It’s been over a yr because the TV sequence The Expanse ended with a compressed sixth season. Whereas it’s a miracle it managed to cowl six of the 9 Expanse novels throughout its run on SyFy and later Amazon Prime, it’s exhausting to not really feel like we left that universe too quickly. Nothing on tv right this moment fairly compares to the exhausting sci-fi world-building and political allegory the present managed to string on a weekly foundation. Fortunately, The Expanse: A Telltale Sequence manages to fill that void admirably. I’ve performed the primary three episodes of a deliberate 5, and whereas it might not comprise the lovable forged of the Rocinante, nearly every little thing else that made the present so compelling has returned.
At first, we now have Cara Gee, who reprises her memorable function as Camina Drummer and acts as the sport’s important character. Giving gamers management of such a fiercely charismatic individual goes an extended strategy to making the sport’s world engrossing from the get-go, however your crew of misfit scrappers definitely aren’t weak hyperlinks. There’s the curmudgeonly pilot, the hotshot (former) Marine, and an impeccably skilled physician who should be hiding one thing to be serving with a ragtag group like this.
The writing and performances within the first two episodes are each bit as nicely crafted because the present, with a spotlight extra on intimate character beats than solar-system politics. For higher or worse, typically you overlook you’re taking part in a online game and never watching an animated Expanse sequence.
Picture: Telltale Video games
Not solely do the extent designers imbue the environments with an acceptable quantity of “lived-in-ness” — a lot of what they’ve created might be explored in zero gravity. The implementation right here is shockingly intuitive, permitting you to connect your “grav boots” not solely to the ground, however partitions and ceilings as nicely. As a scrapper, you’ll be capable of simply launch off of and discover the wreckage of ships floating above Jupiter, trying to find spare components, gas, and possibly one thing further in your crewmates. For Expanse followers specifically, it’s fairly the deal with flying across the carcasses of MCRN and U.N. Navy vessels, absolutely realized in all their vastness.
Every part appears to be like and feels nice, however it’s exhausting to not really feel like Telltale’s fashion is one thing of a throwback nowadays. Regardless of me not having not performed one of many studio’s video games because the unique Strolling Lifeless in 2013 (and definitely not because the firm’s “revival” in 2019), the dialogue system felt immediately acquainted. As I made my decisions and discovered extra about my crew, I began to actually take into consideration how a sure response may change my choices in future episodes. Seeing how all my decisions stacked up in comparison with what different gamers selected was downright nostalgic.
Picture: Telltale Video games
It’s simplistic, however in some ways in which makes the sport really feel extra approachable than many narrative video games right this moment. Typically I need a recreation to hook me in additional difficult, nuanced methods, however typically I simply need a huge flashing window to inform me if I’m about to make an vital choice. The suite of accessibility choices goes an extended strategy to make the sport as straightforward to play as you need it to be; I particularly appreciated the warning for quick-time motion sequences that absolutely pauses the sport.
What stays to be seen is how the sport’s significant decisions will have an effect on the story in later episodes. The plot of Episode 1: “Archer’s Paradox” doesn’t stray removed from typical Expanse fare, however a revelation in a later episode appears poised to discover extra of the present’s deeper themes of exploitation, injustice, and inequality.
I could not know but the place it’s headed, however it’s so satisfying to be having fun with The Expanse once more.
The Expanse: A Telltale Sequence Episode 1: “Archer’s Paradox” might be launched on July 27 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Home windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Sequence X. The sport was reviewed utilizing a pre-release obtain code supplied by Double Fantastic Productions. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These don’t affect editorial content material, although Vox Media might earn commissions for merchandise bought through affiliate hyperlinks. You will discover further details about Polygon’s ethics coverage right here.