It’s been 117 days since Tales from the Borderlands’ debut back in November. Topping what the team over at Telltale did with Zero Sum isn’t a walk in the park, but Atlas Mugged is just as quick to charm with its hilarious back-and-forth banter and wistful characters. The credits role long before any player in for the ride would want, yet very little time is wasted, as what makes Borderlands’ world so intriguing is capitalized on around every bend.
Atlas Mugged is full of life. Highlighting the cast of characters we came to love last time around, with the same caliber of humor, getting in the swing of things was fast and fluid. We start out right where the gang left off. Rhys, along with the rest of the crew, have just uncovered an Atlas bunker filled with goods likely not meant for the public’s viewing. Atlas Mugged doesn’t waste any time rehashing what the previous episode accomplished, rather takes the formula that worked so well and runs with it. It wasn’t five minutes in before I was keeled over from laughter. Not a single joke fell flat and they weren’t simply there to make the player laugh either; each accomplished meaningful character development. Much is upped in the writing department, from a narrative perspective, as characters are brought closer together and the childish humor stands for something more than just surface amusement.Following the fallout of the first episode, our leading heroes, Rhys and Fiona, are doing a sufficient job stacking up what seems to be an ever-growing list of enemies. Starting off the episode dodging moon shots to an impeccably choreographed opening sequence, to then jumping from rooftops to avoid bounty hunters hungry for a hefty bonus, Atlas Mugged is exhilarating from start to finish. Over the course of the 90 minute runtime, our four main protagonists are split up for a large portion of it, to then be reunited for a terrific finale. It’s during this allotment of separation that Rhys, Vaughn, Fiona, and Sasha are humanized and ultimately brought closer together. We are given insight into Rhys and Vaughn’s relationship, along with Fiona and Sasha’s, all of which could come off differently, depending on how you choose to play. Yet, no matter how you choose to go about your own personal approach, these characters have deep and believable bonds, which are only made stronger by knowing a little bit more about each of them.
Handsome Jack makes quite the appearance as a digital ghost only visible by Rhys. Witnessing Rhys’s interactions with Jack, while contributing to real life interplay, made for some gut-busting situations. Jack’s role in Atlas Mugged servers a major plot point and his charismatic nature feels organic. Never once did his popping-in feel forced or unnecessary, for his presence is one of the greatest components episode two parades.Borderlands’ world is brimming with unbeatable personality, which is perfectly capitalized on by Telltale’s presentation with Tales’. Solid voice acting across the board helped the vast cast of character’s back-and-forth banter feel dynamic. It’s a joyride from ground zero and is topped with a cherry due to a fantastic finale that will leave players clamoring for more.
Summary: Although Atlas Mugged suffers a few brief lulls due to non-imperative environmental exploration and irrelevance of currency exchanges, it’s a comedic blast from one high-octane scene to the next. Atlas Mugged keeps everything on track with irresistible energy and only promises more exceptional enjoyment for the three episodes to come.
Connect with me on Twitter and let me know your thoughts on Atlas Mugged. Find me @BraxHaugen.