The Expanse: A Telltale Series Episode 4 – Impossible Objects review — The devil you don’t

This review contains spoilers for episodes 1-3 of The Expanse: A Telltale Series

Stranded, abandoned and low on oxygen, Drummer needs to act fast if she wants any chance at survival. Following another mutiny aboard the Artemis, she has been left alone on the desolate mining colony with only one shot at getting help: sending a distress signal to anyone listening using the facility’s array. It’s a scream into the void, but it’s Drummer’s last hope before she dies of hypoxia. 

This episode begins back in the cathedral of the mining colony found in the previous episode, but doesn’t dwell here too long. Drummer is desperate, and quickly delves deeper into the tunnels to reach the array. However, the lack of oxygen is clouding her head, and the environment begins shifting into a strange and hypnotic amalgam. Her mind becomes clouded by those from her past, most notably Anderson Dawes, who berates and taunts Drummer with memories from her time running jobs for him that went horribly wrong. This bit of backstory between them is a nice nod to the show, and this episode also features another character reveal that fans will appreciate, though I won’t spoil it here.

In terms of gameplay, we begin to see a culmination of the mini-games present in the previous episodes. You’ll engage with a junction puzzle, dodge lasers, solve a computer grid and perform some action-oriented quick time events. As expected, these are pretty basic for the most part, though having all of these present instead of just one does make the gameplay ever so slightly more involved than previous episodes. However, I just can’t shake the craving for deeper gameplay systems here, and if this episode is anything to go off, it won’t get much more engaging than this.

This episode also heavily features the Europa’s Bane pirates, and gives a proper reveal of Toussaint. I was interested to see more of them ever since our first contact in episode two, and I’m happy to report that they are an even more terrifying force up close. Toussaint is an intriguing and intimidating character with a motivation of survival at any cost, and her pirate crew is a faction of scorned renegades from all corners of the rim. Her most notable lieutenant is Tor, an unstoppable hulking mass of armor that commands fear from his mere presence alone. To say I can’t wait to see how these characters will impact the narrative in the finale is an understatement, and I’m hoping Telltale utilizes them to their full potential.

While the overall experience of this episode is more positive than the last, this episode features zero large player decision moments. Even the smaller choices that you can make during this episode appear to have very little if no effect on the narrative at all, which is strange for a game of this nature. For reference, episode one and two each had ten player decision moments, while this episode only has a paltry six. These decisions, mind you, are typically a simple dialogue change, such as calling a character a killer versus calling them a hypocrite, which hardly feels like a ‘decision moment’ at all. It was just odd to me that the penultimate episode of the series was strictly narrative, and doesn’t provide more choice opportunities to the player.

This episode certainly fires the thrusters in terms of narrative, but leaves me wondering where all the player choice went. The exceptional characters combined with the environments and storytelling continue to hold up the series for the most part, but I’m beginning to fear that Telltale has missed the mark in terms of player agency in the storyline. In spite of this, the stressful encounters and story beats involving Europa’s Bane have provided some of the most tense moments the series has seen yet, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Drummer and what remains of her crew will survive this final confrontation.

Editor | Website

Corvo is a writer who loves to explore journalism through video games. Writing and editing reviews for triple-A games and indies alike, he finds his passion within expressing his experiences in a fair and accurate manner. Some of Corvo's favorite games are Destiny 2, Mass Effect, and Disco Elysium.



The Expanse: A Telltale Series

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While a lack of story-changing decision moments and elementary gameplay systems mar the experience of this episode, the incredible characters and looming narrative climax continue to drive the series as a whole. With guns drawn on both sides and threat levels at maximum, I’m hoping Telltale has enough left in the tank to execute Drummer’s story properly with the upcoming finale.

Corvo Rohwer

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