the Traveler is seeking to cover in its two hours. Yet, it should be clear that the episode handles nearly all of it well. Even when it loses some of its relentless momentum and steam, during the buildup to the final act of the episode, it never lets up with the surprises and patented Borderlands humor.
The Vault of the Traveler, is a powerhouse sendoff to the Tales series. Delivering unquestionably the series emotional highpoints and some of the most well-done bits of humor, the episode wrapped up all of the season's storylines in its fact-paced race to the end. Its final scene where players alternate between Fiona and Rhys, is one of the most cinematic and cathartic Tell Tale has ever done, as the two cover what has happened, how far they have come, and their plans and hopes for the future, all with you determining how the conversation unfolds. The Vault of the Traveler isn't perfect, yet neither was Tales from the Borderlands and somehow its imperfections made everything else around them better. While not what I expected, the finale rings as perhaps the most true and real conclusion to the world and spirit of Borderlands and serves as a damn good finale to the tale of a con-women and a middle manager.