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Tales from the Borderlands: Atlas Mugged – Review

Tales from the Borderlands: Atlas Mugged – Review

With a cliffhanger ending that ranks among Telltale’s best, episode three can’t come soon enough.


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Genre: Point-and-Click Adventure
Release date: March 17, 2015

When I first heard that Telltale Games was working on a Borderlands adventure game, I must admit that I was skeptical. Taking a frenetic, over-the-top first person shooter and turning it into a story-driven adventure game is a tall order. Luckily, Telltale was more than up for the challenge, as Tales from the Borderlands: Zer0 Sum is a hilarious and excellent addition to Telltale’s growing catalog of hits. It radiates Borderlands humor with snappy writing and excellent characters, all the while telling a story that ranks among Telltale’s best.

Now, with the second episode Atlas Mugged, Telltale has proven that it wasn’t a fluke. Atlas Mugged is a great addition to the story of Rhys and Fiona, one that builds on the humor of the first while introducing more characters, more shenanigans, and more laugh-out-loud moments.


Picking up where Zer0 Sum leaves off, Atlas Mugged opens with the discovery of the Gortys project which could potentially lead our heroes to one of Pandora’s mythical Vaults – as long as they survive the journey, that is. Right off the bat Atlas Mugged leads with a comical introductory scene involving Fiona attempting to trick a retinal scanner. It’s gross, crass, and funny in a way that only Borderlands can be, and it sets the stage for the rest of the episode. I’m not going to talk about the story too much as it’s too funny to spoil, but Rhys and Fiona’s adventures lead them across Pandora, finally culminating in a cliffhanger ending with stakes higher than I thought possible. The wait for Episode Three is going to be far too long.

Rhys’ story in Atlas Mugged is chock full of humor and sass. The return of Vasquez makes for some great laughs, and the addition of Handsome Jack makes for some excellent moments. A few times during the episode, Jack pokes fun at Rhys’ penchant for finding trouble, and one can’t help but chuckle watching Rhys’ reactions to a character that only he can see.

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Fiona’s story is a bit more reserved as she and Sasha are dealing with a recent betrayal. These are the moments when Telltale’s writers shine, and the humor takes a bit of a backseat to character development. That’s not to say that there isn’t humor involved, but it’s less prevalent as the two sisters try to figure out what to do. However, Fiona and Sasha do have a run-in with fan favorite Borderlands character Scooter, and he manages to liven up the situation with ease.


Gameplay in Atlas Mugged is unchanged from the first episode. All of Telltale’s games have a familiar control scheme, and Tales from the Borderlands is no different. Players engage in choice-driven dialogue, perform quick time events, explore environments, and grab a lot of things flying through the air. While the last example may sound a bit odd, there were multiple moments in the opening sequence where I had to move my cursor over an object as it was flying in midair in order to catch it. Not surprisingly, Telltale used its sense of whimsy to good effect, and turned this segment into a joke later on in the episode.

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Unlike Telltale’s other games, there are virtually no puzzles to solve on Pandora. In Atlas Mugged, there is only one puzzle in the game I remember, and to be frank, it was more of an exercise in trial-and-error than a puzzle. Rather than playing like a traditional adventure game, Atlas Mugged plays like an interactive novel where satisfaction comes from experiencing the wacky story and choices the characters make. However, Tales from the Borderlands knows exactly what kind of game it is, and it’s better for it.

While puzzles are scarce, the action in Atlas Mugged is top-notch, and is some of the best in any of Telltale’s games. From a frenetic chase involving moonshots and a Rakk Hive to a dramatic motorcycle escape from bounty hunters, Atlas Mugged scores in the action department in a big way. The gameplay is easy enough that getting through action sequences isn’t difficult, yet the speed at which they happen makes you feel incredible when you successfully navigate one.

I would be remiss not to mention how amazing the title sequences from both Tales from the Borderlands episodes have been to watch. After playing Zer0 Sum, I actually went out and bought the song used for the title sequence, and I can easily see myself doing the same for Atlas Mugged. Whoever Telltale put in charge of picking the licensed music is a rock star. They’ve hit it out of the park so far.


Clocking in at about 90 minutes, Tales from the Borderlands: Atlas Mugged is shorter than Zer0 Sum by about an hour, but the quality has not diminished in the least. Telltale is proving itself to be a master of storytelling, and Tales from the Borderlands proves that it can handle humor with as deft a hand as it does drama. With a cliffhanger ending that ranks among Telltale’s best, Episode Three can’t come soon enough

Grade: A-
Hilarious story
Bizarre, humorous characters
+ Excellent action sequences
+ Scooter!
– Few references for non-Borderlands players

System Requirements

Microsoft® Windows® XP Service Pack 3
Processor: Core 2 Duo 2 GHz or equivalent
Memory: 3 GB RAM
Graphics: ATI or NVIDIA card w/512 MB RAM
Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
Sound Card: Direct X 9.0c sound device
Additional Notes: Not Recommended for Intel integrated graphics


OS: Snow Leopard 10.6.X 
Processor: 2.3 GHz Intel
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: 512 NVIDIA or ATI graphics card
Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
Additional Notes: Not recommended for Intel integrated graphics or Mac Minis or early-generation MacBook

Kyle Brown

Kyle Brown

Kyle enjoys all things games. From video games to pen and paper games, his interests span the mecca of gaming. When he isn't playing games, he can often be found making them. Kyle is currently in the Game Development specialization at Michigan State University, and he hopes to turn it into a career in the games industry. Â Kyle's favorite adventure games are The Walking Dead Season 1, Danganronpa, Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward, Tales from the Borderlands, and Machinarium. His gaming interests aren't focused exclusively on adventure games, however. Some of his favorite non-adventure games are Final Fantasy VI, VII, and XII, Mass Effect, Dark Souls, Shadow of the Colossus, The Last of Us, and The Unfinished Swan. Â When not gaming, Kyle loves to watch movies and read in his spare time. His favorite movie is currently not known, as he cannot pick from his growing list of favorites. His favorite book is Ender's Game, with Ready Player One as a close second. Kyle is currently trying to bring back the word 'radical', and his friends wish that he would stop.

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