Also On: Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games / Deck Nine
It’s been a bit since we’ve seen anything new from Telltale Games, but considering the studio implosion that occurred just a handful of years ago, this isn’t too surprising. Co-developed by Deck Nine, The Expanse: A Telltale Series feels very reminiscent of the games that Telltale was previously known for. If you’ve played any of their Walking Dead titles, Batman, The Wolf Among Us, and so on, then you’ll have a rough idea of what to expect with The Expanse. That said, this also feels a bit more robust than some prior Telltale offerings, with more exploration and freedom of movement to round out the expected dialogue choices and focus on narrative.
If you’re already a fan of The Expanse via either the books or TV show, then you’ll instantly recognize the lead character in the game as Camina Drummer, the tough as nails “belter” who was portrayed by actress Cara Gee in the TV show, also returning to voice the character here. As someone who greatly enjoyed the show, seeing Cara Gee return to this role has been a real treat, and overall I’ve found the voice acting in The Expanse: A Telltale Series to be really great overall.
Taking place just a few years before the start of the TV show, you’re not going to come across the crew of Rocinante, but the new cast that makes up the crew for Camina’s adventure is solid and memorable, setting up an unlikable Captain at the onset of the game that Camina will have to deal with, and a motley assortment of crewmates that aren’t quite buddy buddy with each other, which feels pretty true to the general vibe of The Expanse and its various faction conflicts.
The way dialogue choices work is pretty similar to prior Telltale games, and you’ll be given a variety of choices to make throughout the game that have various repercussions down the road. This is a formula that already worked pretty well in prior Telltale titles, so I’m not too surprised to see it change here. The overall story is sort of set in stone, but who makes it through to the end of the game can definitely vary depending on how you let things play out. My initial playthrough of the 5 chapters that make up the game didn’t see a whole lot of survivors, but it’s fairly easy to see the moments when things went wrong, and how you could decide differently on a subsequent playthrough.
The biggest changes that I’ve noticed so far appear to be both exploration and overall game stability. There’s a point in the first chapter where you’re tasked with exploring the remains of a UNN vessel, and you’re given the ability to space walk both around and inside the structure. Camina can engage and disengage this function at will, and there’s a decent number of hidden interactions spread across this section, which certainly feels more robust than a lot of Telltale’s prior offerings. There was one item in particular that I never managed to find, despite being kind of thorough in my search, which helps to drive home the feeling that there’s more to see and do here than prior Telltale games have offered.
Also, each chapter of The Expanse: A Telltale Series has run pretty well when playing through the game on a PS5. I recall a lot of prior Telltale games being sort of buggy, mostly with visual issues, and I never really encountered that problem here. The overall game feels really polished, and I dug the slightly animated art style used for the characters, which does a good job of mimicking the look of the real-world actors that show up in the game.
Overall I’ve found The Expanse: A Telltale Series to be a solid attempt to re-establish Telltale as the king of adventure games once again. They were able to consistently hit their release deadlines for each episode, and with all now available, it’s the perfect time to check this one out. If you’ve ever had any affinity for the show, or Telltale’s prior efforts, you’ll likely find something to enjoy here.
Note: Telltale Games provided us with a The Expanse: A Telltale Series PS5 code for review purposes.