The Talos Principle is a puzzle game developed by Croeam and published by Devolver Digital. It was released on Steam in December 2014, before later being released on PS4 in October 2015.
The game play within Talos could be considered very similar to that of Portal. You can play in either first person or third person, as you are presented with tons of puzzles on every stage. Each stage you complete, you unlock a new tool that you will need to use in some form in the following stage. I really liked this way of introducing new mechanics to the game as it lets you get to grips with the previous set very easily before dumping a ton of new stuff on you again. The puzzles start off quite easily as you would expect in the game but they soon take a very high difficulty rise, meaning I was completely stumped for the most of my play through. There is an element of trial and error with a lot of the puzzles as there is a quick reset button to use that takes you right back to the start of the puzzle and you will end up having to do this a lot.
Graphically I was very impressed with The Talos Principle; it looks clean and fresh with extremely high production values. The lighting and weather effects in the game are stellar and really take it to a new level of quality. I was playing at 4k with the majority of the settings turned up to the max, apart from antialiasing. I did however get motion sickness whilst playing in first person view; I think it was a mixture of the speed that the character was traveling at and the motion blur. I had to eventually switch from first person to third person and this solved the problem. The game runs on Serious Engine 4 – this is the only game to use it so far, but it is almost identical to serious engine 3 and 3.5 which were used in the latest Serious Sam titles.
I found the plot to be very interesting, having really enjoyed Greek mythology from other games, my interested was peeked from the get go. There are a lot of extra bits of plot and lore to learn about through collectables and computer terminals for you to access as you explore the different levels. I took a lot of time to seek them all out to learn as much as possible. The game has various different endings as well depending on how you progress throughout your play through.
Like I said above, the difficulty really scales quite highly as you get past the first or second stage of levels. I had to use walkthroughs to even come close to finishing the game and even then I struggled and had to refer to videos as well! Whilst I found the game play to remind me a lot of Portal, the difficulty is certainly on a different scale compared. If you plan on playing this game without the aid of guides or wikis, then you are in for a real brain twister as some of the solutions to puzzles are so far out of the box that they were not even on my radar.
I finished the game in just over twenty hours, so there is a lot of content, even for someone who thought I was completing the puzzles quite quickly with the guides. Not to mention the game’s various different endings you can explore too. There are a lot of achievements you can unlock in each of the puzzles throughout the game, which may add some replay ability on as well. Personally I find myself not wanting to go through again purely because I am normally not a massive fan of puzzle games.
I didn’t have any technical problems apart from the motion sickness issue as noted above, the game runs very well on 4k resolution at 60+ fps. It looks to be a very well optimized engine that I will be eagerly anticipating what else comes out of it. The game can be played with a controller but given the movement and preciseness of some of the actions you have to take, I would strongly recommend using a keyboard and mouse.
My conclusion on The Talos Principle is quite simple. If you are a fan of mind bending puzzles with really obscure solutions to them, then you are going to absolutely love this game. If you are like me and are only going to manage the first two stages without a guide, you may want to err on the side of caution with your purchase. Whilst I am going to recommend this game, it definitely gets a lot of bonus points from the extremely high productions values on show from the start right until the final scenes. As someone who has the brain like a sieve and finds the puzzle side of the game to be difficult I didn’t enjoy it as much as other games.