Remember Me Dev Working on New PS4, Xbox One RPG

Remember Me developer Dotnod is working on a new role-playing game or action role-playing game for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, according to a recent job posting.

A post to the developer’s website links to a French jobs site, where Dotnod says it’s looking for an experienced game/level designer with a strong RPG/ARPG background to work on a new project for the consoles.

This is a separate project Life is Strange, which earlier this year Dotnod announced Square Enix will publish. Coming to Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, and PC, Life is Strange will be released digitally using an episodic model. Square Enix said that every new chapter will build and evolve on the choices you made in the last episode.

GameSpot’s review gave Remember Me a 7/10 in, finding that it had fun, fluid combat, constricted level design, and some camera issues. GameSpot’s score also matches Remember Me’s Metacritic average score, though a number of other reviews were less favorable.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

For all of GameSpot’s news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

With more than $64.8 million in funding from more than 665,600 backers, Star Citizen, which is the most crowdfunded project of any kind in history, is closing in on $65 million quickly. For the next stretch goal, Roberts said that developer Cloud Imperium Games is investigating a major feature. "Suffice it to say, we’ve heard a lot of your feedback about modular ships and we want to expand our plan for how to do them," he said.

For more on Star Citizen and Roberts himself, check out part one and part two of GameSpot's interview with the legendary designer.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

For all of GameSpot's news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Star Citizen Adds Pets as It Nears $65 Million in Funding

Space sim Star Citizen will add traditional and alien pets to the game, as promised by its $64 million stretch goal, which it reached just days after hitting the $63 million mark.

“We have repair bots, we have fish… but we haven’t implemented a traditional pet system in Star Citizen yet. At $64 million, that changes,” Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts said. “From Jones the Cat in Alien to the Battlestar Galactica’s Daggit, pets have a place onboard starships… and we want to give you that option in Star Citizen.”

Roberts said players can expect “traditional terrestrial options” (dogs, cats, etc.) and exotic pets dreamt up for the game’s universe.

With more than $64.8 million in funding from more than 665,600 backers, Star Citizen, which is the most crowdfunded project of any kind in history, is closing in on $65 million quickly. For the next stretch goal, Roberts said that developer Cloud Imperium Games is investigating a major feature. “Suffice it to say, we’ve heard a lot of your feedback about modular ships and we want to expand our plan for how to do them,” he said.

For more on Star Citizen and Roberts himself, check out part one and part two of GameSpot’s interview with the legendary designer.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

For all of GameSpot’s news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Nintendo Patents Game Boy Emulator for Phones

Nintendo has filed a patent for a software emulator that could bring its Game Boy games to phones and other devices.

The patent (via NeoGAF), which was filed in June, describes emulating Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance Games on cell phones, as well as seat-back displays of the type you see on some airplanes and trains.

However, the patent doesn’t mean Nintendo plans on actually bringing its games to phones and other platforms. It’s an updated version of an older patent, which is probably meant to just secure the option for the company.

Nintendo has explained multiple times that it’s not bringing its games to mobile devices anytime soon, and earlier this month, it touted the sales of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate as proof that dedicated handheld gaming devices are here to stay.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

For all of GameSpot’s news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Gaming Deals: Shadow of Mordor for $20 and More

The best new deal of the day is from Amazon, which is offering the PC version of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor for $20.

Steam’s Exploration-themed Fall sale is still going, Microsoft has a huge sale with up to 75 percent of on Xbox One and Xbox 360 games, and Origin is discounting over 200 PC games.

Even Blizzard, which doesn’t discount its games as often, is offering Diablo III for $20, World of Warcraft (including the first four expansions) for $5, and more.

If you’re looking for the best Black Friday deals, check out our roundup of offers in the US and the UK.

Below you’ll find today’s best deals divided by platform:

PlayStation 4

Sony’s Black Friday PSN Flash Sale has InFamous Second Son for $20, Transistor for $8, and more.

Sony is discounting co-op games like Rayman Legends, Far Cry 3, and many others by as much as 80 percent in its PlayStation Store co-op sale. Full details on this promo are available here.

Xbox One

Amazon has the Xbox One Assassin’s Creed Unity Bundle for $330

Microsoft has a huge sale with up to 75 percent off on Xbox One and Xbox 360 games as well as hardware bundles and accessories. Find our full breakdown of what’s available here.

This week’s Deals with Gold also includes more games and add-ons than usual, with 40 percent off Diablo III Ultimate Evil Edition, 30 percent off Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, and more. You can find a complete list of discounts here.

PC

Steam’s Exploration-themed Fall sale will last through December 2. Here are some highlights available for the next 48 hours:

Pay what you want for the Humble Sega Bundle which includes games like NiGHTS Into Dreams, Empire: Total War, and the Dreamcast Collection.

Green Man Gaming’s Black Friday sale has Company of Heroes 2 for $10, and more.

Origin is offering over 200 titles at up to 75 percent off, including the Mass Effect Trilogy for $15, Titanfall for $5, and more. You can check out the entire list on Origin here

Blizzard Entertainment has rolled out its pre-Black Friday deals:

If you don’t mind installing Arc, you can get Torchlight for free.

Wii U

Best Buy is offering a Wii U with Super Smash Bros and Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze for $360.

Toys R Us has a “buy 1 get 40 percent off” deal on Amiibo.

Target is offering a $15 gift card with Super Smash Bros for Wii U.

3DS

Get a Nintendo 3DS XL New Super Super Mario Bros 2 Limited Edition for $150 from Walmart.

Get a 3DS XL plus one of 13 games for $219 or less at Walmart.

Hardware

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

For all of GameSpot’s news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Gaming Deals: Shadow of Mordor for $20 and More

The best new deal of the day is from Amazon, which is offering the PC version of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor for $20.

Steam’s Exploration-themed Fall sale is still going, Microsoft has a huge sale with up to 75 percent of on Xbox One and Xbox 360 games, and Origin is discounting over 200 PC games.

Even Blizzard, which doesn’t discount its games as often, is offering Diablo III for $20, World of Warcraft (including the first four expansions) for $5, and more.

If you’re looking for the best Black Friday deals, check out our roundup of offers in the US and the UK.

Below you’ll find today’s best deals divided by platform:

PlayStation 4

Sony’s Black Friday PSN Flash Sale has InFamous Second Son for $20, Transistor for $8, and more.

Sony is discounting co-op games like Rayman Legends, Far Cry 3, and many others by as much as 80 percent in its PlayStation Store co-op sale. Full details on this promo are available here.

Xbox One

Amazon has the Xbox One Assassin’s Creed Unity Bundle for $330

Microsoft has a huge sale with up to 75 percent off on Xbox One and Xbox 360 games as well as hardware bundles and accessories. Find our full breakdown of what’s available here.

This week’s Deals with Gold also includes more games and add-ons than usual, with 40 percent off Diablo III Ultimate Evil Edition, 30 percent off Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, and more. You can find a complete list of discounts here.

PC

Steam’s Exploration-themed Fall sale will last through December 2. Here are some highlights available for the next 48 hours:

Pay what you want for the Humble Sega Bundle which includes games like NiGHTS Into Dreams, Empire: Total War, and the Dreamcast Collection.

Green Man Gaming’s Black Friday sale has Company of Heroes 2 for $10, and more.

Origin is offering over 200 titles at up to 75 percent off, including the Mass Effect Trilogy for $15, Titanfall for $5, and more. You can check out the entire list on Origin here

Blizzard Entertainment has rolled out its pre-Black Friday deals:

If you don’t mind installing Arc, you can get Torchlight for free.

Wii U

Best Buy is offering a Wii U with Super Smash Bros and Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze for $360.

Toys R Us has a “buy 1 get 40 percent off” deal on Amiibo.

Target is offering a $15 gift card with Super Smash Bros for Wii U.

3DS

Get a Nintendo 3DS XL New Super Super Mario Bros 2 Limited Edition for $150 from Walmart.

Get a 3DS XL plus one of 13 games for $219 or less at Walmart.

Hardware

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

For all of GameSpot’s news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Review

It is 2:00 a.m., my right thumb is sore and my brain is fried, yet I cannot sleep–not just yet. I am staring at two numbers in the millions, one of which is higher than the other. The higher number belongs to a colleague at another publication. By day, we are friends and peers; by night, we participate in a grueling display of one-upsmanship and vain preening, working to best each others’ Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions scores. And I cannot abide by this discrepancy. Clearly, I must prove my superiority.

Geometry Wars 3 is about that endless quest to best friends and strangers. As you work your way through the single-player progression or toy around with the returning modes from Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 and its predecessor, your focus may be on the onscreen fireworks display, but it’s the promise of rising up the leaderboards that compels you. You use the left stick on your controller to move your minimalist vessel across the playing grid; you use the right to shoot a constant stream of projectiles in whatever direction you push. Green diamonds, yellow arrows, purple pinwheels, and all sorts of other geometric structures swarm you from every side, each shape following a particular pattern through space. Your brain and your thumbs are fully engaged with the process of mowing them down to the point that mind and muscle become one. You react to events before you understand them, yet there is a miniscule segment of your gray matter always devoted to the score you hope to reach.

Score-chasing is rarely so elegant. Numerical goals are always visible on screen, and should a level end before you meet your challenge, it’s quick and easy to restart the stage and try again. Yet while the promise of gloating over your friends is primary to Geometry Wars 3’s appeal, that appeal would be diminished were the action itself not so refined. This dual-stick shooter controls like a dream, responding to your nudges and wiggles with exceptional grace. All the while, the soundtrack recalls Jan Hammer and Daft Punk, forcing you ever onward while giving even the early seconds of each level a sense of nervous urgency.

You could have described the awesome Geometry Wars 2 with similar praise, and that game’s best modes are represented once again, all under the guise of “Classic Mode.” Evolved is a time-honored tradition among shooter-lovers and loses little of its chaotic seductiveness. It’s Pacifism that remains the most interesting of the returning styles, however, in that it removes shooting from the Euclidean equation entirely and has you traveling through neon gates that explode when you travel through them, and in the process, take down the alarming number of the pulsing cyan prisms pursuing you. The mode may be called Pacifism, but you aren’t likely to feel very peaceful while you play. Success here means taking dangerous chances, allowing dozens of shapes to encircle you in the hopes of annihilating great numbers of them at once. Or, perhaps, zooming through the cloud of blue detritus that those shapes leave behind when destroyed, and cursing the busy visuals that obscure the perils that lurk behind the proliferating particles.

Good luck on the global leaderboards! Get it? Get it?

Adventure Mode is at the forefront, however, and it is the mode that most deviates from the Geometry Wars formula. For one, it provides structural progression, granting you currency that you then spend on drones (and drone upgrades). Drones accompany you as you flit about the arena, perhaps adding to your firepower, perhaps sniping foes from a distance, perhaps collecting the green geoms that vanquished shapes leave behind. Then there are supers, special abilities that join your arena-clearing bomb, and have you dropping mines, spewing out homing missiles, or placing a highly powerful automatic turret. Adventure Mode’s other deviation is in the levels themselves, which are no longer just flat arenas, but wrap into three-dimensional constructs. Some arenas take the form of globes; others are shaped like peanuts or cylinders. Sometimes, additional idiosyncrasies are mixed in, such as walls that gradually close in on you, or bosses that belch aggressive geometry and chase you around the playing field.

Both diversions change Geometry Wars in fundamental ways. Where the unlock system is concerned, not all players are on level ground when playing a stage. You won’t have the same abilities the first time you play a stage as you might when you return to it to shoot for a higher score. This adjustment inspires you to return once you’ve earned powerful drones–but it also strikes at the heart of the series. One of Geometry Wars 2’s greatest assets was its purity: it was by skill, and skill alone, that you triumphed. There’s less joy in rising to the top of the leaderboards when most of the players lurking under you conquered the level with lesser equipment. I glowed when I saw my name at the top of Adventure Mode’s very first stage, but I didn’t really earn my place at the head of the table. Classic Mode grants you a more accurate picture of your abilities, and though those leaderboards might crush your soul, it’s a great pleasure to claw your way to the top–a pleasure Adventure Mode doesn’t duplicate in spite of its own natural addictiveness.

The soundtrack recalls Jan Hammer and Daft Punk, forcing you ever onward while giving even the early seconds of each level a sense of nervous urgency.

The wraparound levels are home to some creative challenges. In many cases, the arrangement and order of the shapes that spawn into the arena are fixed, thus establishing specific gameplay rhythms. A stage might have you continuously zipping around a volumetric curve, carefully navigating a cube that flips around as you approach its edges, or avoiding oscillating platforms that destroy you with a single touch. Discovering how to exploit these rhythms is one of Geometry Wars 3’s great challenges, for it’s in that rhythm that is hidden that elusive high score. This is an uncommon brand of trial and error in the series, Waves mode notwithstanding, for you are rewarded just as much for your ability to recognize and memorize patterns as you are for your quick reactions to the game’s variables.

Geometry Wars 3 is absorbing regardless, though I can’t in good faith claim that its additions make this sequel surpass its predecessor. Concerns of equal footing among players aside, some quirks also poke at the elements that made Geometry Wars 2 a case study in arcade austerity. In King Mode, for example, the circles that signal a safe space have been stretched into three-dimensional domes, complete with unnecessary rotating details, whose boundaries aren’t as clear as they should be. Elsewhere, the returning red-and-blue diamonds that prove so often deadly in late-game fireworks no longer announce their presence via sound effects, leading to deaths that don’t feel particularly fair, in part because the entirety of the stage doesn’t appear on screen, and thus the shape’s sudden appearance leaves no time to react. In the past, the series’ visual clutter came from the vibrant particles that painted the screen. Now, it’s the 3D visualizations, tilting surfaces, and warping effects that prove distracting, and often more so.

Power-ups come in the form of power states, which temporarily increase your firepower, draw geoms to you automatically, or aid you in some other way.

You can crank up the distractions (and the tension) in four-player cooperative play, which leads you through a mini-adventure of its own, as well as a bit of squabbling as you face the fun (and challenging) mode-ending boss. (Sadly, there is no cooperative Classic Mode.) Your dreams of online cooperation still go unrealized, but you can still take the enjoyment online in the form of two different competitive modes, which pit two teams of up to four players against each other in a high-score showdown. These modes are sadly underpopulated to the extent that you might not find a match, which is a shame, considering how unusual and energetic they are. In Stock Mode, for instance, you must gather ammo drops to beat a crystalline boss, which means you and your opponents remain in constant motion, battling not only to survive and collect, but also to reduce each others’ collective ammo pools. There is consolation here, however: online battles are a blast even when you’re competing in lonely teams of one player each.

But it’s the leaderboard competition that remains at the heart of the series, in spite of Geometry Wars 3’s tweaking and twisting of the blueprint. Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 remains an almost-perfect example of its genre; Geometry Wars 3, in its reliance on unlockables, feels less confident in its foundation, adding embellishment where none was needed. My thumb, however, stands testament to the game’s greatness, throbbing in pain as I enter the seventh consecutive hour of geometric action. Tomorrow, I will look at my swollen digit and promise myself to lay off the Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions. But such are the game’s absorbing attributes that I will break that promise before the day passes.

Gaming Deals: Titanfall for $5, The Evil Within for $20, and More

We’re only two days away from Black Friday, but you can already get some amazing deals. Steam has kicked off its Exploration-themed Fall sale, Microsoft has a huge pre-Black Friday sale with up to 75 percent of on Xbox One and Xbox 360 games, and Origin is discounting over 200 PC games.

Even Blizzard, which doesn’t discount its games as often, is offering Diablo III for $20, World of Warcraft (including the first four expansions) for $5, and more.

Below you’ll find today’s best deals divided by platform:

PlayStation 4

Sony is discounting co-op games like Rayman Legends, Far Cry 3, and many others by as much as 80 percent in its PlayStation Store co-op sale. Full details on this promo are available here.

Walmart is offering a $50 gift card with a PS4 or the white PS4 Destiny bundle. You can also save up to $44 on a PS4 that comes with camera, and choose between a regular PS4 or the white Destiny bundle, one additional game, and your choice of controller: white, black, or blue.

In Europe only, Sony is holding a PSN sale with up to 60 percent off games like Sniper Elite III, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, Thief, InFamous: Second Son, and many more. You can find the full list of discounted games on the PlayStation Blog.

Xbox One

Microsoft has a huge pre-Black Friday sale with up to 75 percent of on Xbox One and Xbox 360 games as well as hardware bundles and accessories. Find our full breakdown of what’s available here.

This week’s Deals with Gold also includes more games and add-ons than usual, with 40 percent off Diablo III Ultimate Evil Edition, 30 percent off Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, and more. You can find a complete list of discounts here.

Save up to $30 on various Xbox One bundles at Walmart.

PC

Steam’s Exploration-themed Fall sale kicked off today, and will last through December 2. Here are some highlights available for the next 48 hours:

Origin is offering over 200 titles at up to 75 percent off, including the Mass Effect Trilogy for $15, Titanfall for $5, and more. You can check out the entire list on Origin here

Blizzard Entertainment has rolled out its pre-Black Friday deals:

If you don’t mind installing Arc, you can get Torchlight for free.

Green Man Gaming is offering a 25 percent discount on hundreds of game with the code 1MZ9FW-H92JSD-2CT74F. You can use it to buy the recently released Dragon Age: Inquisition, or preorder Total War: Attila, which we just learned will launch on February 17.

Wii U

Target will give you a $25 gift card when you buy a 32 GB Nintendo Wii U Deluxe Set with Super Mario 3D World and Nintendo Land for $300.

3DS

Hardware

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

For all of GameSpot’s news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Steam Fall Sale Begins: Watch Dogs for $30, The Evil Within for $20, and more

As early reports indicated, Steam’s Exploration-themed Fall sale kicked off today, and will last through December 2.

Unlike last year’s Fall sale, this one will will not include any flash sales, with some deals lasting for 48 hours and others for 24 hours.

Here are some highlights available for the next 48 hours:

If you’re looking for more great prices on games, keep an eye out for our regular roundups of Gaming Deals, and GameSpot’s roundup of Black Friday sales, which will be posted tomorrow.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

For all of GameSpot’s news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Steam Fall Sale Begins: Watch Dogs for $30, The Evil Within for $20, and more

As early reports indicated, Steam’s Exploration-themed Fall sale kicked off today, and will last through December 2.

Unlike last year’s Fall sale, this one will will not include any flash sales, with some deals lasting for 48 hours and others for 24 hours.

Here are some highlights available for the next 48 hours:

If you’re looking for more great prices on games, keep an eye out for our regular roundups of Gaming Deals, and GameSpot’s roundup of Black Friday sales, which will be posted tomorrow.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg.

For all of GameSpot’s news coverage, check out our hub. Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Tales from the Borderlands: Episode One – Zer0 Sum

Tales from the Borderlands is brilliant proof that professional fan fiction can be a beautiful thing. The first episode “Zer0 Sum” sets a high entry bar into the series but one that’s fun to surmount. If you come looking for the simmering anxiety of The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, you will find none of that here. Instead, you get an adrenaline-fueled circus of frantic smooth-talk and constant motion that is definitively Borderlands from top to bottom. Telltale has masterfully set up a plot that feels like a Borderlands campaign. It moves between plot points with little downtime in between, and with each scene feeling like a rapid uphill sprint. Rarely do conversations exceed five minutes, and the two longest dialogue-focused scenes are tense, high-strung affairs. The sense of urgency hanging over every conversation makes response time for dialogue choices feel shorter, stringing you through negotiations with criminals and attempts to smooth over verbal blunders.

Borderlands games are about shooting and looting. You do both of these in Tales, because nestled within its narrative-based nature you confront several lengthy action sequences. The first episode alone features brutal skirmishes resulting in more than a few exploded heads. While there is no shooting in the traditional Borderlands sense–you won’t run around gunning down Psychos or skags–there are opportunities to operate heavy machinery and fire off a round. These scenarios require fingers always on thumbsticks, chaining together the familiar moving and ducking commands from Telltale’s previous episodic games. So when you’re not moving analogue sticks to dodge-roll away from cleaver-wielding bandits, you’re mashing buttons to break a guard’s neck or bash Psychos in the face. You’re running away, jumping onto moving vehicles, grasping for weapons, and slamming them into an attacker’s face, and dodging bullets. You aren’t given the luxury of mulling decisions for long. Motion is constant, because nothing on Pandora waits for anyone. It’s incredibly satisfying to wrap up a 20-minute vehicle chase with a few explosions and an axe kill or two to a face before moving on. And unlike in Telltale’s other games, when dealing with others, silence is rarely a good option.

Good ol’ Loader Bot.

As in other Telltale games, players have a limited amount of time to select one of four dialogue or action options when dealing with other characters. The way the studio has tweaked its choice system for Tales from the Borderlands adds another layer of depth to an already complex feature. Both Rhys and Fiona are telling their side of a tale and, as a result, provide different (and sometimes conflicting) details about what happened. You get the opportunity to control both of them, offering your own take on the character.

Rhys is a Hyperion employee, and everyone on Pandora hates the company. He’s viewed as another cog in a machine that destroys lives. Other characters have a real beef with Hyperion as well, and these prejudices dictate how they interact with Rhys. As Rhys, you have to choose whether to flaunt that powerful connection or appeal to others by being vulnerable, telling them how the company has screwed you over too. Fiona appears to have little vulnerability other than love for family, but it’s up to you how successful she is as a con artist. You can dissemble to save your skin, but Tales does an amazing job of forcing you to think hard about who to throw under the bus and how badly your actions will bite you in the ass later. The game begins with the pair being interrogated, each asking for their side of a story involving an elaborate con and a lot of money. That’s about all I can say, as the story takes off so quickly that anything else would be a spoiler. The openness with which the two characters are written adds to the player’s responsibility. Because of the openness of choice here–two noted liars spinning their own stories within a narrative path determined by the player–more than ever, this is your story to tell.

The leading man…
…and leading lady.

Unfortunately, the supporting cast in this first episode feels less real than Fiona and Rhys. Vaughn, Rhys’s sidekick, often overshoots “funny” into “annoying.” Villain August doesn’t feel threatening just yet, and Fiona’s sister Sasha tends to ping-pong emotionally. The one exception is the bandit lord Bossanova, who appears only briefly but adds a bright splash of Borderlands-baddie flavor to the whole affair.

You also get to tinker with some technology from the mega-corporation Hyperion. Rhys has an Echo Eye, an implant that allows him to scan objects in exploration sequences for more information. The Eye is used to gather more information about the environment and reveal more objects to click on and interact with. Rhys also gets to build and choose equipment for a Loader Bot, a self-aware piece of machinery that fights for you. You pick his equipment–grenades and a riot shield, for example–and let him loose, occasionally taking control from his perspective to shoot bandits. Other cyborg implants on Rhys allow him to hack systems, uncovering sensitive information pertinent to the plot by snooping his boss’s computer screen or sifting through a stronghold’s security system. It’s a nice, smart touch.

Telltale’s Pandora is beautifully realized. The cel-shaded art works perfectly, and several times during my playthrough I forgot I was looking at a game that wasn’t from Gearbox’s canon. I rode in a lightning-fast car across Pandora’s surface, kicking up sand into a glowing sky and whizzing past brightly-colored billboards and slavering skags. I stood in the pit of a dingy, dusty battle arena, alone in a maze of dazzling debris as fluorescent spotlights beat down on me.

But it’s not just the look, it’s the sound too. Dialogue moves at a fast clip and retains the same dark humor that colors Borderlands. Sometimes jokes are a little cringe-worthy, but the wit is there, along with several well-placed gems. Fiona muttering jibberish and trying to imitate a Psycho, Rhys sweet talking another character and “blowing his mind” by moving him to tears, and a character using a voice-distortion machine to mask his high-pitched squeaky voice all made me audibly giggle-snort. Snark and smarm are ever-present in the tone, but characters don’t sound like they’re trying too hard to be funny. The writing just works, as Telltale nails another pillar of the Borderlands aesthetic.

New “friends.”

I would be remiss not to mention the superb Tales soundtrack, which feels like something pulled right out of a Borderlands score. Jared Emerson-Johnson, who scored both The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us for Telltale, has created tracks that make one think of bloody chases across Pandora’s sandy surface and the violent clang of bullets and machetes on steel. During a scene in which Rhys summons a Loader Bot to help take out a group of bandits, the music swells to a pounding half-rock, half-techno frenzy that brought me back to my first firefights in the first Borderlands. Everything about the soundtrack is Borderlands–the tonal ambience inexorably drags you into battles and inspires them to press on.

Telltale and Borderlands are the peanut butter and chocolate of the current gaming landscape, creating a piece that is too rock-solid in its own convictions to be labeled simply as a mashup. It’s hard to even call it professional fan fiction. Tales from the Borderlands is a Borderlands game, but Telltale has opened up Gearbox’s Pandora in a way the original Borderlands games haven’t and can’t as shooters. Through exploration of the little people struggling in the shadows of Vault Hunters, you gain a deeper opportunities to explore the world.