In its first new release since 2019’s The Walking Dead: The Final Season, Telltale Games has now set its sights on the stars with The Expanse: A Telltale Series. Taking on the role of Camina Drummer, in an adaptation of James SA Corey’s book series and hit television show, you will find yourself hunting for a mysterious treasure on the edges of The Belt.
Much like the episode one itself, I’ll keep it short and sweet: if you’ve ever played a previous Telltale title (and at this point who hasn’t?), you’ll be very familiar with the mechanics at play here. Traversing your own ship and derelict, destroyed environments in third person, you’ll be faced with moral choices that change the narrative as you go, with smaller decisions made in the heat of the moment creating ripples that evolve into major consequences further down the line. You decide how your own story will play out, and you might not even know what you’ll face because of it for a few weeks at a time.
Within the gameplay based around varied cinematic interactions with your crewmates and by picking up snippets of information from objects in the world, we are painted a picture of a highly politically divided society, rife with conflict, extreme violence, paranoia, and distrust. It’s here that you will be forced to make the tough decisions that will guide the course of yours and Camina’s time together.
As part one in a series of five fortnightly episodes (and one further bonus DLC episode), this roughly 90-minute episode introduces us to The Artemis’ ragtag crew, and to the idea of traversing the environment in zero gravity. In a first for these games, you have the ability to move around 360 degrees in an open environment, using magboots to grip onto corridor floors that were above you only moments ago. This is a great change of pace from previous titles in the genre and a very welcome surprise. Before you know it, you’ll be boosting around, dodging buckled walkways and floating bodies with ease.
Throughout, I was been impressed with convincing voice acting and subtle ambient noises, with echoing footfalls and the metallic ring of walkways causing me to look over my shoulder on more than one occasion. There are quite a few unusual slang terms used by the characters, and I was glad to have left subtitles on. Hearing this unique mix of English and almost Creole patois can get mildly confusing at times, but never fails to portray each character’s personality, with Khan Tran being a personal favourite.
Breaking up the chatting and floaty exploration are a number of quick time events, but they are almost embarrassingly easy, without any real benefit to gameplay. Fortunately however, they are few and far between.
Whilst some knowledge of either the books or tv show would be an advantage, The Expanse: A Telltale Series – Episode One also welcomes those who are unfamiliar with the vast universe, myself included. I can even see myself diving into the show following the Telltale Series, as being set before the show, I suspect I’ll feel right at home.
As with many of Telltale’s titles, you can expect cliffhanger endings to each episode and this won’t disappoint in that regard. I made my choices and am looking forward to seeing where they lead in episode two, which suggests that while it’s not mind-blowing, episode one has set the series on a path, and I’m looking forward to what comes next.
An unexpected and interesting movement mechanic
Solid base to build further narrative from
A bit too short
Overly simplistic QTEs