The Expanse: A Telltale Series Episodes 1-3 Review

The Expanse: A Telltale Series Episodes 1-3 Review

The Expanse: A Telltale Series – Making Life and Death Decisions in Space

Image: Camina Drummer standing in front of an airlock door, faced with a difficult decision.

I – or rather, the badass space scavenger Camina Drummer – find myself at a crossroads in The Expanse: A Telltale Series. I’m standing on one side of an airlock door, while someone pleads for their life on the other side. Now, this someone is not the brightest star in the galaxy, to put it mildly. They’re a fool, with a side of bigotry and incompetence. But, they claim they have valuable information and promise to make amends. It’s a moral dilemma: do I let them back in, locking them away and praying they won’t cause me trouble down the line? Or, do I press the other button, sending them helplessly floating through the vastness of space? Tough call, right?

Well, I made my choice. I pressed the button. And that’s just a taste of the gripping story that unfolds in The Expanse.

This game isn’t just about big dramatic decisions, though. Even the smaller choices matter. The game makes you believe that every action and word spoken will have consequences. It’s like playing a game of interstellar chess, where every move counts. Now, some of it might be smoke and mirrors – those “[CHARACTER] will remember this” notifications can be a bit mysterious – but the level of detail is impressive. The story seamlessly progresses from one point to the next, keeping you engaged with each episode.

But here’s the catch: you never know which decisions will truly matter and which ones are just cosmic fluff. The Expanse thrives on the uncertainty of making choices without perfect information. Whatever path you choose, the story barrels forward, without giving you a chance to go back and correct your mistakes. Game over screens might pop up during quick-time events or movement challenges, but the heart of the game lies in exploring your surroundings, gathering info, and forming bonds with your crewmates. Completing optional objectives to improve their lives while working towards the main goals of each episode adds an extra layer of depth to the gameplay.

Image: Camina Drummer and her scavenger crew exploring abandoned spaceships.

As Camina Drummer, you’ll find yourself exploring wrecked and abandoned spaceships, which is amusingly ironic considering the scavenger nature of her own crew aboard the Artemis. Moving through hallways, using magnetboots to cling to metal surfaces or floating gracefully through space with thrusters on your spacesuit is a satisfying experience. The game’s visuals strike a perfect balance between cartoonish and realistic, avoiding the eerie uncanny valley. And let’s not forget the breathtaking vistas that greet you around every corner.

Gameplay-wise, if you’ve played a Telltale Game before, you’ll know the drill. The conversations and significant decision-making moments are the bread and butter of The Expanse. Mold the story according to your choices as you progress through the game, shaping Camina Drummer’s fate to your liking. The writing honors the source material, offering a gripping tale that plunges you into the immediate danger faced by Drummer and the larger forces that manipulate her life and those around her. Taking inspiration from the TV show’s dedication to portraying the challenges of space travel, The Expanse keeps you acutely aware of the constant threat of death looming over these characters.

Image: Quick-time combat events and movement challenges.

Where The Expanse falls short is in its attempts to spice things up. Combat boils down to quick-time events, requiring you to click buttons based on visual cues within a time limit. While it’s not overly challenging, the lack of depth may disappoint those seeking a richer combat system. There’s a frustrating segment involving dodging drone lasers, where one wrong move means repeating the entire section. It’s a minor annoyance, and it showcases Telltale’s struggle to escape the “walk-and-talk” formula that often permeates their games. However, the writing compensates for these shortcomings, weaving a story that gradually becomes more ambitious and freakier as it unfolds.

The Expanse wastes no time in getting you hooked, leaving you with an insatiable desire to uncover what lies next in this thrilling space saga. Whether you’re a fan of the TV series or a newcomer to The Expanse universe, this game delivers an experience that will keep your heart racing and your emotions soaring among the stars. Buckle up, make your choices count, and embark on a journey you won’t soon forget.

Image: The Expanse: A Telltale Series logo.