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Posts tagged “tales from the borderlands

Mask of Mayhem – Borderlands Trailer Deep-Dive

Well I was going to review the Rick and Morty D&D crossover comic today… even asked for it back off the guy who borrowed it. Sorry Alan, blame 2k and Gearbox for dropping a bombshell on one of the other things I go nuts for:

Let’s get into this.

We’re opening on guns, gears and vault symbols, and a scene of pschyos worshipping at the feet of an angel with excessively large lapels. Judging by the mirrored haircuts, I’m thinking brother-sister combo with an option on Siren number 5 of 6 as the sister. It’d be nice to take on an evil(er) Siren who gets to do more than die a tentacle-y death before doing much more than laying down threats. That’s a nice looking rifle over that guy’s shoulder too, I’m guessing Dahl.

Blink and you’ll miss it, looks like a mask of Handsome Jack over the door to the temple scene there. We know Jack had some clones, a personality uploaded into cloud storage, and one hell of a personality cult, I suppose it’s possible we’re seeing a continuation of his saga.

Closeup of our angel’s face (sick chokers lady) with a CL4P-TP unit fighting a skag, pan around over the brother’s shoulder with even bigger guns pointing at us, and we move on to someone who makes me think… possible vault hunter? Maybe just your average semi-heroic NPC, he has the bearing of someone heroic if a little ignoble what with the goatee and eyepatch. Over his shoulder is Loader Bot from Tales from the Borderlands! At least it’d better be. A cyborg cyclops in a heavy coat carrying some heavy firepower, I’d be shocked and heartbroken if he’s not one of our next vault hunters, but I’m not willing to point to the first guy and say “Rhys” just yet… nor am I entirely convinced that face number 3 is Fiona or face 4 Sasha HOWEVER face 4 does look a lot like the mysterious lady from that tech demo we saw a while back:

That tech demo, “pay no attention to the character, she is just an asset”. Round helmet with an aerial on the right hand side, high pauldron on the left, same build and bearing. Honestly at the time I thought this would be Fiona, the round military helmet replacing the round bowler hat. Now we see a face, I dunno, eyes and chin seem wrong, and face 3 the eyebrow scar is on the wrong side and in the wrong place. Anyway, a team of four mismatched people riding a vehicle shooting their way through a bunch of rakks seem pretty vault-hunterish to me.

Next scene is brick, Mordecai and Tiny Tina (sporting some badass bunny ears, go gurl!) high fiving, not easy to do three-ways, but hey. I do believe Brick is now wearing a bandana like Roland’s, and Mordecai definitely has a new feather. Tina appears to be older, spikier, and hopefully still played by Ashly Burch.

Halfway through!

Some quickfire glimpses, a vault cult psycho, Sir Hammerlock, some dude in a cape and underpants standing on a pile of corpses, Scooter’s sister Ellie with a drill-hand, and a fully winged Lilith standing on a giant Crimson Lance helmet, all as we zip through a pile of assorted tech, engine parts, gun parts, spiky bits, the works. Glimpses of redesigns in their and a little hint as to how Pandora has developed as a world in general.

Final shot, take notice of the girl in the monowheel, pretty sure she’s face 3 in the Vault Hunter line-up, but there’s a couple of little details you might miss here too, a shot of Moxxxi’s new bar, some kind of assassin looking type riding the back of a rakk, and a skaag, which means little but I still like them. The assassin’s hood intrigues me though, because as we get the long pan-out to that psycho-mask, there are other mini-tableaus dotted around of other hooded people.

There’s a figure off on the left that could be lady Hammerlock, a li’l psycho with no mask stood in front of some kind of hunched robot, a couple of our vault hunters either side of Clap-Trap, Marcus Kincaid, faces familiar and unfamiliar, scenes of violence and chaos, figures too indistinct to full make out amidst a mass of gun barrels and machine parts, but there’s some details in there that are most interesting indeed.

An Atlas logo, some Crimson Lance helmets, a possible return of Atlas under new CEO Rhys from “Tales”. I notice as well that the Maliwan “M” is pretty distinct among the other details. Maliwan haven’t been all that prominent thusfar, but it makes one wonder. And atop it all once again, this woman, this dramatic woman with dramatic hair and dramatic collar…

Tomorrow… today for you future people, during PAX East, and during GeekOut Shrewsbury, more details will be released, a perfect fit with the Vidya Games theme I’ve got going on. I will unapologetically being watching every shred of news that comes out of this new teaser, this long awaited sequel. I like riding the hype-train, and I have got my tickets ready.

I’ll do the comic review for Tuesday then I guess.


Top 10 – Keys

GeekOut Top 10s

This week there’s no need to hold the door, as we have the very key to unlock it! We all know that key’s take many different forms, from cards, to the typical metallic key shape that we’re used to. So long as these items adhere to a standard look, or are used to open locks of some description, then they are up for consideration.

Now get ready to unlock your mind, as we take a look inside our Top 10 Keys list. (more…)

Playing Chaotic Neutral

Skipping along the chart for a moment, the True Alignment is too big for a single article, so I’ll jump to the second biggest alignment to deal with because it’s often done so badly! It’s almost a stereotype that the words Chaotic Neutral might as well read “Doesn’t know how to play”.

The problem tends to be that inexperienced players understand that the alignment is for those who are in it for themselves and damn the consequences, but play the alignment to some comical exaggeration, like a bizarre and psychotic prankster without direction or purpose. A bad CN player is a Tazmanian Devil let off the chain, a destructive force that sews chaos for chaos’ sake, playing the alignment instead of applying it to a character. (more…)

Freedom of Choice

Last week I discussed how an excess of choice can bog down a game, force players into disappointing situations and take too long reaching them in the process.

Choice is not the enemy of fun, quite the reverse. Being led by the nose down a long and bland railroad is just as bad as standing in the middle of a wide open plane being told to get going. Choices, when done right, empower the player, make them feel as though they are important to the world, and to give them greater control over how they choose to play.

Here’s some games that got it right, at least in my opinion…

The Witcher

Much like Borderlands: The Presequel, The Witcher suffers with high quest density which has made it a little hard for me to enjoy it quite as much as everyone else. Unlike B:tPS, the story-quests offer cement choices that alter narrative points as you go.


Now I base this on my limited playtime of the first game, but I do my research, and it doesn’t take long before your descisions in The Witcher start to have their impact. Where you make your stand at Kaer Morhen leaves elsewhere under-manned, meaning that one of your enemies is free to reappear elsewhere later; your attitude toward the rebel group Scoia’tael in the opening chapter changes the way they behave, their strength, and numbers.

Even better, the choices are far reaching, and echo throughout the game, making them feel more impactful. They span games in the same way that a choice might in Mass Effect (but I haven’t even started on Mass Effect so I shan’t go into it) so that your choices give you the sense that the way you guide Geralt changes the whole world. It’s just good design, it makes for a far more powerful narrative, and makes all of those sidequests feel less wasteful.


The very format of the typical Telltale format is entirely based on choice. More often than not your only interactions are choosing what you say, indeed whether or not to say anything, and more often than not those sections in which you are not in discussion then there are no choices to make, actions to survive. By the end of the Walking Dead you have changed the life of the little girl Clem; your every conversation in Borderlands changes your party roster in the final fight; who knows how the Batman series will end.


Many times those choices are ultimately pointless, perhaps taking a slightly meandering path to reach the same destination, changes made only to a few stops along the way, but even if your choices have no impact whatsoever, there’s a little feature that leaves you with the illusion of influence:

“Clementine will remember that.”

Those words seem to echo with every character expression, given that Telltale’s gameplay is it’s narrative a character’s reaction to your descisions is often your win/lose scenario. It’s pretty clear when you’ve hurt a friends’ feelings, and sometimes no decision feels like the right one. Choice as gameplay is an interesting descision but it’s a format that’s working for them.


Slightly different to the other two, Shadowrun is better example of agency, the power of the player. In its’ efforts to simulate a real pen and paper RPG, you have a full battery of choices regarding your character’s creation and style of play. It has little to no impact on story but gives you a wider scope on how you engage, especially when taking into account choice of other party members. Do you build for a high-damage gang of mages? Keep the balance of tank/control/damage? It’s a lot more nuanced than your average strategy game where you have clear roles, respond directly to your situation.


You have various approaches to solving puzzles, hacking, deducing, talking or just plain killing your way through obstacles. Conversations yield different information and alter NPC opinions of you depending how you approach them, and your choice of quests and who to take on those quests can have little impacts on the overall narrative, not a lot, but enough to feel as though you have some kind of power in the world.

While it can’t quite capture the illusion of limitless options that you have at the table, it offers you diversity in a way that similar games – like your isometric hack-n-slash or more action-focused RPGs – simply can’t, and it’s a radical departure from the decision-focused game styles listed above. Your choice is in your approach, not so much your outcome, and that’s where replay value comes from.

Power and freedom stem from the ability to make choices, and while in our modern society we may find ourselves dizzied by the multitude of choices we have, within a well made game we have choices that give us agency. A good game should make us feel important, make us the hero or villain that can change everything with one choice.

Although a really interesting game would be one that shows us how little our choices really mean…

The Week In Geek – 10/11/14

Another slow week for nerd-news (unless we’ve missed something), but here’s our regular rundown of the stories that caught our attention this week. Anything we missed? Let us know in the comments down below.

The Week In Geek