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Games : Recommended
Release Date: November 26th, 2014 Movie Release Year: 2014

Tales from the Borderlands: Zer0 Sum

Overview -

'Zer0 Sum' is the first episode in the 'Tales from the Borderlands' series from Telltale Games. 'Borderlands' is typically a first-person shooter franchise, but the 'Tales' spin-off is a story-based adventure game in the vein of Telltale’s other titles, like 'The Walking Dead' and 'The Wolf Among Us'. It was made in consultation with franchise developer Gearbox and their publisher 2K Games.

The 'Borderlands' games take place sometime in the future on the alien planet of Pandora. Pandora is a desolate wasteland filled with aggressive wildlife, mysterious alien sentinels, tribes of psychopathic marauders, and cutthroat corporations. The player character is usually a deadly mercenary in search of a mythical Vault, which is filled with valuable goodies. In 'Tales from the Borderlands', the player controls two grifters: Rhys, a cybernetic Hyperion employee, and Fiona, an unabashed con artist.

Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Release Date:
November 26th, 2014

Video Review


'Zer0 Sum' has a simple, hand-drawn animation style without a lot of moving parts. Animations and facial expressions are inconsistent - sometimes they look decent, and sometimes they look unnatural. The textures are spartan, giving some backgrounds a drab look, but at other times allowing for crisp contrast. I was hoping that Telltale, working with a new franchise, would be able to improve the performance of 'Tales from the Borderlands'. Instead, the episode is filled with jarring staggers and stalls that can quickly ruin the mood, and the load times aren’t helping either.

Audio Review


The voice work is superb and features returning actors when appropriate, and also some new ones, including a delightfully sleazy performance from Patrick Warburton (Puddy from 'Seinfeld'). The soundtrack for this episode is focused mostly on dubstep, as that is the hallmark of one of the villains. The sound effects are very quiet, especially during action scenes, but are reminiscent of the main series. There are audio skips, but these are less intrusive than the ones to be found in the video.

Final Thoughts

Telltale has demonstrated that their knack for writing and developing characters is as solid as ever, even with the wacky 'Borderlands' license. With 'Zer0 Sum,' the first episode of 'Tales from the Borderlands,' Telltale got the story heavy take on the colorful world humming. The characters and script are smart and snappy, and elicited a chuckle from me more than a few times through the brief playthrough. If they can lock down the bugs cropping up in the technical performance, this would be about as good as it gets for an adventure game.