[PlayStation 5] The Expanse: A Telltale Series Review

by EdEN, Owner

The Expanse: A Telltale Series is the latest narrative-driven experience from the beloved studio – alongside Deck Nine – this time based on the TV series of the same name. Check our The Expanse: A Telltale Series review!

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The Expanse: A Telltale Series is the latest narrative-driven experience from the beloved studio – alongside Deck Nine – this time based on the TV series of the same name. It will serve as a prequel to The Expanse TV show that aired on the Syfy network and on Amazon Prime Video. The Expanse show is based on a series of books from James S. A. Corey, which is the pen name used by authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who also worked on the show. As has been the case for other releases from Telltale Games, this one is an episodic release, which means that the five episodes for the season will be released at a steady pace. The first episode is ready to go, and the other episodes will launch on August 10 and 24, and September 7 and 21.

The first episode will begin aboard the Artemis, a spaceship making its way through space, near Jupiter. The intro sequence will show the consequences of the choices made along the way… which you’ll get to experience as you play through each episode for The Expanse: A Telltale Series. You’ll jump back to 8 hours earlier in the day. You’re playing as Camila Drummer, the Executive Officer aboard the Artemis, who must try to subdue a crew with some very tense relationships. Choices matter, and they will send you down different branching story paths.

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But before that, let’s talk a bit about Telltale Games. The studio got its start way back in 2004 when former LucasArts devs decided they wanted to continue making adventure games since LucasArt was not going to continue down that path. The original releases from the new indie studio followed the classic adventure game formula, so you’d walk around each area interacting with objects and characters to try and find the items needed to solve puzzles and the clues that would point you in the right direction. And then came The Walking Dead.

Telltale Games landing The Walking Dead license at a time when the indie studio decided to completely change how they did adventure games. It was 2012, and the team went with a more narrative-driven experience with dramatic camera work and choices that would impact how the story develops not only over the current story chapter, but also the overall story arc for the season. This was to be the new template for all future Telltale Games releases, such as Minecraft: Story Mode, Game of Thrones, and even Batman.

Unfortunately, things spiraled of control as the studio continued to grow and grow. It eventually ended up collapsing right in the middle of the development of The Walking Dead – The Final Season. Some team members were brought back by Skybound Games to finish that last season. Two projects were cancelled during the restructuring – one based on Stranger Things and a second game based on the Game of Thrones license – with The Wolf Among Us 2 restarting development. And now, back to The Expanse.

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As you explore each location, you’ll control your character with the left analog stick. If you’re ever lost, you can press in on the right analog stick to ping a directional marker. Pressing in on the left analog stick will make your character run. You can press the Triangle button to look at things. Pressing the Square button will allow you to scan some stuff, which will be added as logs to increase Drummer’s knowledge. And yes, this is tied to some trophies – more on trophies in a bit.

Since the game takes place in space, you’ll be making the most of the Zero G environments by lifting off by pressing the R2 button. You can then land by aiming at the floor or walls and pressing the R2 button again. Pressing down on the D-Pad will display your landing icon. When in Zero G, pressing and holding down the L2 button while moving will allow you to thrust vertically. You can press the L1 button to rotate left or the R1 button to rotate right. If you press in on the left analog stick, you can boost forward while in Zero G. Since you’ll have some Magboots, you’ll be able to walk on walls at a slow but steady pace, so that you can keep your place without risking injury.

Pressing in on the Touchpad on the DualSense will allow you review your current objectives, which will show up on the right side of the screen. You’ll sometimes have to take on action segments where you’ll be prompted to press this or that button, press it and hold it down, or move an analog stick. You’ll have to pay attention since there’s a set time limit for completing each action. Oh, and if you ever need to cut down a panel that is keeping you from progressing further, just be sure to use your mighty blowtorch!

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The Expanse: A Telltale Series offers a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy, and if you have a PS5 console, you can download the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 versions of the game for this Cross-Buy release. Each list is split into 12 Bronze trophies, 14 Silver trophies, and 4 Gold trophies for you to work on. Due to its episodic nature, you won’t be able to get the Platinum until all episodes are available for download. Why? Because you won’t be able to, for example, collect all data logs in all episodes or make it to the end with all main characters surviving through this ordeal if, you know, you don’t have all episodes to play through.

There are trophies that will pop for completing each of the five different story episodes, as well as a trophy for completing all episodes. Along with that, there are trophies for finding all collectibles in each of the episodes, keeping all possible crewmates alive – with individual trophies as well as a final trophy for making it to the end with all of them still breathing. Along the way there will be trophies tied to specific choices that you’ll need to make along the way, so if you miss some of those, you’ll have to replay specific episodes to correct your course.

It’s been a while since we got a new game from Telltale Games, with the new company – with the old name – first focusing on republishing all games for which it managed to retain their respective licenses, along with launching Batman: Shadows Edition, a revamped take on the two Batman seasons that adds some quality-of-life improvements along with a special noir-like filter that can be applied to the whole experience… and that was released in 2019. It’s now 2023 and we’re getting the first full series from the new Telltale Games – with an assist from Deck Nine, thanks to their experience with the Life is Strange series.

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The Expanse: A Telltale Series is available as a Cross-Buy release, so your $39.99 purchase will allow you to download both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 versions of the game of the season at no extra cost. Future episodes will be released periodically from August 10 to September 21, and you’ll be able to download them as they go live. You could also go for The Expanse: A Telltale Series Deluxe Edition for $44.99, which includes access to all episodes as they go live, the game’s soundtrack as its own separate app download on PlayStation, along with bonus episode ARCHANGEL

This The Expanse: A Telltale Series review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by Telltale Games.

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