The season has begun and we can start off with what The Expanse: A Telltale Series has to offer up to us for the IP. It may just be the first episode out there so far, but Deck Nine and Telltale Games are hard at work to make sure the rest flow out there and any issues are handled along the way. That does not mean that we are not going to look at each episode of The Expanse here and give you some quick looks and feels for it all. Here is our review of the first episode out there on the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. Along with our playthrough of the episode for you to enjoy and maybe make some different choices in the mix. Let us dive right in.
Welcome to the Artemis and the crew we are getting along with in The Expanse. All in a setting that takes place well before the show and other stories we have had in the IP so far. Drummer and crew are out there looking for the next big haul of salvage, but things are never as easy as they should be out there. Not only do we see some pirates out there, but there is much more going on and some extra deceit we need to work around to make sure we all survive and maybe bring in the last haul we ever need to do. Not that we can imagine that will be the case given this timeline of The Expanse.
So, unlike many other Telltale Games' titles out there, The Expanse does not force us to walk down one specific path in the game. I am talking about physically and not in the narrative sense. In fact, this one gives us parts of the game that are in zero gravity and we get a chance to move around just in that form. It is very fitting for a title in The Expanse universe, but the issue comes in that it is hard to tell when and where you are allowed to do that. Most of the time, sure, there are some on-screen signs we can turn off our mag-boots, but then there are areas where it feels like we should be able to float but the game does not allow for that. It is very odd and slowed things down a bit while trying to explore the world that Deck Nine has built. This could be changed in future episodes, but it did leave a weird taste in my mouth when I had to walk up the side of a room when floating straight up would have been better.
Another issue I seemed to run into within this episode of The Expanse: A Telltale Series is that some of the side tasks are not easy to know or even find in the game. While this should not be an issue, since they should be something to press exploration, but you can see it in the gameplay, there was a missing part that I spent a lot of time searching for and never found. I only pressed on with the story since it felt like it was not out there in the current area, only to find out that the item is not able to be found later on. At least as the UI made it seem. I am all for world exploration and gameplay that presses for that, but outside of floating into the vast void of space, there were never lasers or anything that indicated I could find this item that is now lost. Maybe this will change in the future, but it was frustrating to go through for someone like me that wants to find everything and all of the options.
Speaking of options in The Expanse: A Telltale Series, it certainly feels like that is in here in spades for the story and actions we can take. Even when some of them are boiled down to one option or another, these feel like they have quick repercussions in the game and others that will lead to other issues. By this, I mean even some of the basic banter and dialog changes based on some actions. For instance, there is a scene where you can punch one of the crew for saying something mocking. If you do so, Drummer will have a different and joking bit of dialog later on with a different character. It is nothing that feels like it is going to change the story of The Expanse but it does show that the character's personality will shine through based on some of this. The writers have taken time to make sure they note all of this and it feels like a richer experience for it. Especially, since that earlier option seemed to pay off with the other character having some fun back with us when it would have been some basic banter otherwise.
In addition to the options we have in The Expanse here, it also feels like the teams have looked to give us much more in the game than just a choose-your-own-adventure story we have to follow. Sure, those are in here as we should have expected, but it also feels like this could be its own action-adventure title with all of the other elements mixed right in. A fully filled-in world that we could go out and keep exploring if we wanted to along with many other gameplay elements to explore. All with the pacing of things to bring us right back into the story being told in The Expanse too. That is, you never feel like you are going through the motions of things and there is always something engaging and building on each other. This is not what I expected from the teams, given the past titles, but it feels like a perfect blending for fans of the IP and gamers that want to have an experience closer to other video games out there.
We are only one episode in for The Expanse: A Telltale Series, but so far it feels like it is going to be the next massive game for the teams to win awards for. The story is engaging, even for someone that knows little of the IP before now, and the gameplay kept me engaged with so many aspects that it never felt like I was going through the motions. Sure, there are a few minor hiccups I ran into that were frustrating, but nothing that ever made me want to just stop. The first episode for The Expanse can be wrapped up in about an hour, as you can see, but it does a great job to keep us engaged and looking forward to the next. I would say it is worth giving a go as of right now but know that could change. That is, I am still optimistic for the game to flow out there but know it could go south very fast if a few bad choices are made in the future episodes. Have a look and see what you might have missed for the gameplay just a bit lower down now.
I give The Expanse: A Telltale Series 6 Pieces Of Salvage on the Piece Of Salvage scale.
The Expanse: A Telltale Series — Hades Plays Episode One [PS5 Gameplay]
The Expanse: A Telltale Series was developed by Deck Nine and published by Telltale Games for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on July 27th, 2023. A PlayStation copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.