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The Talos Principle 2 Review - A Masterpiece Sequel for Puzzle Lovers!

The Talos Principle 2


Croteam/Devolver Digital


In the Talos Principle 2 you awaken as an unknown entity in a dream-like landscape that somewhat resembles Ancient Egypt with very little awareness or understanding of who you are any why you are here. Following a series of puzzles that serves as a tutorial and introduction to the game, we come to understand that we are playing as 1000, the last creation of robotkind. Humans may be gone, but that certainly hasn’t stopped the world from progressing and philosophizing and we are quickly immersed in their expansive universe.

The first and perhaps most important thing I want to address in The Talos Principle 2 are the options and accessibility because this title has a life-changing feature for me: the option to switch from first person to third. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE a first-person puzzler. Portal 2 remains one of my favorite games of all time, however I am cursed with horrible motion sickness which makes playing titles in first-person a nightmare for me. While it's not impossible to get through a game while I'm green around the gills, it definitely detracts from the experience and slows down my progress. Switching to third person in The Talos Principle 2 eliminated this issue for me entirely. From the bottom of my heart, I can't thank the developers enough for including this feature. There are some other fantastic options such as input hints that can be turned on and off, a field of view that can be adjusted, motion blur and object bobbing that can be toggled and of course plenty of graphical settings to perfect your viewing experience for your rig.

a tunnel
Puzzles in The Talos Principle 2 are seriously tough!

Now that we got that out of the way, you're probably wondering if the story remains as though-provoking as the original, and I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. I don't want to spoil any revelations or too many puzzle solutions for you throughout this review, but just know that you can expect a compelling narrative that includes some real-world mythos paired with the series' own lore and is guaranteed to illicit at least one existential crisis, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Perhaps my favorite moment of brilliance in the whole game was speaking with number 890 in the cat sanctuary. Harkening back to ancient Egypt once again, the "people" of New Jerusalem are enamored with cats (as they should be) and you can spend a good 15 minutes talking about them, viewing cherished photos of feline friends and chasing cats around the grounds. Most importantly, yes, you can pet the cat. Game of the year.

In seriousness, the NPC interactions are an absolute highlight of the game, and we haven't even gotten into the puzzles yet. The level of reflection upon the current state of society found in these conversations will leave you contemplating your own purpose and the meaning behind your beliefs. Should we be attempting to prolong mortal life or is there meaning in death? What defines our existence? Is history doomed to repeat itself over and over again despite the infinite possibilities of the cosmos? Excuse me while I stare at a wall and ponder...

turret puzzle
On the right rig this game looks beautiful

There is definitely some spiritual flair to the lore here, but it's not done in such a way that isn't off-putting to those that don't subscribe to a modern religion or system of beliefs. It does, however, serve as a way to ground this title in our perceived reality, so I enjoyed many of the casual references.

If you weren't here for the lore, you're certainly here for the puzzles and I can assure you there are many puzzles to be found in The Talos Principle 2. These puzzles feature your standards of the genre, from redirecting light beams to pressure switches and fans. There are moments that absolutely encapsulate the joy of discovery and post-solution bliss. Essentially, this sequel builds on the mechanics of the original title with even more ways to bend reality to its will.

Mercifully for those that can become flustered by a particularly vexing puzzle, not all puzzles NEED to be completed for you to progress, though you are certainly rewarded for being thorough.

As you might expect, progress leads to more and more challenging puzzles, though they all felt as though they had a clear solution to discover, and I was never completely baffled as to what needed to be done. Overwhelmed by the number of steps that needed to be taken? Sure. But baffled? No. I will say that you very quickly realize that items need to be lined up quite precisely in order for you to place or interact with them as you intend. The single guide dot in the center of your screen is your guide to line things up, but it wasn't always clear whether I had not found the correction solution to a puzzle or if I had just not lined things up correctly. After a few successful solutions, I was able to get a feel for when I was on the right track, but there was a little bit of a learning curve here for me because of this.

Graphics were stunning, though there was the occasional texture pop and stutter here or there. In no way did these minor hiccups detract from my enjoyment as i explored these gorgeous landscapes. The environments are varied and highly immersive, with lovely water features, sprawling gardens, gorgeous contrasting shadows with beams of light. I can imagine this world would be a perfect VR experience, as I wanted to explore these landscapes more closely. With the right rig you can truly make The Talos Principle look jaw dropping and achieve high framerates. On an older GPU? Fear not as thanks to the aforementioned graphical options players should have no problem running the game smoothly though they may miss out on some of the extra graphical oomph.

bearded man statue
Find deep meaning in this enthralling story

I think the soundtrack in Talos Principle cleared my skin, cured my seasonal depression and filled my bank account. Wait I just checked, nope still empty. It's an absolute masterpiece that I would listen to in or out of gameplay. From beginning to end, each track features unique instrumentation that plays into the environment at hand, swelling into luscious crescendos with strings and heart-pounding percussion. It's never distracting, but rather fantastic thinking music, which is precisely what this title requires. Voice acting is also phenomenal and breathes more life into these humanoid AIs than half of the people I speak to in my real life customer service role. It's always incredible to me when a completely fictional world can evoke very real-world emotions, and this title manages to capture your attention and draw those emotions out with its stellar visual and sonic stylings.

As a sequel, The Talos Principle 2 more than lives up to the hype. Thanks to the third person mode, it's a fantastic option for those of you that suffer from motion sickness but still love the challenge of puzzlers like in Portal 2 or the Witness. It features a deep, philosophical narrative that should appeal to those that still crush on the Myst Franchise, just with a bit more text and a lot less ambiguity. I really appreciated the challenge, spectacle and presentation of this title and I hope it is just the second of many games within this franchise.

I am awarding Talos Principle 2 with the silver genie lamp of approval. It's a mind-bending puzzle game with a lot to say and a cat that you can pet. There's a little bit of frustration when it comes to lining up items and the occasional graphical flaw, but it's full of wonderful, thought-provoking story and gameplay. Check it out and have your own existential crisis today!

+Thought-Provoking Story

+ Tricky But Satisfying Puzzles

+ Gorgeous Soundtrack

+ You Can Pet the Cats

+ Third Person Mode

- Some Graphical Flaws

- Janky controls at times

silver genie lamp

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