Episode 2 of The Expanse: A Telltale Series has just released and it is action-packed and full of drama. We take a look at all of the positives, negatives, and everything in-between in this stellar continuation of the series. The previous episode was pretty solid, delivering a classic Telltale game with a couple of innovative mechanics and improved graphics. Is the latest entry in this episodic series a step-up or a step-down? It is time to review Episode 2 of The Expanse: A Telltale Series, and see if Telltale managed to build upon the previous episode’s positives.
Story – A Crew That Matters
Initially, the previous episode failed to give us fully-fleshed out backstories regarding the supporting cast. Therefore, it was extremely difficult to care about them properly. However, that is far from the case in Episode 2. This time, exploring grants you the option to discover items that you can give to certain crew members. These ‘gifts’ help reveal some backstory regarding the characters and their mindset. As a result, your choices seem to matter and makes you eagerly want to unlock these new dialogue options.
On top of that, the game makes it obligatory to check up on the crew, thus providing players with a means to learn more about the people around them. Additionally, the characters in general seem to have more of a personality. Excellent chemistry is present between the crew and every person feels unique and different. There is a lot of information dumped via exposition, especially during conversations whilst Drummer is out exploring. This is great for those who aren’t too familiar with the world of ‘The Expanse‘ and felt a bit confused upon playing the first episode.
Telltale does a great job in ensuring the audience is not lost and can keep up with the bits and pieces of lore that are scattered in conversations and found items. Of course, it goes without saying that the dialogue options felt powerful and conveyed a lot of emotion. The writing in this game is top-notch and always keeps you interested. Overall, the plot is now easier to follow with all of the new-found information uncovered through conversations and exploration. Therefore, the story really shines in this entry.
Another great add by Telltale is that there are some spicy romance options available in this episode. Drummer has the option to sleep with her crew mate Maya, however, she clearly states that there may be consequences to this. Could this be Telltale foreshadowing that our choices will have much bigger impact in future episodes? We’ll need to stay tuned to find out!
Gameplay – A Mixed Bag
Let’s start with the positives, there are a lot of brand-new gameplay sequences that are extremely engaging. First of all, the QTEs (quick-time events) are fluid, smooth, and keep you on your toes! You also have a neat little objective where you have to avoid these drones that have laser sensors, pretty cool, right? All in all, there was way much more action than the first episode in terms of gameplay which definitely is a good sign moving forward. That being said, the main gameplay loop of exploring ships using the zero-g was fun at first but now it’s become a bit too stale. Floating around in space and walking across big pieces of broken ships sounds cool in theory but it gets repetitive after a while.
Telltale often have long-walking sequences in their games where the player finds out information, explores areas, talks to characters, or tries to escape a situation. While the atmosphere is great, it isn’t quite enough as all of the ships and asteroids start to blend in after a while. The exploration feels a bit redundant but is saved by the items you can collect on your journey. We will give Telltale the benefit of the doubt as we have our fingers crossed that this mechanic will be a bit more interesting later on in the series. A final note would be that much-like it’s predecessor, this episode is also a bit-short. It seems as if the episodes are around an hour in length.
Graphics & Sound – Sublime Voice Acting
Not much can be said about the graphics that wasn’t already discussed in Episode 1. This episode is still visually-captivating and manages to capture the essence and atmosphere of space exploration extremely well. There definitely seems to be a consistency in terms of the quality of ambience. The music is subtle yet impactful, although, we are still waiting for an intense, dramatic score that leaves us in awe. They’re probably saving it for a grand finale in Episode 5. Honestly, the subtlety in music really adds to the eerie space atmosphere which definitely seems like a conscious choice.
A great improvement is the voice acting. Now, Episode 1 had wonderful acting and everything sounded polished and clean. Somehow, this episode includes even better acting with fluid conversations and realistic deliveries. The cast have great charisma and work together really well, there is something special about these actors and it shows. To the voices are especially unique and not generic at all. Below is content creator DomTheBomb’s Episode 2 gameplay video which showcases what this installment has to offer.
The Final Verdict
An improvement on an already strong start to the season, this episode is not only full of romance, action and drama, but it captures all of what makes The Expanse so special. Story, dialogue, atmosphere and sound are incredible. Yet, maybe there is more to be desired in the gameplay aspect of things. The Expanse is more than a simple space-adventure, it is a journey that leaves players wanting to know what happens next. Fans of the franchise don’t have to wait too long to resume the Drummer’s story as Episode 3 releases August 24, 2023. To purchase the game visit the Epic Games Store and place your order.