Archangel is the newest chapter in Telltale’s Expanse series. It’s a bite-sized entry and can likely be completed in less than an hour. This time players control Chrisjen Avasarala, voiced by Shohreh Aghdashloo who also played Chrisjen on the T.V. show. She is trapped underground while a crucial vote takes place that will decide The Belt’s fate. While finding a way to be at a UN meeting someone wants her to miss, Chrisjen must also juggle warfare and her own family tensions.
This chapter’s abrupt ending is made all the more shocking by yanking the rug out from under players. Not once, but twice in as many seconds. By narrowing the scope, new players get a closer look into the Expanse universe. The twists still felt impactful since they weren’t competing with multiple side stories. The Archangel dlc’s length does make it easy to see multiple endings, so players can decide how meaningful choices actually are.
The entirety of the story taking place in two rooms of an underground bunker feels bland, however. The side quests don’t add much and feel like padding since the main quest is so brief. There are brief conversations with Arjun , Chrisjen’s husband, and her son. These don’t have a lot of weight since the “problem” is petty. At least with the sparse information we get, it appears we should’ve been more concerned about a different issue.
The antagonistic characters are compelling enough to hate. It leaves a lot of opportunities to see how going against or with them will ultimately play out. Though Geoffrey Mendez is the primary rival, Admiral Crusco stands out as a threat. Where the politician hides behind politeness even when confronted, Crusco goes blow for blow if you choose aggressive dialogue options. There is also the choice to blackmail him. Which is another thing that makes him the most interactive enemy versus the “replies” to Mendez where players have little input.
Archangel has a few puzzles that add a light challenge. And its story does have an interesting gameplay aspect. Players have to weigh their options, so they gain those vital three votes. There’s also the conflict with Crusco. Chrisjen has to de-escalate it purely with what’s laying around the bunker. It sells the illusion of holding so many lives in your hand while not having much control over your own. Though Archangel still manages to be entertaining, it’s probably better to wait until the next main story episode releases for a meatier experience.