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The Talos Principle

As if awakening from a deep sleep, you find yourself in a strange, contradictory world of ancient ruins and advanced technology. Tasked by your creator with solving a series of increasingly complex puzzles, you must decide whether to have faith or to ask the difficult questions: Who are you? What is your purpose? And what are you going to do about it? Features: Overcome more than 120 immersive puzzles in a stunning world. Divert drones, manipulate laser beams and even replicate time to prove your worth - or to find a way out. Explore a story about humanity, technology and civilization. Uncover clues, devise theories, and make up your own mind. Choose your own path through the game's non-linear world, solving puzzles your way. But remember: choices have consequences and somebody's always watching you.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

Come for the puzzles, stay for the existential crisis.

Review from Steam

I wish I could erase my memory and play this game again.

Review from Steam

I always considered myself someone who wasn't really into puzzle games. The only two I've ever enjoyed were Portal and Portal 2, and that's because they were just challenging enough that I never felt frustrated, and the story and characters carried them for me.
This remains the case.
The Talos Principle came highly recommended to me and it's a beautiful game with a very great narrative, a lot of philosophy and moral conundrums, and all of that really speaks to me.
But the puzzles? The puzzles are HARD. This isn't Portal or Portal 2 hard, either. As someone who hates puzzle games, they started to get too hard for me by the time I hit world two and I sadly can't continue.
I am giving this a thumbs up, however, because I think if you enjoy puzzle games with very cool stories and great atmosphere, this game will be your jam. It's honestly beautiful and I love the writing. My own dumb anti-puzzle brain is my own fault.

Review from Steam

SCORE 7 / 7
an exquisitely crafted narrative-driven self-reflective adventure with tricky first-person puzzles. The Talos Principle is not only a good exercise into storytelling, but also a sophisticated world on its own with uneasy boundaries, groundless rules, and abstract symbolism - coupled with satisfying brain-twisters
⠀✅⠀RATING
⌛ time to beat:⠀ 15-20h⠀⠀🔥 difficulty:⠀ 4 / 7
✨ presentation:⠀ 7 / 7⠀⠀⠀📙 narrative:⠀ 7 / 7
🔄 replay value:⠀ 2 / 7⠀⠀⠀🍫 fun-factor:⠀ 6 / 7
⠀🟢⠀GOODS⠀🔴⠀BADS
⠀► visuals, aesthetics, sound, music, voices, story - everything is topnotch
⠀► puzzles are satisfying
⠀► lots QoL improvements, like fast-forward (legit frameskipper), adjustable movement speed, toggle first-person/third-person camera, etc...
⠀► puzzles are getting redundant at some point and reuse the ideas with no new boundaries to push
⠀► extra puzzles (Stars and bonuses) require insane solution
⠀► some gameplay mechanics are questionable (like Messengers' hints)
⠀↗️⠀MY PLAYTHROUGH⠀⚠️⠀TECH ISSUES & IMPORTANT
⠀► finished the game (no difficulty settings)
⠀► all Sigils, all Stars, all Messengers
⠀► all three endings
⠀► finished "Road to Gehenna" DLC (all Stars, all endings)
⠀► found every single Easter Egg
⠀► all achievements
⠀► 🧱 number of crashes: x0
⠀► game has a tremendous number of video settings
⠀► there is a "fast forward" button - use it a lot
⠀► all DLCs but "Road to Gehenna" are cosmetics
⠀► finishing Sigils of Elohim minigame (free) grants extra cosmetics, x3 Stars (makes achievements easier)
⠀► a separate VR-version is available
⠀🏆⠀ACHIEVEMENTS
💯 time to 100%:⠀⠀ 25-30h⠀⠀🔥 difficulty: 4 / 7
📈 diff-specific:⠀ - ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 💨 missable:⠀⠀❌
🌎 multiplayer:⠀ - ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⛔ broken:⠀ -
🔐 DLC:⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ❌⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 📅 date/time:⠀-
💎 collectathon: ⠀❌⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⚙️ grindy:⠀ -
⠀► three endings - one achievement for each. you can load game to get them all in one go
⠀► "Solipsist" and "Help From Above" are mutually excluding achievements, but you can finish the game with "Solipsist" first, load, and then get "Help From Above" in unsolved puzzle
⠀► "Deal With The Deceiver", "Silence The Serpent" and "Press The Serpent" are another set of mutually excluding achievements. they all can be obtained after Milton says "welcome back. there are going to be some changes around here"
⠀► "Split Personality", "Extreme Persistence Detected" and "Know Your Limits" are easily missable achievements - check their conditions beforehand
after completing the game I understood three things:
1) developers should not be afraid to leave their comfort zone and try something new
2) Serious Engine is awesome
3) I am not so sure what the difference between frogs and people
narrative > gameplay
TTP is a classic example of "enjoy the Story, skip the Game" trope. gameplay-wise I can't say much aside from puzzles are solid and some challenges were devilishly hard. but what truly shines in TTP is the story, or at least its methods, ideas, setup and execution. in that sense TTP is closer to “Spec Ops: The Line” - to the tier of games with elevated narrative and downplayed gameplay
a gist of story
TTP's story revolves around understanding and debating philosophical terms, like "the purpose of knowledge", "consciousness vs being", "faith/spirituality", "circle of life", "nature and need of deviance". our hero wakes up in a mysterious garden and is greeted by -literally God- who tasks him to solve puzzles but never step into the tower. why? for what reason? what the reason of those rules? go figure yourself
the three pillars
without spoilers, in-game story built on three narrative modes:
1) Elohim - a spiritual and omnipotent father-figure. he translates the most providential ideas and memes. he is a religious guide of great authority who leads you with the baseless faith
2) Milton - a self-aware AI, whose devious talks always question faith and knowledge. he constantly debates you on various philosophical topics (which you can pick from many!) - and every time finds holes in your ideas and relentlessly mocks them. but Milton isn't as smart as you may think - he is prone to fallacies (strawman, windmills, gish-gallops, false dilemmas...) much to the point when he becomes as annoying as random YouTube commenter
3) multiple audio logs and text documents left by people - emails, news, blog posts, passages from ancient literature, quotes... some of them are pointless, others assure your faith, while others question your thoughts further
if you immediately thought of a conflict between Id, Ego & Super-Ego - then you got it right, but don't delph into Freudism much because narrative is closer to Nominalism vs Conceptualism due to a religious undertone with biblical references (Garden of Eden, Serpent, Tower of Babel...)
pretentious?
to summarize, game uses a rich arsenal of different narrative instruments and ludo-mechanics, not limited by standard tropes. for me, personally, the story-telling and its provoking nature tops the game above its peers. some players might be more critical and label the plot as too verbose, far-fetched or pretentious - sure, one can name it that way; but it is still more clever than 90% of videogame market, and, honestly, what isn't pretentious this day?
puzzles -ahoy-
puzzles themselves are alright. they aren't anything new in genre and revolve around barebone mechanics: boxes-n-switches, fans-n-jumpers, redirecting lazers...
some players compare TTP’ puzzles with “Portal 2” and, yes, the similarity is uncanny, assuming that “Portal 2” didn't invent any of those mechanics in first place (I was pushing boxes and redirecting lazers back in 1998-1999 while playing "Intelligent Qube" and "Ocarina of Time")
TTP has few aces in the hole, for example time-traveling mechanics which isn't as deep as in "Braid" or "Thinking with Time Machine" (Portal 2 mod), but still a nice addition - yet a bit cluttered and chaotic
the difficulty curve is alright for the most parts, but game has an annoying tendency to throw a curveball every now and then - with some tearbreakingly difficult challenges. regardless, I managed to solve all but three puzzles on my own. video below perfectly illustrates how nuts the game can get
broken hints
to help with puzzle solving, TTP gives players "hints". but that mechanics is absolutely broken and pointless:
1) player gets three hints only in the whole game
2) to obtain single hint player must solve few puzzles first (Catch-22 in its finest)
3) hints give vague description without detailed instructions, like "place box first and lazers then". yeah, thanks, but would you kindly tell me EXACTLY what I must do?
visuals
and finally a small talk about visuals. the game is gorgeous. developers perfectly captured the meditative-reflexive aesthetic
one thing I didn't like about Serious Sam 3 is the abundance of yellow-brown-sandy egypt levels. TTP rectified that situation by introducing lots of colorful landscapes: wilderness, coastlines, castles, snowfields... and of course the world-2 full of the egyptian levels. Croteam, are you guys in love with desert?

Review from Steam

Who should come hither-
1. People who don't mind reading- like a lot of reading.
2. Philosophical adventurers looking for commentary on religion, consciousness, AI, faith, and living.
3. Puzzle game lovers (obviously) looking for something like Portal but tonally serious.
Who should run away-
1. People who don't like reading.
2. People who might not endure their religious view get challenged.
I personally consider games (video games for the pedantic) to be the Greatest Form of Art.
Between the botched AAA releases, the toxicity that follows, the pain of the devs, and the money hungriness of the publishers, it is very easy to forget what games can be.
Cons-
Talos Principle is puzzle game and my only qualm is with the puzzles. They are great in the beginning and can be often challenging. However, later in the game I was so invested in the story that solving puzzles made me feel that the core gameplay is getting the way. However, that's purely personal taste and I don't think anyone reading should read too much into it.
Conclusion - It is my great delight to have played Talos Principle. It reaffirms my faith in games and work of devs. It is also made me aware the rights issue that will ensue once AIs become more human like.

Review from Steam

Good game to play when you're having an existential crisis.

Review from Steam

One of the best games of all time IMO.