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The Talos Principle (Video Game Review)

The Talos Principle is a new psychological puzzler from developer Croteam and publisher Devolver Digital. The team is best known for their work on the Serious Sam series, but The Talos Principle takes things even more seriously with a narrative that will challenge gamers to learn what it truly means to be human all while piecing together various boxes, lasers, fans and other objects to solve puzzles and reach the ending of the game. The Talos Principle can be a very difficult game at times, but the new title does a good job of training players to learn how to recognize certain puzzle elements while using new ideas to delve further into the game's campaign. The result is on of the best puzzle games we've played since Portal 2.

The storyline of The Talos Principle centers around an unnamed android that awakens in a mysterious world and is encouraged to move forward by a disembodied voice that is referred to as Elohim. The player must search artificial environments to collect sigils on a path to enlightenment. The game's storyline is consistently interesting even if it does not manage to be quite as entertaining as other popular puzzle games.

The Talos Principle also includes a side story for players to explore and learn about away from the main narrative. Players will gain access to various terminals throughout the game that includes anything from song lyrics and chat logs between two individuals to complex philosophical excerpts that fit in well with the main themes behind the game. The text scattered around the game is interesting and well worth discovering for gamers that want to experience the full storyline of the game, but it's difficult not to feel as though this part of the narrative could have been implemented into the game in a more interactive way for players.

The majority of time spent playing The Talos Principle will have players thinking and testing trial and error with the different items and machines in each environment to solve complex puzzles. The game begins easy enough, but as more pieces are added to each puzzle, the game becomes more and more difficult. The game is never unfair and always gives the items needed to solve each puzzle while training players to recognizing certain ways to progress through the game. Later in the game, star puzzles are introduced that offer even more complex puzzles that are completely optional but can be completed to unlock additional content that is well worth the effort to experience.

The Talos Principle utilizes boxes, fans, lasers, projectors and more to create puzzles for players to solve. One puzzle may be as simple as placing a box on a switch to remove a forcefield and reach a hidden sigil, but later puzzles may use the same part several times as well as introducing several new elements that combine for a real conundrum for players. Anyone that has played similar titles such as Portal, Quantum Conundrum or Antichamber will feel right at home in The Talos Principle, though the game clearly is not for every gamer.

The Talos Principle has a fantastic presentation that begins with great graphics that help create some really awe inspiring environments for players to explore. Different levels have varied environments that are a joy to explore and include anything from long forgotten ruins to forests that seem extremely far away from civilization. When the camera angle is changed to third-person view, the character animations seem a bit stiff and tends to take away from the experience just a bit. The user interface in The Talos Principle is useful though and helps players with certain tasks such as setting up a projector to power up several machines at once with a heads-up display that shows when all locked-on items are in range.

The Talos Principle is ultimately a very enjoyable puzzle game that is extremely enjoyable for fans of the genre. The game manages to capture what makes the genre great with intricate puzzles that rewards players with a feeling of accomplishment with each step that is solved. The game's storyline is not the best we have seen, but it is always intriguing and will compel players to continue playing and not give up when a puzzle stumps the player. The Talos Principle is out now on Steam and is coming soon to PlayStation Network.

The Talos Principle is now available exclusively on Steam for PC, Mac and Linux and can be purchased for $39.99. For more information on the game, check out the official The Talos Principle website.

Game Features:
  • Single Player
  • Over 120 Different Puzzles
  • Includes Level Editor
  • Steam Trading Card Support
  • Achievement Support

Game Information:
Developer: Croteam
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platforms: PC (reviewed), Mac & Linux
Release Date: December 11, 2014

Score: 8.2 out of 10
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