An engaging assortment of brainteasers is what sets a decent puzzle game apart from a great puzzle game. However, a great puzzle game also offers a compelling background that propels the player ahead. A balance was struck between the first-person puzzles in the original Talos Principle, which were similar to those found in Portal, and philosophical introspection, which investigated what constitutes humanity and also questioned the player about their own thoughts. Not only does its sequel firmly improve on its puzzle mechanics, but it also turns its story outwards, addressing the question, “What is a civilization?” to both the player and its own environment. I believe that “something beautiful” is the correct response.
If you haven’t played the original Talos Principle game, which is still a fantastic experience, particularly when played in virtual reality, there is a virus that has eradicated all of mankind. Earlier than the curtains were drawn on humanity, scientists developed a simulation with the intention of cultivating a new, synthetic human race via the use of philosophical and puzzle-based testing. Just like Portal, but with less malicious artificial intelligence and more multiple-choice questions on basic aspects of mankind. This simulation came to an end when you emerged as the first Human 2.0, marking the conclusion of the first game. Your ‘birth’ into the actual world marks the beginning of this sequel, in which you are the thousandth character.
Talos 2 hits approximately an equal split, putting the story to the foreground, in contrast to the previous game, which was largely focused on puzzle-solving and employed its multi-choice philosophical quizzing as a framing mechanism. This is something that would be difficult to maintain in the first game since it is a solitary and self-centered journey; however, it is successful in this game because there is a whole society of robo-people roaming about to talk to and dispute with via charming forum conversations or face-to-face interactions.
To a greater extent than human
Despite the fact that they have metal bodies, the cast is just as obstinate, contradictory, amusing, and cat-loving as flesh-and-blood people. Each member of the cast has a strong voice and is well-written. The philosophical conundrums that they face are often rooted in issues that occur in the actual world. When humans have caused such severe harm to the earth in the past, is it morally acceptable for civilization to advance? Does the pursuit of advancement constitute an aim that is intrinsically positive? Is there a sufficient number of individuals who are mechanical? Despite the fact that many of the talks are optional, I found virtually all of the discourse and arguments to be quite engaging and well worth it. There are no simple or even correct answers, but the game wants to hear your ideas anyway.
Being a creature with a squishy brain like myself, the puzzles themselves seem like they are ideally tailored to my needs.
However, since this is a puzzle adventure game and not merely a conversation about philosophy, there are important concerns that are brought up by a strange megastructure that has been found on a distant island. These problems include the question of what the existence of this megastructure means for their developing robot society. Previously, the machine-folk believed that they were the only sentient beings in the world. They have been more interested in constructing puzzle museums as a heartbreaking tribute to all of the cats that they have loved and lost. This memorial is likely to be filled with photographs and thoughts on the dev team’s past feline companions.
Following in the footsteps of the original game, the investigation of this mysterious cyberpyramid includes the use of riddles, an allegory based on mythology, and breathtaking landscapes. There are twelve different zones that make up Talos 2. Each location is a separate, excruciatingly photogenic landscape that you are encouraged to freely walk across. The temperatures of the region are roughly divided into four categories: temperate, nordic, desert, and others. Some are mountaintops that are covered in fog, while others are plains that are thickly wooded, and all of them are wonderful opportunities to experiment with the camera settings.
In the first place, however, you will be the one to solve self-contained spatial puzzles (eight of which are required, two of which are optional, and a few surprises in each section) as you see appropriate. Due to the fact that this game was developed by the same team as Serious Sam, it should come as no surprise that the game has additional features and surprises in the form of puzzle-skipping tokens that are apparently placed beneath every other rock. This makes exploring both visually and materially gratifying.
Being a creature with a squishy brain like myself, the puzzles themselves seem like they are ideally tailored to my needs. Similar to the test chambers in Portal, these tasks are compact and self-contained, and each one uses a handful of moving components. However, the puzzle pieces that are used in these challenges are more diverse. Each chamber is equipped with a variety of tools that may be picked up and moved about, as opposed to depending on a single instrument such as a portal rifle. There will be some that are as simple as standing on blocks or pressing buttons, but most of the time, you will be rerouting color-coded lasers to matching receivers, avoiding force fields, rerouting bounce pads, and other different tasks.
The second installment of Talos expands upon that concept by removing the elements of the original game that were the least intriguing, such as mines and gun turrets, in favor of more intricate interactions between the many devices involved. A number of additional tools, such as beam inverters, prismatic converters (input blue and red, receive green), “accumulators” that allow you to generate your own portable beam sources, and more, have been added to previously straightforward laser-connecting puzzles.
This is only one of the fundamental puzzle pillars that have been added. It is possible to transfer things or beams via tunneling devices that create temporary holes in particular metal walls. These gadgets enable you to pass through the barriers. Alternate bodies that you can switch between as long as you have line-of-sight, teleporters, platforms that you can use to transport objects or alternate bodies with, and a great deal of other features.
However, each gadget is progressively presented and thoroughly tutorialized (assuming that you play the puzzles in numbered sequence) before you are required to utilize it in conjunction with the rest of the item pool, and here is where the magic occurs. Although it may seem like a lot, it is really quite a little. An intriguing synergy exists between almost every pair of things, which results in puzzles that are quite fulfilling despite the fact that only a few notions are explicitly repeated; rather, they are iterated on.
As the game progresses through its extended lifespan, The Talos Principle 2 investigates what seems to be practically every possible variation of a problem that its several mechanisms make possible. Additionally, each zone introduces its own unique spin on the paradigm. In the event that you engage in any investigation, you should anticipate around thirty hours of perplexity; however, if you want to learn all of the mysteries, you should anticipate much more time.
Unlike the puzzle areas in the previous game, which sometimes gave the impression of being constructed out of leftover Serious Sam prefab elements, practically every chamber has the impression of being a customized and opulent environment. Many of the chambers are attractively built into the natural nature of the globe, and they are all well lit and nicely designed. It is virtually fully possible to erase the barrier that existed between the traveling, conversing, and philosophizing components and the puzzling portions, which in the original game might often seem like two different experiences.
There is a bridge that is too distant.
The one and only serious criticism I have about The Talos Principle 2 is that its secondary puzzle concept, which consists of putting together pieces that are similar to Tetris in order to build a bridge to the center of each zone, is an improvement over the tetromino door-locks that were used in the previous game, but it is still not that fascinating. But in addition to that, they constitute such a negligible portion of the total duration that it is a nitpick.
The Talos Principle 2 delivers in a manner that very few sequels do, despite the fact that the bridge-building is a little bit boring (and even that is an upgrade on one of the few parts of the previous game that was lacking). On the surface, it is a leap ahead in terms of both technological and creative achievement; yet, underneath that, it delivers a more intricate and multi-layered tale that begs to be analyzed from a variety of perspectives and even during many playthroughs.
I am already looking forward to going back to the picturesque environment of The Talos Principle 2, with my camera ready and my eyes trained on the hidden riddles and mysteries that are waiting for me there. And its intellectual needling, which is typically directed toward recognizing sapience as a particularly great thing that should be conserved, has assisted me in moving onto a more positive train of thinking. It is possible for humanity to enrich the earth. At the very least, you should do it for the kitties.