The Expanse: A Telltale Collection on PC

After I rolled credit on the primary three episodes of The Expanse: A Telltale collection, it hit me that this isn’t the identical type of expertise Telltale Video games was as soon as identified for.

To make certain, the entire traditional parts are there. The episodes had decisions that impacted the result of a longform narrative, and temporary gameplay segments broke up the dialogue dumps to maintain the expertise breezy. There have been even some scant moments the place it was unclear what the perfect plan of action can be, and I needed to step away with the intention to weigh the results of what I may do.

However on the sport’s core, The Expanse wasn’t one other cookie cutter providing which may mix in seamlessly with Telltale’s many different titles. And for probably the most half, that’s factor.

Screenshot by Twinfinite by way of Telltale Video games and Deck 9

Granted, this received’t be readily obvious. The narrative kicks off very similar to every other Telltale sport, with gamers taking the function of Camina Drummer in her earlier years. After her captain Cox uncovers the scavenging alternative of a lifetime, her and her crew are despatched to say the trove for themselves earlier than it may be scooped up by different potential scavengers.

As soon as she finds it although, it turns into clear that it’s excess of they bargained for. She’ll then have to navigate her means by means of a brutal contest with pirates, private relationships and allegiances together with her crew, and ghosts from her previous with the intention to use this bounty to etch out a greater life for herself.

It’s pretty normal stuff for a Telltale title, however it’s written and balanced surprisingly effectively no matter how a lot expertise gamers have with the property. Longtime followers may have a blast exploring Drummer’s previous and attending to mould how she got here to level she’s at within the present and books. Newcomers, in the meantime, will discover an extremely approachable entry level for the broader franchise alongside a solidly-built narrative journey expertise.

Screenshot by Twinfinite by way of Telltale Video games and Deck 9

The identical could be stated of the gameplay. Exterior of dialogue-driven parts of the sport, gamers are tasked with exploring wrecked ships and navigating hostile areas with out being detected. These segments characteristic gadgets which may show priceless in a while in addition to collectibles tied to aspect missions, and taking the time to assemble all of them can imply the distinction between having a bevy of decisions or very restricted choices throughout sure parts of the sport.

This solely makes up a small portion of the title nonetheless. The remainder of the sport sees gamers tasked with serving to Drummer make choices primarily based on the occasions they watch unfold. These can vary from deciding on which line of dialogue she makes use of to deciding find out how to remedy issues that crop up, and gamers will likely be pressured to observe the result of their resolution for higher and worse.

Not like previous Telltale titles, The Expanse isn’t as clear lower with which choices or actions may have long-term penalties. Whereas collection like The Strolling Lifeless would bombard you with notifications about individuals remembering what you stated or being dissatisfied by one thing, this sport solely does so throughout extra intense choices and scenes. Smaller interactions and decisions received’t be met with clear penalties, and may not develop into necessary till a lot later within the collection.

It’s removed from excellent, and there are nonetheless situations the place decisions really feel inconsequential to the broader plot. General although, this new strategy serves so as to add stress into the gameplay loop and lends extra weight to the alternatives a participant makes. Greater than as soon as, I used to be left on the sting of my seat due to a previous resolution coming again to hang-out or assist me. A punch thrown in anger or revenge for a betrayal impacted my playthrough hours later, and I may solely do what I may to cope with its penalties.

I used to be even hesitant to instantly bounce on new choices due to the thought {that a} short-term benefit may find yourself biting me laborious in a later section.

Screenshot by Twinfinite by way of Telltale Video games and Deck 9

Then, there’s the audio and visible presentation. Visually, The Expanse follows the lead of Tales From the Borderlands 2 with a extra conventional graphical type as a substitute of Telltale’s former cel-shaded aesthetic. It really works effectively for the tone and elegance of the sci-fi collection’ universe, and serves to provide the sport a extra trendy enchantment that feels at house on trendy consoles.

It’s a decent alternative, and the brand new visuals assist to maintain it from feeling too just like the studios’ previous works. On the identical time although, it does really feel much less distinct and might make the totally different environments one visits blur collectively.

Sound-wise, the sport is a bit hit and miss. Whereas Cara Gee does a fantastic job in her return efficiency for Camina Drummer, different performances can warble between spectacular and satisfactory. The sound results and rating observe swimsuit, with the extra spectacular bits of sound results and music accompanied by occasional audio glitches and ambient tunes which aren’t too memorable. None of that is deal-breaking although, and merely holds the title again from reaching better heights.

When taken collectively, all of those parts create a sport which is acquainted but totally different from all the things that got here earlier than it. It’s not an ideal expertise, however it’s stable sufficient to do proper by its supply materials and draw gamers into the participating narrative it’s piecing collectively.

The Expanse isn’t the perfect Telltale-style expertise ever made, however it’s a commendable return outing for the studio. Longtime followers of the studios’ work or The Expanse’s supply materials will discover sufficient to be excited for what’s to come back, whereas newcomers can get a stable have a look at what the studio can supply transferring ahead. Optimistically, they’ll be capable of construct off of this to complete the collection sturdy and set about beginning a brand new age that surpasses the heights of their earlier works.

The Expanse: A Telltale Collection

Reviewer: Keenan McCall

Award: Editor’s Selection


Stable Story and Writing

Decisions are Extra Ambiguous and Significant

Gameplay Segments Are Pleasant


Hit or Miss Voice Appearing and Audio
Visuals Are a Little Bland

Launch Date

July 27, 2023


Telltale Video games, Deck 9


PlayStation 5, Xbox Collection X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Copy offered by Writer

In regards to the writer

Keenan McCall

Keenan has been a nerd from an early age, watching anime and taking part in video games for so long as I can bear in mind. Since acquiring a bachelor’s diploma in journalism again in 2017, he has written hundreds of articles protecting gaming, animation, and leisure subjects galore.

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