A masterful finale for Telltale’s best series

Reviewed on PS4

One of the most difficult parts of writing a quality narrative is finding the means to close it properly. It is particularly essential in Telltale’s episodic, storytelling style of creating games. Whereas others game like it sometimes falter while leaving an opening for new seasons, The Vault of the Traveler provides one of the most satisfying endings to a video game I’ve ever played. Tales from the Borderlands is far and away Telltale Games best series to date.


The previous episode, Escape Plan Bravo, left our gang, particularly Rhys, with quite a cliffhanger. Handsome Jack successfully manipulated the player, causing him to be uploaded to Helios’ computers. The remaining threads left over from last episode are taken care of in the first portion of the episode. The gang must come face to face with Yvette’s betrayal as well as plot a way to safely get the vault key back to Pandora. Rhys in particular is faced with one of the most difficult, and surprisingly profound moment in perhaps the Borderlands franchise. The series continues to find ways to weave heartfelt yet philosophical moments into the game’s otherwise zany and hilarious narrative. Comparing where the series is to its beginnings with Zer0 Sum, a largely humorous episode that led me to believe my decisions wouldn’t be as weighty, to where it is now is a testament to the superb writing.

Following the obvious plot points requiring resolution, The Vault of the Traveler continued to bring sequences and story beats that I wasn’t even aware I needed. Carrying the weight of the discussions and decisions with Rhys early on affected my attitude for the rest of the experience. Unlike another series which will not be named, I was confronted with these thoughts by way of revisiting characters from previous episodes in one hectic final chapter. Even the most minute decision I made (withheld for the sake of preventing spoilers) came back around in the most unexpected moment, and I felt satisfied and rewarded for the choice that I made.


Telltale does not settle for an excellent narrative only. Where their past games have struggled to produce quality, exciting action moments, episode five brings expertly crafted, tension-filled moments that prove their growth as a developer. One sequence in particular provided the most yell-out-loud sequence in a game that I’ve experienced in ages. Combining the insane action of every 90’s cartoon you’ve ever seen with Borderlands insane style leads to a thrilling finale that I never knew I could want or need. And it did so in a way that only the Borderlands universe can, by throwing all of those troublesome rules that other games must follow by the wayside. Oddly enough, these startling tone shifts actually make those touchy moments even more emotional, and the ridiculous ones all the more chuckleworthy.

Tales from the Borderlands finishes by doing everything required of a quality narrative. Each and every plot point that the writers to decide to open was finished in a very satisfactory way by the episode’s end. Sasha, August, Vallory, Gortys, Loader Bot, and even other minor characters get their chance to shine through one last time. Whereas episode four was guilty for having periods of too much slow-down, episode five is a nonstop thrill ride that offers no time for breathing until the credits are already rolling.


The Vault of the Traveler proves there is a way to successfully end a journey without sacrificing key elements. It provides not only a satisfying end the entire cast, but completely leaves Pandora open to future adventures. If the series has just one fault, it is that it ended so well that it’s painful to say goodbye to Rhys and Fiona. The main characters became such well-developed catalysts that all of the moments they shared and characters they touched burrowed themselves into our hearts. A series not afraid to be ludicrous and heartwrenching, Tales from the Borderlands is an example of masterful storytelling in video games, and we cannot wait for the next adventure.

Tales from the Borderlands Episode Five: The Vault of the Traveler Review
Immensely satisfying conclusionTelltale achieves superb action sequences like never beforeSurprisingly profound, philosophical momentsGives a proper end to all story threads and characters
The wait for season two (if there is one)
Reader Rating 1 Vote


“Catch a Ride!!!”

Reviewed on PS4

*This review may contain spoilers for the series

Telltale Games is largely known for its episodic renditions of heavy content such as The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us. It was a huge risk to take on a franchise like Borderlands and adapt it to their game style. The result for the prior three episodes was an action-packed misadventure with hilarity that does Gearbox justice. Escape Plan Bravo dares to give the series much more than clever jokes – it packs an incredible amount of heart that I didn’t think the citizens of Pandora could muster. However, Telltale unfortunately packs a lot of the episode’s punch early on and doesn’t always satisfy the rest of the episode in an equal manner.

The previous episode left our heroes at the mercy of Vallory and her vault hunters. Rhys, Fiona, Sasha, and Gortys are placed with the task of obtaining the beacon for the Vault of the Traveller. With the help of Handsome Jack, still living in Rhys’s systems, a good old-fashioned heist that doesn’t pan out as well as one would hope is what takes place. The episode will hook you in from the get-go, as our beloved characters, with the help of good old Scooter, assemble their ship to space and blast off toward Helios.

tales from the borderlands episode 4: escape plan bravo-1

Take care of those close to you while you still can.

One particular feature worth mentioning is the masterful intro cinematics that Telltale delivers in every entry to this series. Varying in style, each musical accompaniment sets the tone for the overall mood of the episode. Escape Plan Bravo features a powerful track titled “To the Top” by Twin Shadow. I say in nearly every review that soundtracks can elevate a game to something special. I knew I was getting something different the minute the rocket elevated and the first notes struck.

What follows in space is one of the most heartfelt moments I’ve seen in a Telltale game since The Walking Dead season one, episode five. Without giving spoilers, I can only say that pulling off daring plans doesn’t always end happily for those we care about. And sometimes, we only realize how much we care for certain individuals once it is too late. Yes, a Borderlands game successfully brought a tear to my eye, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Unfortunately, after a series of major events, the episode comes to a frustratingly slow pace. It’s understandable that a successful infiltration requires subtlety as opposed to frantic action, but it ultimately leads to some silly hijinks that aren’t always exciting. It acts as a point of slowdown as compared to last episode’s frantic combat moments. Players would like to see more of Sasha or Gortys, but the majority of the episode focuses almost entirely on Rhys, Fiona, and Jack.

tales from the borderlands episode 4: escape plan bravo-2

Rhys and Fiona are the only stars of this episode.

That being said, the episode packs one of the most hilarious and creative scenes ever concocted for the Borderlands universe. A rather insane imaginary shoot-out using fingers takes place between Rhys and Hyperion accountants. Does Rhys survive this oh-so dangerous scenario? You’ll have to play to find out. Escape Plan Bravo even goes as far to give you potential reasons that Handsome Jack may have a heart after all. Can you trust a madman? These are the things you’ll need to decide for yourself.

Overall, Escape Plan Bravo packed some of the highest points in the series, but also some of the weakest instances of gameplay. It proudly demonstrates the range of emotion that the world can offer, and is an example of strong character development within the short episode format. The series leaves us off with a cliffhanger, causing us to wonder how on Pandora Rhys and Fiona will be able to finally free themselves of Hyperion grasp. Tales From the Borderlands continues to be one of Telltale’s greatest achievements.

Tales From the Borderlands Episode 4: Escape Plan Bravo Review
Vast emotional rangeContinuance of excellent dialogue and humorMood-setting soundtrack
Heist had hit or miss momentsSome characters are set aside
Reader Rating 0 Votes