New Tales From The Borderlands Review - Good Stories

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New Tales from the Borderlands is a fun pit stop in the space Western of the Borderlands series. Much like its predecessor, Telltale Games' Tales from the Borderlands, this new adventure focuses on an ensemble cast of everyday people, not the superhero-like Vault Hunters of the main series. And in a very similar vein to the first game, New Tales from the Borderlands makes a solid case that the series needs more stories like this one. It's just more interesting to see normal people navigating Borderlands' capitalist hellscape of corporate wars as they approach the ludicrous antics and dystopian lawlessness from a more relatable perspective.

The normal people in question are altruistic scientist Anu, her younger adopted brother Octavio, and frozen yogurt shop owner Fran. Anu wants to build a device that can end conflicts nonviolently, much to the chagrin of the weapons manufacturer she works for. Octavio desires respect and fame, seeking an idea for a get-rich start-up business. And Fran desires vengeance upon weapons manufacturer Tediore, whose invasion of the planet of Promethea results in the destruction of her shop. Upon learning the invasion is to acquire a Vault Key and open the Promethean Vault, the trio finds themselves working together to acquire the Vault's treasure before Tediore can claim it, hoping it will be something valuable enough to secure funding for Anu's research and Octavio's dreams, while also depriving Tediore of their goal and netting Fran her revenge.

Most of New Tales from the Borderlands has you making dialogue choices for Anu, Octavio, or Fran, or performing some feat via a quick-time event. Your choices can have a range of consequences--strengthening the relationship between two characters, for example--but their primary effect is repercussions on the story. You can't outright avoid the major narrative beats of each chapter, but you can influence how events transpire to color in your own take on the adventure. Fran is always going to be visited by the insurance agent overseeing her claim of the damage to her shop, for instance, but it's entirely up to the choices you made leading up to and during that encounter that determine whether she gets that payout, and shapes how the agent perceives her going forward. This structure does mean that New Tales from the Borderlands can occasionally feel too scripted--especially near the end of episodes when the story has to guide you towards an unavoidable outcome to set up the next story beat--but it works for the most part, injecting enough player agency into the story to create tangible change in pretty much every event.

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Uncharted: Legacy Of Thieves Review - Charted, Again

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Naughty Dog is one of the most recognizable names on PlayStation hardware, and the roaring success of its Uncharted franchise across two generations of the console plays a large part in that legacy. It makes sense then that the studio's first full release for the PlayStation 5 celebrates that storied history, bringing two of the series' best entries to new hardware with a suite of improvements that make experiencing the treasure-hunting adventures a pleasure again. Although some of the underlying design choices are showing some age, the Legacy of Thieves Collection is the best way to play Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and Uncharted: Lost Legacy.

Across both games, the most significant changes are clear to see in the game's three modes of play. Fidelity mode targets a native 4K presentation, with the frame rate aiming for a locked 30fps(and sticking there for pretty much every scene). The new performance mode, which is likely the best way to play, reduces the resolution to 1440p but doubles the frame rate to 60fps, which it easily maintains for much more responsive gameplay. A third mode, Performance+, cuts the resolution even more, with a native 1080p presentation and a frame rate that aims for 120fps. You'll need a display that supports that in the first place, and even then, it's a tough concession to make visually for added fluidity that's not really required for the narrative-focused adventures that this collection contains.

What the additional horsepower of the PS5 offers, then, is choice, which wasn't present with the original releases on both the PS4 and PS4 Pro. Both Uncharted 4 and Lost Legacy have been playable on PS5 through backwards compatibility, but have been frustratingly locked to the same 30fps cap as the PS4 versions in both respective campaigns. The higher frame rates for both were reserved for their respective multiplayer modes, which aren't included in this Legacy of Thieves Collection anyway.

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A Plague Tale: Requiem - Before You Buy

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A Plague Tale: Requiem - Before You BuyA Plague Tale: Requiem (PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S) is an incredible stealth action follow up to the previous Plague Tale: Innocence. Let's dive in. Subscribe for more: http://youtube.com/gameranxtv ▼▼ Buy Plague Tale: https://amzn.to/3EObPnW Watch more 'Before You Buy': https://bit.ly/2kfdxI6

A Plague Tale: Requiem Review - Picturesque Terror

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There's a sequence in A Plague Tale: Requiem's fourth chapter where you're forced to flee a literal tsunami of rats. As you jump from one stone rooftop to another, the swarm of plague-infested vermin sweeps through the town below like raging flood waters, toppling over buildings at their foundations and consuming anyone caught in its destructive path. It's a moment of Hollywood spectacle that showcases the remarkable advancements in technology since A Plague Tale: Innocence was released in 2019. Whereas the first game could handle 5,000 rats at any one time, its sequel can populate the screen with a staggering 300,000. This vast multiplication enhances the terrifying and oppressive nature of the series' signature rodents, but moments like this are an outlier; for the most part, Requiem feels very familiar to its predecessor.

Although developer Asobo Studio has supplemented its stealth action gameplay with a few new additions, this sense of familiarity persists throughout the first half of the game. Like Innocence, Requiem puts you in the well-worn shoes of Amicia de Rune, a teenage girl who's tasked with protecting her younger brother, Hugo, as they traverse a plague-stricken, 14th-century France in search of a cure for his mysterious illness. Amicia is armed with a sling that can both kill helmet-less enemies and strike crates of conveniently-placed armor to create a distraction. You also have access to alchemical ammo that can either light fires or snuff them out, letting you navigate through the mischief of light-averse rats and use them to your advantage by shrouding enemies in darkness.

Amicia is a more proficient fighter this time around, so you're able to counter armored enemies after being spotted and leave them stunned for a few seconds. If you have a single-use knife handy, you can finish them off with a killing blow, but knives are hard to come by and also double as a tool for opening padlocked workbenches. These hidden stashes are filled with various crafting materials, so I always found it more advantageous to hold onto any knives I could get my hands on rather than wasting them on a single kill. You can also use Amicia's sling to strangle unarmored enemies by catching them unaware from behind. There's an element of risk and reward in doing so, however, since the animation is fairly lengthy and it's not completely quiet.

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