The Expanse: A Telltale Series Episode 5 - Europa's Folly Review

September 29, 2023


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Spoilers for previous episodes of The Expanse - A Telltale Series may be found ahead. If you don’t want to know what happens then come back when you’ve made your own way through it and see what we thought. Previous episode reviews can be found here:- 

Episode 1 review 

Episode 2 review

Episode 3 review

Episode 4 review

So here we are, the season finale of The Expanse: A Telltale Series. We’ve been on quite the adventure, with the end of the last episode putting us back on the Artemis, albeit captained by Arlen Morozov, after he booted us out of the airlock in Episode 3. At this point Drummer is caught between her old crew and the pirate Toussaint. Like any belter she wants to survive but equally she knows that the MK Core has to be destroyed as, no matter who controls it, it is too dangerous to be left to exist.

It’s a shame, though, that Episode 5 is over almost as quickly as it begins. In a way, it mirrors the formula of the show, with lots of build-up and then a crescendo of action over one or more episodes almost never letting up. However, I do feel like this episode could have and should have been longer. Given some of what had happened, the ending felt a bit too neat and one particular resolution felt almost rushed. Maybe I’m in the minority, but after the final reveal about our dear doctor, it seemed odd to sandwich it in where it did.

Drummer is not happy and for good reason

Still, the episode was rather action-packed and once you made your crucial decision for the episode it ploughed on to the end. It even goes so far as to tie things into the show, although I suspect fans of the series and the books as well may not appreciate its attempt to shoehorn itself into canon. Personally I don’t mind, I was probably more upset with its inclusion of Julie Mao and, at least in my playthrough, was unable to confirm if it was her dad behind the prospective buyer on Ceres. It has all his hallmarks though so my head-canon will just have to do.

In my review of Episode 4 I lamented the fact that we only had five episodes in total. Now that I’ve played through The Expanse: A Telltale Series in its entirety, I genuinely feel that one more episode would have helped give it a more rounded and complete finish. I wanted to have more time on Toussaint’s pirate ship, maybe even have the option to escape. Equally, I would have liked a more dramatic boarding of our old ship the Artemis. Maybe leveraging whether we’d been a good captain to find a cunning resolution. As it was, it felt like a lot of my salvaging for crew-related items and picking the best conversation options had little to do with the final outcome. What did matter, thankfully, were my larger decisions that required me to pick this or that at certain points.

Big boom, ba-da boom!

These major decision points did feel like they affected the outcome of Drummer’s story in my playthrough. I know that my decision to stay in the company of Maya in Episode 2 decided the outcome of Episode 3. It’s just a shame that the smaller decisions like salvaging some mushrooms or medicine seemed to do little to alter the story; or if they did, I couldn’t tell. Still, it does mean that some will want to play through the story again and do things differently to get what some may think is the “best” outcome for Drummer. There are also achievements for picking up all the logs so if you want to go deeper into the periphery it’s there for you to find.

Overall, the story is solid, albeit slightly more linear than some may want. However, it’s good to know that some of the choices you make do matter even if other things that seem important don’t. I’m also surprised, given the many mentions around salvaging in the game, that it seemingly amounted to nothing. Whilst you could find a few things to get new dialogue opportunities, such as the mushrooms or the cigar, other salvageable materials seemingly were red herrings. They didn’t open up new conversations, nor did they do anything else useful other than scratch my “must collect them all for an achievement” itch.

Couldn’t have put it better myself Drummer         

In a way I feel a little let down by this episode and ultimately the series as a whole. It’s by no means Telltale’s best work but it is a strong return and benefits from starting with a strong, recent IP. The Expanse has rightly garnered a strong following among sci-fi fans and for those wishing to feel like they are a part of it will be mostly happy with what Telltale has offered. I feel as though this story needed more episodes, although five to six episodes is pretty standard amongst their other games. I would also imagine that, given this was their first game since returning, it would have been risky to split things across one or more seasons.

I can’t fault Telltale for playing it safe and rounding out the story in a season. They can all give themselves a collective high-five for what amounts to a safe but solid outing. Some aspects heralded in the marketing, such as the salvaging, aren't quite as important as you think they might be and it’s your actions, rather than your words, that seem to influence the story more. Still, the overall quality and strong story bodes well for Telltale and may lead to fans being more hopeful that future stories will continue to come from the studio.

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This isn’t an instant classic, but fans of the series will no doubt enjoy stepping into Drummer’s shoes in her time before the show. It’s an assured first outing for a studio brought back from the dead and will no doubt give confidence to the studio and fans alike.
Pete Taylor

A long time gamer since the days of the mighty ZX Spectrum +2. The bug really bit when I got a Sega Mega Drive 2 and it hasn’t let up since. Huge racing fan but I also enjoy losing myself in a well-told RPG and management sims. It doesn’t have to be good-looking to win my heart, it’s what’s deep down inside that matters.