This review discusses content from episodes 1-4 of The Expanse: A Telltale Series
With Drummer in the custody of Europa’s Bane, she boards the Artemis once more with Lieutenant Tor in tow. Toussaint believes Drummer to be an asset that she can use to recover the MK core from Arlen, a traitorous Artemis crew member who violently stole the captain’s chair. With enemies on both sides, Drummer must decide who is worth saving.
This episode quickly pivots away from the previous one by immediately dropping the player into a stressful decision moment on whether someone will live or die, something episode four was severely lacking. This serves to set up the high-stakes nature of the episode right out of the gate, and really gets the action running quickly. This episode thankfully continues to bring the heat in terms of player choice by providing ample opportunities throughout to influence the outcome of the confrontation between the Europa’s Bane pirates and the crew of the Artemis.
I’m happy to see my choices from previous decisions unfold before me here in the final episode. I noticed certain characters behaving in different ways based on my past interactions with them, including ripple effects from decisions I had made all the way back in episode one. Not only does this episode offer these payoff moments, but it also continues to expand on the narrative lore even further, such as learning more about the Anderson Station massacre. It’s refreshing that the classic Telltale formula of player choice is coursing through the veins of this episode, I just wish this dosage could have been injected into the other episodes of the series as well.
The biggest appeal of this finale to me was the fact that every crew member aboard the Artemis is involved in some way. For the last few episodes, a lot of the cast was missing or simply not involved in what Drummer was up to, so it’s great to see less involved members like Cox & Virgil finally getting some more screen time. This is where much of the gameplay of this episode centers, with Drummer needing to rally her crew if there is to be any hope of surviving the onslaught of pirates. This feels like an actual culmination of previous events, with all hands on deck to fight off Toussaint’s final gambit.
However, that isn’t to say this episode is without flaw. The issue that has been plaguing the bottom half of this series is length, with this episode taking just over half an hour to complete. I’m not advocating for a filler exploration section at the climax of the narrative, but it feels like there could have been more meat on the bone for the final episode of the series. Combat also continues to be little more than quick time events, which while expected, certainly doesn’t do much for gameplay.
As the credits rolled and I reflected on those I had saved and those I had lost, I asked myself, has Telltale reinvented themselves with The Expanse? A lot of systems feel familiar in their execution and style, which would say no, but the updated graphics and small but noticeable endeavors to make gameplay more interesting are duly noted. While this series may not be groundbreaking in its genre, it certainly does a fantastic job of creating an interesting narrative experience steeped deeply in the lore of the show. The scenery, the action, the cinematic nature and superb voice acting all make for a great rendition of The Expanse that Telltale should be proud of, but one that reaches just shy of the stars.
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
While this episode is short in length, it certainly isn’t lacking in excellent narrative execution. The final confrontation between Europa’s Bane and the Artemis culminates into an intense altercation with death being a constant threat throughout the episode. A fitting conclusion to Drummer’s struggle to survive, even if gone too quickly.