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  1. #1
    Sonic ***** Team ****** Quills on Wheels's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Land of Down Under

    Default Quills Reviews: The Talos Principle (PC) - Came for the Puzzles, stayed for the Feels

    [Omg Quills is doing a review? Who would have known!]


    It's amazing how some games can make you sit down and think for a long time. They give you unique experiences and often might even change how you view aspects of our world. In this case, "What exactly defines a human?". Emotions? What if a robot was capable of emotions? Would it be considered human? These are some of the questions you might ask yourself while playing The Talos Principle.

    The Talos Principle, created by Croteam the developers of Serious Sam, is a first person puzzle game released in 2014 on PC, followed by a PS4 release the following year. Who knew the developers of a hardcore FPS shoot'em up franchise were going to sit down and decide to make a deep Philosophical brain teaser? But for what it's worth, the Talos principle is actually pretty good. Really good in fact.

    You wake up in middle of nowhere with nobody in sight except some voice in the sky who calls himself Elohim. He proceeds to tell you that he's your creator and that you are free to explore and enjoy his gardens as you please as long as you don't enter the huge dark tower. As you start exploring, you begin noticing some things; Your body is robotic, there is nobody around you, random visual glitches occur sometimes, you find computer terminals in the middle of nowhere and eventually you start realizing that things may not be as they seem. The narrative feeds you almost nothing, yet just enough to make you want to find out more.

    Like I said before, The Talos principle makes you ask questions. A LOT of questions. Right from the beginning, you don't know anything; who you are, what you are or who this Elohim is. It's up to you to explore, maybe even some areas you're not supposed to. What's interesting is that you're seemingly not alone. QR code messages on walls seem to show other people who have been where you are, following the same steps, asking the same questions as you. The computer terminals you access begin to act up strangely and start communicating with you. With multiple endings, you will always end up with more questions than answers. In a good way.

    The game is absolutely beautiful. Serious Engine 4 brings the best to the Talos Principle. Highly detailed environments make you stop for a second and just awe at the breathtaking views that boost the overall feeling you get from the game. From Roman ruins to Egyptian deserts and tall cathedrals with ceilings that reach above and beyond, the game takes you to some pretty amazing locations. Having said that, you can definitely tell the game was supposed to be a Serious Sam game. While the vastly open fields and deserts make you realize the sheer scale of your existence, there were a couple of times I almost thought a headless naked dude with a bomb was going to start running and screaming towards me from behind the ruins. Thankfully, that mostly didn't happen and I was left in peace to enjoy the atmosphere.

    Enhancing this atmosphere even further were the beautiful melodies that played in every area. The Talos Principle OST, composed by Damjan Mravunac, did a splendid job at accompanying my every mood throughout the game and capturing my feelings into musical notes. Bright cheerful tunes relaxed my senses as I explored the green gardens of Elohim while mysterious chilly melodies made me question the truth as I stood next to the icy dark tower, wondering what really is out there. My favorite would have to be 'The Forbidden Tower' track that literally made me unable to stop playing and continue finding out more answers as the sun slowly rose outside my bedroom window. I still find myself listening to the game's Soundtrack while I'm working or relaxing.

    Controls feel solid and the game does a great job at showing you the ropes. Every new mechanic is introduced smoothly and it all starts out easy enough for you to get a feel for how everything works. It's all fairly standard and straight forward. You have your jammers that jam turrets or force fields, connectors that reflect laser beams and more. That said, the game will get increasingly harder as more and more mechanics are introduced and merged together in one puzzle. Some advanced puzzles even require you to think outside the box by sneaking objects from some puzzles into other puzzles. Sometimes I thought I managed to break the game, only to find myself in a bigger puzzle.
    Ultimately, you solve the puzzles to collect the Sigils, tetromino shapes that are required as a form of key to open new areas. Depending on what ending you choose to go for, you will either have an easy time or will have to resolve to the internet for some help.

    I do feel, however, that The Talos Principle isn't suitable for everyone. It's all quite heavily philosophical stuff and you need to actively participate in the game's questions and challenges to get the most out of it. There's also a lot of reading material in the computer logs that serve to expand the plot and players who don't have the patience or the simply want a simple linear, simple to grasp story will find themselves not enjoying the game. It's perfectly possibly to simply play the game for the puzzles as the narrative is purely optional and computer logs can be ignored; however, only the puzzles, means only half the game.

    Speaking of the puzzles, the main and only criticism I have with the Talos Principle is the connection between the puzzles and the story. There is none. As you play the game, you never feel like solving the puzzles across Elohim's gardens have any purpose. The game could have been a walking simulator and it would have delivered the story just as easily. While the puzzles are great fun, they serve no meaning and have no reason to be there other than making the game a puzzler.

    The Verdict:
    The Talos Principle was an amazing journey that I won't forget and still think about its core issues today. The steam forum of the game is still full of people discussing the endings, their meanings and other questions that the game brought upon and it makes me glad to see a game bring such busy discussion among its community. Breathtaking environments and perfectly fitting music enhances the mood of the story greatly. The game isn't innovative in any way but what it has is polished and made with love and a lot of thought. It's one of those games that isn't for everyone and will require full attention to be enjoyed to its fullest but trust me when I say that it's worth it all. I do wish there was more connection between the plot and the puzzles but call me mad if I thoroughly didn't enjoy both aspects of it. I give this game the Quills on Seals of approval.

    FINAL SCORE: 9/10
    + Incredible story
    + Amazing music
    + Breathtaking visuals and environments

    - No connection between the plot and puzzles

    Last edited by Quills on Wheels; 29-03-2016 at 01:43.

  2. #2
    NOT CONFUSING AT ALL Killer French Bread's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008


    Sounds interesting but is it actually fun to play?
    Tic Tac, sir?

  3. #3
    Sonic ***** Team ****** Quills on Wheels's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Land of Down Under


    Oh yeah heaps. I probably could have talked more about the gameplay but I was getting worried about the length.

    It's often compared to Portal but unlike Portal, there's no real mechanic the whole game is based on like the portal gun. There are a bunch of gimmicks like jammers, connectors, blocks and moving spheres as well as hazards like Mines and turrets that are all well explained and combined to create really challenging puzzles. The best part is that moment of clarity when you finally figure out the puzzle and begin to go through it like a boss and praise yourself for being such a genius. It doesn't hold your hand and therefore makes it that much rewarding when you finally get something.

    Like I said before, the gameplay's nothing innovative but what it has is polished and very well made.

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