Written by Matthew Feldman
Welcome to another monthly update of the Mez Fantasy Games Mouth Off (MFG Mouth Off)! In this issues, we were actually split on which game to review before we released some very exciting information in this month’s Mouth Off, and so it came down to a choice between Tell-Tale Games’ Tales From the Borderlands Episode 2: Atlas Mugged, or Resident Evil Revelations 2. In the end, RE 2 Lost, and we will be showing you our review of Episode 2 Atlas Mugged, as well as the sneak peak at Chapter 1 of Mariah Lynde’s second book in the Vengeance of Avalon Series! Lastly, we’ll be giving you a summary and taste of our first ever table top, FATE powered RPG: Dreams of Salvation. So without further ado, let’s get the review done first!
Review: TTG's Tales from the Borderlands: Episode 2: Atlas Mugged my Attention Span
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Reasons: The gameplay sticks true to what Tell-Tale Games is all about in their character driven and decision making based games that include quick-time-event reactions. Furthermore, the use of the Loot system in this particular episode revealed itself just a bit more in how it’s going to play a part in future episodes. While some of the audio did not line up with the character motions, this is easily forgiven with the number of cultural references and overall cannon to the Universe that Veteran Players would continue to enjoy. Furthermore, the characters continue to remain memorable while also giving us throwback scenes and important information regarding former PC’s such as Athena, and Zero, while also showing us NPCs we are all but familiar with such as Scooter and Loader Bot and of course, Handsome Jack
With Tell-Tale Games important information to understand that you as a player should have is that most of their games are not entirely action driven and they are not the type of games to hide things from you like the average RPG/Decision based game might do. When you look for something, generally it will be right in front of you and you will actually need it. Atlas Mugged, which is a clever parody of the culturally popular book written by Russian Author Aryn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, this episode, Atlas Mugged focuses on the continuation of the story of Rhys and Fiona (the two characters you play as), and Vaughn and Yvette; your best friends from Hyperion, and lastly, Fiona’s sister, Sasha, a wild and crazy girl in contract to Vaughn who in this episode is to be strangely ripped and muscular, yet an absolute coward!
TTG definitively continues the Borderlands Hilarity of the Universe by keeping the players completely invested in the universe while also clearly pandering to new-players of the game. Veterans of the game series however will be pleasantly surprised not only with the cultural references in this episode, but the actual action and adventure involved in it. Without giving away spoilers, overall, picking right up after Ryhs and Fiona find what is later to be revealed the Gortys Core and Handsome Jack’s hologram appearing at the end of Episode One, the group finds that in Old Haven (a reference to Haven from Borderlands 1), that the Atlas Company had built some kind of facility underground before they abandoned it. After finding this core, the group decides to go and investigate it. Rhys however is seeing Handsome Jack’s hologram, which we suspect to be his memories downloaded from the crazy obsessive Professor Nakayama from Borderlands 2 DLC content Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt from the first episode in the creepy museum. Jack however is not without his uses as he actually does enhance Rhys’ echo eye, and finally as the group comes together, they are attacked by Hyperion Moonblasts, which begin reigning fire down on the group. Not only that, they are chased by what at first appears to be nothing, but is revealed to be none other than every Veteran Player’s most hated enemy, A Rakk Hive: It’s Just a Skin Condition. The Rakk Hive chases the group down while Rhys uses the boost system to calculate the trajectory of a moonblast and kills the Rakk Hive. He and Vaughn are separated from Rhys and Fiona and it’s revealed while they are alone that Vasquez shows up and that while the player may have declined the deal made to him by Vasquez, Vaughn did not; and is betrayed. Vaughn swears he had no intention to kill the player. Jack again reveals that he helped Rhys by enhancing his Echo Eye and it allows Rhys to either destroy Vasquez’s car or hack the prototype gun that he is about to kill Rhys and Vaughn with. After doing this, it is revealed that Handsome Jack’s encapsulated memories that were downloaded by Nakayama were actually taken before his death and he can actually exert control over Rhys’ body. As Rhys and Vaughn escape, the Loader Bot, our favorite NPC ally, shows up and helps us fly away, giving us the choice to go directly to our objective; Old Haven, or go to Hollow Point where the group originally met Fiona and Sasha.
Meanwhile, Sasha and Fiona return to their old home, which they find abandoned, but, it turns out Felix, the man that betrayed them, was doing so to spare them the trouble of having to deal with August and his rival, Valery. It’s clear he’s dead, and despite leaving the girls money and items to remember them by, to which Fiona gets an elemental upgrade to her one shot pistol, Sasha is given a pocket watch which she refuses to take. Finally, two lackeys try to take Fiona and Sasha, and eventually they escape back to Scooter’s, who originally agreed to help them due to seeing Fiona in the death race from Episode 1. After the group finally gets together and goes to Haven, they find what is known as the Gortys Project, and they see Atlas’ corporate logo, an actual replica of Atlas Holding up the world, which only is another nod to the culturally loved book. TTG leaves us hanging once more however, when after it’s revealed that Vasquez was Jack’s personal punching bag (which Jack thinks is cute that Vasquez thinks that this was an exclusive thing, his own words being ‘I punched my mother for Chrissakes!’). Fiona reveals to August that Sasha did not love him, and finally, Fiona and Rhys, the only two capable of touching the Gortys Core are left in the center of the room where it molds together to reveal an item of unknown origin, while Vaughn and Sasha are being held at Gunpoint by Augusts’ men. Jack appears, and tells the player to trust him, while Fiona tells the player to Trust her.
It is officially up to you, and in this MFG Mouth Off, we’re going to ask you to vote on two different polls. We neglected, purposefully to mention the bandit that has been holding Rhys and Fiona captive, due to the fact of how mysterious this individual is and how they seem to understand far more about the story than they are letting on. So, we’re going to ask you to vote.
Who would you trust? Fiona, or Jack; and in next month’s MFG Mouth Off, we shall tally the results and declare whom players should trust!
And for the second poll: Is the Mysterious Bandit None other than the Infamous Tiny Tina, or is the Bandit a mysterious Vault Hunter who will play a larger role in Borderlands 3?
As Promised, we said we would have a sneak peak of Mariah Lynde's second book in the Vengeance of Avalon novels, and without further hesitation or delay, here it is!
Flames of Eternity, Mariah Lynde
It was a day that people would whisper of for centuries. There would be legends built on the actions of the battle that had taken place on the Isle of Magic in the hours prior. Anyone who had been present to watch the battle between Kha’lic Drahl and his daughter, Ariella Trelian had witnessed the first of many events that would turn the tide of the war with the Shadow Lord.
What had happened today had been nothing short of a miracle. Seeing Ariella in action had been a glorious experience that still had people whispering in a combination of fear and awed relief. Today, his sister had actively reawakened Avalon from its sleep and sent Kha’lic Drahl running from the battlefield in defeat. It had been a day three thousand years in the making, but it had not come without great cost.
For Micheal Trelian, he was more than aware of the price his sister had paid for this moment. No matter what the songs and stories said in the future, it was almost certain there would be no mention of the cost. True, this was war and one could not expect that there would not be casualties on both sides. That was an eventuality they had all been prepared for, Micheal and his men especially, but the personal cost…that was something that no one had thought to weigh in the grand plan.
Now, here in the hours following a monstrous battle, the shadows were laying claim to the city of Avalon and its streets. For three thousand years this realm had lain dormant, caught between the land of the living and the dead. No one had been prepared for just what Ariella had done, so now those that fought in the war had entered a city long thought lost, while people who had spent the last three thousand years asleep struggled to come to grips with just what had been done to them.
It was a bloody mess. That much was certain. It would take weeks to figure out what was needed to fortify the Isle of Magic and the city that would serve as the capital for their cause. There would be plenty of work to be done in the coming weeks. Everything from taking inventory, to setting up supply lines for refugees would have to be handled. It was a job that Micheal was more than happy to leave in the hands of others. The only question he had about his current situation was where to go from here.
In the whole of his life, Micheal had never felt more lost than he did at this moment. True, he had helped in turning the tide of battle by turning on his own father and helping Ariella, but the truth was that not even that was enough to erase the sins on his very soul.
No one would understand the true cost of this day. No one save for the two women who had suffered to make it happen. Sadly, even then, Micheal doubted that either was aware of the stain darkening his soul that could never be erased.
To be here, within the gilded walls of Avalon was like a dream come true after untold years of terror and nightmares. So many people were rejoicing to have found this place, this sanctuary that they had thought lost to the onslaught of Kha’lic Drahl’s reign. If her were anyone else, Micheal had no doubt that he would be just as elated to be here within these walls.
Unfortunately, the guilt on his soul, the stain of darkness left by his father and grandfather’s influence made that impossible. He was an interloper, unclean. This was not a place for those tainted by the touch of Kha’lic Drahl’s influence to find peace. True, his sister was just as much a progeny of the Shadow Lord, but she had not done the things he had done. Hell, if any were to look at Ariella’s past, they could see the truth of his nature.
By some miracle, his sister had survived their childhood. Despite the cruelty, despite the pain, and despite all that he had helped in doing to break her body and soul…Ariella had survived. Not only that, she had become a formidable opponent and a master magian of sorts, all while suffering to heal the injuries inflicted upon her.
While there was a part of him that tried to rationalize that he was not responsible for the cruelty of his actions as a child, Micheal knew that was not completely true. He had taken pleasure in being cruel to Ariella while they were growing up. Many had said that he could not be blamed for the way Dermott had raised him but there was also the knowledge that if it had been anyone but Ariella, Micheal may not have been quite so cruel.
Not even their grandfather had been aware that both Hadrin and Micheal had sensed what made their sister different. While she was lycan they had always been able to sense some otherworldly aura to their sister that had made her seem…terrifying to them. It had gone a long way to making it easy to follow their grandfather’s directives in cruelly singling Ariella out.
Now, decades later, there was a sense of guilt over all that he had done. Time and again he had seen what such actions had created. Murders, rapists, pillagers, and demons…those were what became of the tortured and abused who fell into darkness. His father…their father was a prime example of that fact.
It would have been easy for his sister to join the ranks of their father’s army and help him to lay waste to the whole of reality, but somehow she had held onto a sense of right and wrong that Micheal still struggled to understand. It was that exact lack of a moral compass that had made it easy for him to decide to turn his back on his father as well as his army. When Micheal had recognized there was a wealth of power within his sister and her allies that would benefit him more greatly, he had willingly changed sides.
True, he had been slowly gravitating towards helping his sister in recent years, but nothing so extreme. There had never been a full shifting of allegiance. True, he had felt guilt, but mostly he had felt the need for self-preservation when he realized just what Ariella was capable of. However now he held the knowledge of how easily he had succumbed to treachery when confronted by the opportunity to save his own hide. It was something that only seemed to underline how truly stained and corrupted his soul was…if it even existed.
Making his way into the main keep to escape the sounds of rejoicing that echoed through the streets of Avalon, Micheal felt the weight of weariness pulling at him. Tired as he was, he still needed to check on Ariella. Once the dragons had emerged from the center summoning circle, all hell had broken loose and he had lost track of her in the midst of the retreating army. After three thousand years, the sentinels of Avalon had awakened with an appetite for destruction.
Knowing full well if they stayed in the open that they risked a gruesome end as some draconic delicacy, both armies had retreated from the battlefield. Those who had sided with Ariella and the Avalon contingent had retreated towards the newly awakened city, while Drahl’s army had fled into the mists and towards the shadow portals situated around the Isle.
Somewhere in the mix, he had lost track of his sister and had yet to see her since the battle had ended. While Micheal was loathe to admit that he worried about her now, it was a meeting he was not looking forward to. Ariella was something almost ethereal to witness. Merely being in her presence had a way of making him feel small and insignificant. As a lycan male, an alpha at that, it was not something he enjoyed, more than that, being around her made him feel emotions he was far from able to understand. Guilt he recognized, jealousy as well, but the others…they were something he had no real knowledge or understanding of.
“You look far closer to death than the men in the healer’s ward.” That soft voice had Micheal’s head turning to peer back over his shoulder. At the sight that met him, Micheal released a weary sigh and flopped down into one of the staid wooden chairs situated against the wall.
“Why do you choose to appear to me now? I did as you asked. I weighed my options and helped my sister.” Peering up at the woman in silence, Micheal moved to run a hand through the russet colored strands of his hair. Unlike his sister, the shade of red was a dull copper in comparison to the vibrant fiery strands that marked her as the gifted child among his litter.
“You act as if you had not already been considering such an action. Both your father and Dermott had been fraying at the edges for years and you saw it. You are many things, Micheal. True, you are not your sister, but you still hold value and purpose to all that is taking place.” Watching as the silvery apparition made her way towards him Micheal grimaced. Again, there was that uneasy feeling as if he were touching something ethereal through the shroud of death and that more than anything set him on edge.
Every single one of his senses was raging against the presence of this spirit before him. There were several things those of the two natured did not take kindly to, being in the presence of something unnatural that made your hair stand on end was close to the top of the list. Despite his weariness, the wolf within was clawing its way to the surface, ready to lash out and destroy the source of its ire. Still, that small part of Micheal that held onto humanity or morality kept him in his current state. Sighing wearily, he eyes the female for a long moment before speaking once more.
“One would think that you would be far more interested in the female you had us rallying behind.” Though the words were softly spoken even Micheal cringed at the growl that he heard in his own voice. There was that dominant alpha tone that always seemed to make itself known when he was tired, but more than that he heard his own petty jealousy.
“That is not a fair assessment, Micheal. I have come to you for other reasons than helping your sister. As I remember, you called for help in knowing what to do where she was concerned.” That silvery figure slid across the stone floor with a grace that was numbing to witness. It was an action that underlined her unnatural state and ability. Peering at the woman, Micheal let his gaze roam over her features.
As always, she appeared in the same guise. A young female who held the promise of life, with long ebony hair that seemed to be highlighted by strands of a varying array of colors. Her eyes were an unnatural amalgam of jeweled colors that swirled around silver irises in a hypnotic fashion that was more than a little off-putting.
“What in the nine hells does it matter? I did all that you asked. I put on the happy face and tried to give her love and support, you can see how well that bloody worked. There are somethings that I am not meant to give and receive, wench. Love is one of those.” Micheal snarled out softly, listening to his voice echo in the nearly empty hall as his eye cut across the expanse of the room to meet the woman’s own. “I am my father’s son.”
“If that were true, you never would have called for help in the first place. You may not speak of it, but you suffer, Micheal. All that you have done plagues you. I see that even if you do not. You did all you could for your sister and it was not my doing that made you care for her. That is a thing of your own making.” For a brief moment there was a flare of heat that trailed across Micheal’s flesh as the apparition’s hand moved to lie on his shoulder. The power the spilled from her touch was enough to set his teeth on edge as he gave a soft grunt and replied.
“To what end? She cannot forgive or forget what was done to her, I’ve been beating my head against a wall this whole time and now she’s sitting in this keep with the two most powerful beings of the Emrys line. We’re doomed just as our father.” Micheal spat the words with enough venom that he cringed before looking to the tattoo on the center of the female’s forehead as it glowed.
“You have so little faith in others. In that, you and your sister share the same mind.” Withdrawing her hand, the apparition moved to float in front of him, peering down at him for a moment before exhaling softly, “You are correct, I am here to tell you of your next task.”
“I swear by all that is unholy if you are about to ask me to go up there and steal Ariella away from this place I will find a way to kill you myself.” Micheal growled softly, lifting his gaze to stare at the apparition warily. “What is it you want this time?”
“To help you find what it is you have been searching for.”
“Oh? And you think you can just hand me the answers to my life on a silver platter? What all seeing god are you that you offer me such a thing, Lara?” Micheal’s gaze narrowed, those blue eyes watching the female as she stilled at his use of her name.
“How did you…”
“Learn your name? Merlin said that the woman I described sounded like Lara, so, just who and what are you that I should listen to anything else you have to say?”
For several long moments, the air in the hall seemed to go still. There was an innate sense of despair and loss that strung out between the pair as they stared at one another. No matter the amount of anger he held within his heart at being manipulated by so many forces to bring about this day, nothing could have prepared him for the absolute rage that the next two words brought for the lycan.
That was all it took for the world around him to disappear in a red haze as Micheal stood and made his way out of the keep without a word
Lastly, we did say that we had a sneak peak summary of our first Table Top RPG, Dreams of Salvation, so, here it is everyone! Please note: Our first table top game is steam-punk based, with faint elements
Long ago, an Ancient evil was born. No one knew if he was man nor monster, all they knew was that he had become powerful enough in his evil and his power to destroy the ancient Gods and absorb their power. For untold millenia, this ancient evil known as Sebbecai ruled over the world of Mortals and Immortals, commanding legions of the most black hearted beings on the face of Xarine. It was three Noble Races however that stood up and began to rebel against this ancient evil, and in this rebellion, the Gunslingers were born; individuals who would bring justice and order to the lawless and cowardly, and those elite who would defend the weak and helpless wherever they could. In the final battle, Sebbecai was destroyed, and something unexpected happened: Magick began to die. The three nations that united most strongly gathered the last of the dying magic and stored it so that they could continue to train Gunslingers.
In the end however, this wasn't enough. Not more than five thousand years later, the world now runs on steam powered automatons such as Airships, using black powder technology. Massive ships that are steam powered float underwater for the rich and wealthy, and clockwork items are present in nearly every corner of Xarine. The world has forgotten the world of magic, however, not all is forever lost. When Sebbecai was defeated all those years ago, his minions, those that survived, had scattered, and since had formed their own independent dominions. Supernatural races hide in the shadows, fearful in most areas; however, there are those brave few that dare step into the light. But, an ancient evil is beginning to awaken, and an ancient Prophecy that foretold of Sebbecai's return has begun to finally rise....
Which side will you choose, and will you be a Dream of Salvation, or a Herald of Destruction?
This game is Powered By Fate, and will be using the Fate System for it's general mechanic under the Common Use License produced by Evil Hat Studios. In no way will be stealing their lore or any lore that belongs to them, and we will be combining the 3.5 OGL with our Fate powered system.
Well that's all for this month folks, hope to have more for you next month! Please subscribe and like and feel free to comment!
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