The Talos Principle 2 Review – That’s Gaming

It’s been almost a decade since The Talos Principle came out that was a jolly puzzle game. Now we get more puzzles presented to us in The Talos Principle 2 and the whole thing looks insane, especially due to the “magic” of Unreal Engine 5. We let our most philosophical editor, Jos, romp around with these puzzles for a few days and since then the man has been the calm one. Is the latter because of the game?

When it comes to The Talos Principle series, many game journalists speak oever philosophical games, but in practice it is different. You are presented with a number of puzzles, and in between, a dreamy voice shouts a few things. That already counts as philosophical for some, but well, since most games don’t do this it quickly feels that way. Does it detract from the fun you have in the sequel? No, of course not, but I just wanted to put it out there anyway: The Talos Principle 2 is not one of those games that you keep thinking about when you stop playing, but it is a fun dressed up puzzle game.

It does have a story around it, and it takes place decades after the first game, in which you are a robot very similar to a human. Meanwhile, you are the thousandth ‘born’ robot and that makes you special. Of course, all sorts of “issues” come along, where it is pretended that there is a lot going on, but you end up having little influence on the story and are mostly doing puzzles. This sounds pretty negative, while The Talos Principle 2 is otherwise just a delightful game. It may just be that you do get gripped by the overarching story, so be it.

Puzzling with your nose in the middle

That puzzling, of course, is carefully built up in difficulty, while starting out somewhat easy. You will first have to look closely at a puzzle before proceeding to action. Consider lasers, for example, which you have to connect in a certain way to get doors open. You pick up such a laser and you can connect its laser to different objects, where the goal, for example, is to get all the doors open, but the lasers themselves do not touch each other.

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Another time you play with blocks and fans, often having to reach higher platforms. These are perhaps the most difficult puzzles, and after looking carefully for a while you often come up with the solution fairly quickly. It is not that you get stuck for a long time because you can’t solve a puzzle, usually there is another puzzle to do and when you come back later even that somewhat difficult puzzle is clear by now.

3D puzzling

The Talos Principle 2 is, of course, not the first puzzle game in 3D and certainly not the last. You play it from first person and that too is nothing new. But make no mistake, even though there are several games that do this, The Talos Principle 2 is one of the best of its kind so far. Where most games of this genre do more or less the same trick (teleport and drop blocks), The Talos Principle 2 brings a bit more variety. In fact, you also get plenty of 2D puzzles to solve, often in the form of making different shapes fit together in a given field.

Where the beginning of the game makes it feel like one of those typical 3D puzzlers, the gameplay of The Talos Principle 2 unfolds to great heights. The puzzles get bigger and bigger, increasingly innovative and sometimes even epic in grandeur, while games of the same genre often remain small in scale. Because of this, you never get the feeling in The Talos Principle 2 that you are doing the same thing over and over again, which of course helps the experience you have while playing.

You could say that the game starts to become brilliant once the puzzles become a bit more intertwined and take a bit longer to solve. I don’t think it’s easy to make puzzles like that as a developer, and then it’s even harder to keep our attention for that long. And the clever thing is, in the end you can expect about 25 hours of puzzles, which also steadily increase in difficulty.

Nice

The puzzles perhaps excel the most in the game, but you can only know that if you play the game for a while. What immediately stands out anyway are the game’s visuals, which look stunning. Gamers have been getting excited about Unreal Engine 5 for a while now, but it seemed to take so long for Unreal Engine 5 games to actually come out. Previously I got to enjoy Layers of Fear, but The Talos Principle 2 also looks really fantastic.

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There are several environments to admire, from desert to snow, and all of them look stunning. The water reflects beautifully, and the lighting makes things even more realistic. The shadows are of high quality, the details of the natural environments are unprecedented for a puzzle game. But you won’t hear me complaining, this is what every puzzle game should look like.

Of course, the music is atmospheric and especially quiet, which is kind of what a game like this should be. Furthermore, the objects and for example the lasers make the sound you expect from them and the footsteps sound as they should. It is hard to excel in terms of sound in this genre and much more often you see with other games that you end up falling asleep from the whole thing. In The Talos Principle 2, this is also a bit the case at times, while at other times it contributes reasonably well to the overall atmosphere.

Conclusion

The Talos Principle 2 is a topper in its genre with eye-catching graphics, designed with Unreal Engine 5. The puzzles progress gradually from easy to difficult, without wasting your attention. The whole thing is presented in a so-called philosophical wrapper, though that does not otherwise affect gameplay in any way. It’s fun to follow, but personally I didn’t think about these issues after playing the game. Perhaps you will be affected by this, but we are already very happy with the game’s fine puzzles and visuals.

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